Maloney hails Surgeon General's "Breastfeeding Call to Action"

Jan 20, 2011
Press Release

Washington, DC -- Rep. Carolyn B Maloney (D-NY) applauded the “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding” that was issued today by Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin.

“I welcome the Surgeon General’s Call to Action and look forward to working with my congressional colleagues to enact common-sense reforms that support nursing mothers and their children,” said Maloney. “Breastfeeding is a highly effective way to promote the health of mother and child and this call to action further underscores the easy steps families, communities, policymakers and employers can take to remove the obstacles to breastfeeding many mothers face.  I soon plan to reintroduce legislation that would make it easier for nursing mothers to breastfeed.”

Rep. Maloney has led efforts in Congress to promote breastfeeding for many years and partnered with Sen. Jeff Merkley to successfully include a provision from their bill, the Breastfeeding Promotion Act (H.R. 2819/S. 1244 in the 111th Congress), in health care reform legislation that was signed by the President on March 23, 2010.  The provision provides breastfeeding employees, who are hourly workers, with unpaid “reasonable break time” and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the workday.

Recently, Rep. Maloney and Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) led an effort in the House to send a letter urging the IRS to reconsider its decision that breastfeeding does not provide enough health benefits to qualify as a medical care expense and, consequently, these expenses are not tax deductible and flexible health spending accounts cannot be used to pay for breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies.  Rep. Maloney’s Breastfeeding Promotion Act, contains a provision that would amend the tax code to make breast pumps tax deductible.