Nursing moms help Rep. Maloney, Sen. Merkley introduce ‘Breastfeeding Promotion Act’

Jun 11, 2009
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) today announced introduction of the “Breastfeeding Promotion Act” (H.R. 2819) to an audience of dozens of nursing moms on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol today. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act would protect breastfeeding mothers from discrimination in the workplace, require large employers to provide the time and private space moms need to express milk, and provides for tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation areas in the workplace.

“ ‘The Breastfeeding Promotion Act’ recognizes both scientific fact and the way Americans live now: human milk is the best nutrient for new babies-- and most mothers have to go back to work during a child’s first year, when breastfeeding is most important,” Rep. Maloney said.

“This bill will bring breastfeeding mothers under the protection of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, require employers with over 50 employees to provide a private space and unpaid time off during the workday for mothers to express milk, and sets standards for breast pump manufacture. It also provides for tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation areas in the workplace and tax credits for nursing mothers,” she said.

“This bill is needed now more than ever, as moms head back to work earlier than ever during this recession. I hope that with Senator Merkley’s good efforts, we can get this bill to the President,” Maloney concluded.

“It’s not every day we have the opportunity to enact legislation that is so clearly a win-win for families and our nation.  Making it easier for moms to breastfeed means we have healthier babies, stronger families and happier workers,” Sen. Merkley said.  “I championed Oregon’s breastfeeding bill two years ago.  I’m excited to see Oregon’s contribution to a nationwide movement embraced by Representative Maloney and all those who have long advocated the purely common sense notion that breast milk is best.”

Also present at the event was Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), a registered nurse and co-sponsor of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act.

Find out more at Rep. Maloney’s Breastfeeding Promotion Act web page.
View actual language of H.R. 2819 here.


24 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace; fully 43 states and the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws which allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. View more at the National Conference of State Legislatures:

This is the first year there’s been a Senate sponsor for the Breastfeeding Promotion Act.

In the 105th Congress, Rep. Maloney was able to include in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) reauthorization bill a measure that allows state agencies to use the WIC food program funds to provide educational materials on breastfeeding, and allows state agencies to use additional WIC funds to purchase breast pumps.

Congresswoman Maloney’s original ‘Right to Breastfeed’ language was passed in the 106th Congress as part of the FY 2001 budget, ensuring a woman's right to breastfeed her child on any portion of Federal property where the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be.

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