Wasserman Schultz, Maloney, Meng Cheer House Admin Decision Allowing Use of Official Funds to Purchase Feminine Hygiene Products

f t # e
Washington, February 12, 2019 | comments
"While this decision will benefit Congressional staff, access to menstrual products is a global equity issue."
share: f t

House Admin Chairperson Lofgren said Decision to Take Effect “Immediately” and Also Directed House Office Supply Store to Stock the Products

WASHINGTON – Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), and Grace Meng (NY-6) applauded House Administration Committee Chairperson Zoe Lofgren’s response to their request to clarify official policy regarding the use of official funds to purchase feminine hygiene products and their request that the House Office Supply Store be directed to carry such products. The members made the request only yesterday and received a swift response in a letter from Chairperson Lofgren announcing the new policy, expressly allowing the use of official funds for the purchase of feminine hygiene products and requiring the House Office Supply Store to stock them. Last year, under Republican leadership, Rep. Maloney was denied the use of official funds to buy a box of tampons and was directed to write a personal check to reimburse the House for the purchase.   

“I am grateful for Chairperson Lofgren’s swift action on this matter. While this decision will benefit Congressional staff, access to menstrual products is a global equity issue,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “The inability to access or afford menstrual products, known as ‘period poverty,’ has a wide ranging impact, from leading girls to miss school to creating significant health risks. Florida is among a majority of states that have abolished the sales tax on menstrual products, but there is still significant work to do to address this healthcare issue and treat women’s health needs with dignity.”

“Thanks to Chairperson Lofgren’s leadership, policies on Capitol Hill are finally catching on to the fact that women work here,” said Rep. Maloney. “After last year’s chaos, it’s helpful to have this clarity. I thank Zoe Lofgren for being a champion for workplace equality.”

“This decision is a tremendous step forward in providing greater access to menstrual hygiene products on Capitol Hill,” said Rep. Meng. “It will ensure that House offices are able to provide these necessary items to staff and visitors who require them. I commend Chairperson Lofgren’s decision and leadership, and I thank her for her swift response to our call for guidance on this issue. I’m thrilled that there will no longer be any uncertainty or confusion over purchasing these essential products.”

The MRA is the annual allowance provided to each Congressional office to pay staff, fund official travel, and for the purchase of official supplies and office necessities. Congressional offices are permitted to use the funds to pay for other necessary hygienic products, as well as embellished letter openers, brass bookends, gavel sets with engravable plates, and wooden “executive tissue holders.”

On June 26, Rep. Maloney’s office received an email from the Committee on House Administration alerting him that the purchase was not permissible and that he would be required to personally reimburse the funds. More than half of Rep. Maloney’s Washington staff are female, and the office hosts constituents and other visitors who may need access to these products on a daily basis.

f t # e
Tags: Women