Watson Coleman, DeLauro, Lee Reintroduce Improving Diaper Affordability Act
Legislation would make diaper purchases tax-free
Acknowledging the financial challenge families face in affording diapers and other necessities during this pandemic, today Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) announced the reintroduction of H.R. 4902 - the Improving Diaper Affordability Act to make the purchase of diapers tax-free.
“Diapers are essential, not a luxury, and even before the pandemic, families were struggling to afford them,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “Now, in the midst of COVID-19, the situation is dire. This legislation is a simple way to make sure that families aren’t stretching their stock, waiting to change a baby. We have to do more on every front to support working families trying to make ends meet – this is one way we can do that.”
The Improving Diaper Affordability Act would also make the purchase of diapers reimbursable through Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), giving families even more flexibility and savings when buying them.
“I am proud to join my dear friends, two champions of our nation’s children Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman and Barbara Lee, in introducing the Improving Diaper Affordability Act,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “As families struggle to purchase diapers during the pandemic, it is imperative we do all we can to keep children healthy and safe. In my home state, diapers have been tax exempt since 2018, and Congress should help families around the country in those states that have not taken the same steps as Connecticut. During the pandemic and economic crisis, our local diaper banks have seen double and triple demand for diapers. I urge my colleagues to help us pass this critical legislation that will deeply impact a baby and child’s well-being.”
“For too long, families have struggled to afford diapers and basic needs to care for their children,” said Congresswoman Lee. “With millions pushed into poverty during the pandemic, it is more important than ever that the federal government steps up to help parents provide for the health and well-being of their children. I look forward to continuing to work with Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Rosa DeLauro to ensure all parents have the resources they need to support their families.”
Pre-pandemic data indicated one in three families experienced diaper need, and nearly half of families delayed changing their child’s diaper to extend supply. What’s more, low-income families spent 14 percent of their post-tax earnings on diapers. Each of these statistics demonstrate a need that existed before COVID-19 and has only grown since, with diaper banks nationwide reporting two- to threefold increases in need.
The Improving Diaper Affordability Act is cosponsored by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), and Albio Sires (NJ-8).