The U.S. House of Representatives Thursday evening passed a bipartisan amendment authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), co-chair of the Maternity Care Caucus, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), that would bring the Capitol and House office buildings into compliance with the General Services Administration (GSA) requirements for nursing rooms in federal buildings. The initiative passed as part of H.R. 5325, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act.
"Whether a Member of Congress, congressional staffer, or visitor, women in the U.S. Capitol Complex should have access to a clean, private place to breastfeed and care for their families," said Congressman Welch. "Our amendment will ensure the Capitol and House office buildings are in compliance with family friendly standards. This long overdue action will position Congress to lead by example as employers across the country transform the workplace to support working mothers."
"The Capitol of the United States should be accommodating to working women as well as thousands of nursing moms who visit the Capitol every year," said Congresswoman Herrera Beutler. "This amendment will ensure that any nursing woman at the U.S. Capitol will have a safe and clean place to nurse or pump."
"Having workplaces that accommodate the needs of our hard working American mothers makes our economy stronger," said Congresswoman Matsui. "Our U.S. Capitol complex should be welcoming to all, and set the highest example for the American people. It's past time that we provide our staff and visitors who are mothers with the accommodations they need and deserve."
Currently, there are only 12 lactation rooms on Capitol grounds, far short of the 42 necessary to comply with GSA standards and to accommodate the estimated 7,000 women who work throughout the Capitol.