January 12, 2021

Rep. Lee and Chairwoman DeLauro Introduce the End Diaper Need Act of 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the End Diaper Need Act of 2021, which would create a demonstration program for distributing diaper in states, communities and nonprofits around the nation.   

The End Diaper Need Act improves access for children with complex medical challenges, allowing Medicaid to cover at least 200 medically necessary diapers per month. The bill also makes diapering supplies qualified medical expenses so that families can purchase them using their health savings accounts and HRAs. 

“Since the start of this pandemic, eight million people have fallen into poverty, creating severe hardship for families across the country in affording diapers and other necessities,” said Congresswoman Lee. Low-income families with infants spend 14% of their income on diapers alone. It is past time for our government to provide this basic need for the health of millions of children. I am proud to introduce this bill to help ensure that everyday parents have the resources they need to support their families.” 

“I am proud to join my friend Congresswoman Barbara Lee in introducing the End Diaper Need Act of 2021,” said Congresswoman DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “Families struggled to purchase diapers long before the pandemic, but the spread of COVID-19 has created a dire situation for countless parents, guardians, and caretakers. At a time when our local diaper banks have seen double and triple demand for diapers, the federal government should step up to cover this basic need. I urge my colleagues to help us pass this critical legislation that will deeply impact the wellbeing of babies, children, and families for years to come.” 

Currently, there is no federal assistance for purchasing diapers even though pre-pandemic, more than 5 million children under the age of 3 live in low-income families.  These families should not have to make impossible decisions about buying diapers or purchasing other basic necessities that they need to survive.

Most childcare centers won't accept a child without a family supplying an adequate supply of diapers, which means that families cannot work or pursue job opportunities.  What's worse, a lack of access to affordable diapers can make children experience pain and illness that would otherwise be preventable.

This bill was also introduced in the 116th Congress and garnered 50 cosponsors. The bill aimed to amend the Public Health Service Act to address the increased burden that diaper accessibility places on families in need and the adverse health effects on toddlers.  

The End Diaper Need Act was endorsed in the 116th Congress by National Diaper Bank Network, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Coalition on Human Needs (CHN), and Children’s Defense fund in the 117th Congress.