Duckworth, Cramer, Casey Lead Bipartisan Call For Diaper Banks Funding In Final FY2022 Appropriations Package
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Bob Casey (D-PA) led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby to include funding for our nation’s diaper banks in the final fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations package to help better support working families.
“As you work towards a final agreement for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bill, we urge you to include funding for our Nation’s diaper banks,” said the Senators. “Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three families struggled to afford enough diapers to keep their children clean, dry and healthy. The economic fall-out from the pandemic has exacerbated families’ already strained budgets and greatly increased diaper need across the country.”
Similar to a request the Senators sent last year, the letter asks for $200 million in funding through the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) to build a national grant program focused on distributing diapers to millions of families in need. The request was included in last year's appropriations legislation passed by the House of Representatives.
Last year, Duckworth successfully secured provisions in the American Rescue Plan that mirrored her bipartisan End Diaper Need Act which is helping provide low-income families with diapers and diapering supplies. Earlier this month, Duckworth, Cramer and Casey also joined U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) in introducing the bipartisan Diaper Inclusion in Accounts for Parental Expense Reduction (DIAPER) Act to allow diapers to be reimbursable by health spending accounts and become more accessible for families who need them.
Along with Duckworth, Cramer and Casey, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Full text of the letter is available here and below.
Dear Chairman Leahy and Vice Chairman Shelby,
As you work towards a final agreement for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations bill, we urge you to include funding for our Nation’s diaper banks. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three families struggled to afford enough diapers to keep their children clean, dry and healthy. The economic fall-out from the pandemic has exacerbated families’ already strained budgets and greatly increased diaper need across the country. Affording material basic necessities, such as diapers, remains a barrier to the health and economic well-being of millions of Americans.
We must act now to end diaper need and provide economic security through an expanded partnership of non-profit organizations, businesses and the Federal government. Without enough diapers each day, infants and toddlers, as well as older adults and people with disabilities, are at risk of skin infections, open sores, urinary tract infections and other conditions that may require medical attention. Healthcare systems across the country are already strained due to COVID-19, and Americans should do all we can to avoid unnecessary hospital and emergency room visits.
Further, due to the pandemic, diapers have become even more expensive, while working parents and caregivers have lost income. That is why, last year, a bipartisan group of Senators wrote to Chair Murray and Ranking Member Blunt of Labor-HHS-Ed Subcommittee, requesting $200 million through the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) to build a national grant program focused on distributing diapers to millions of families in need. This program would leverage an existing network of over 225 diaper banks and their more than 5,000 partner agencies across all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The funding would enable organizations and agencies to address a substantial backlog of unmet need, cover regional service gaps and yield a massive return on investment for children, families and communities across the country. This request was included in FY 2022 appropriations legislation passed by the House of Representatives last year.
Diaper banks across the country have seen drastic increases in distributed diapers, reflecting a level of need that has remained constant since the early days of the pandemic. While we understand that the FY 2022 appropriations package is not yet finalized, and tough decisions must be made, the requested funding would provide much-needed support for caregivers and allow them to focus on succeeding at work and keeping their families healthy. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to continuing to work with you in ensuring the American people—including the next generation—are set up for success.
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