September 21, 2023

Duckworth, Cramer Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Families Experiencing Diaper Need


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) re-introduced bipartisan legislation to make it easier for low-income families to afford the diapers they need. The End Diaper Need Act of 2023 would help assist low-income families to address diaper need by providing targeted funding for states, territories and other eligible entities working on this issue. This effort comes after Duckworth and Cramer successfully secured $20 million in the final fiscal year (FY) 2023 appropriations package—and $10 million in the FY2022 appropriations package—dedicated to expanding diaper distribution programs. A companion version of this bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03).

Between putting food on the table and keeping up with bills, the last thing working parents should have to worry about is being able to buy diapers that are essential to the health and well-being of their children,” said Senator Duckworth. “After Senator Cramer and I successfully secured critical funding to help support our nation’s diaper banks, I’m proud to have him on my side reintroducing this bipartisan bill so we can help end diaper need for all families.”

“As any parent knows, diapers are a necessary but expensive essential for babies and toddlers,” said Senator Cramer. “But for many families, the cost of medical diapers for their children is a recurring, heavy financial burden. Our bill will help alleviate the monthly expense for families already dealing with their child’s complex medical needs.”

Diapers are not only critical for those who wear them; they’re also essential for the economic and emotional health of a family as a whole. However, in this country, 1 in 2 families has reported not having enough diapers. It’s estimated that infants require up to 12 diapers a day, while toddlers need up to 8 per day, costing $80 to $100 or more per month per baby.

To address this problem, the bipartisan End Diaper Need Act would: 

  • Appropriate $200 million per year for fiscal years 2024 to 2027 for the Social Services Block Grant Program, to be used to provide diapers and diapering supplies;
  • Allow for 200 medically necessary diapers be provided per month for medically complex children through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program; and
  • Make medically necessary diapers and diapering qualified medical expenses so that families can purchase them using their HSAs or HRAs.

A copy of the bill text can be found here.

Along with Duckworth, Cramer and Smith, the legislation is co-sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ).

Along with Lee and DeLauro, this legislation is co-sponsored in the House by U.S. Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ-12).

“Parents deal with enough stress - basic childcare necessities like diapering supplies should not be another contributor,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Since before the pandemic, millions more people have fallen into poverty, creating severe challenges for families across the country to afford basic necessities like diapers. Low-income families with infants spend 14% of their income on diapers alone – that is unacceptable. It is past time for Congress to provide this basic need to improve the health and well being for millions of children.”

“Families across the United States are struggling with the rising cost of living and stagnant wages that do not keep up with their expenses. Sadly, one in three families do not have enough diapers to keep their children clean and healthy,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “We cannot allow that to continue. That is why I introduced the End Diaper Need Act with Congresswoman Lee, and Senators Duckworth and Smith, to provide families with supports that provide them with financial security. I will always fight to ensure families have the resources they need to thrive.”

The bipartisan End Diaper Need Act is endorsed by National Diaper Bank Network, First Focus Campaign for Children, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Parents as Teachers, ZERO TO THREE, MomsRising, Child Welfare League of America, National WIC Association, Center for Law and Social Policy, National Association for Family Child Care, National Women’s Law Center, HIPPY US, National Home Visiting Coalition, PROUDLY, Hello Bello and Kimberly-Clark.

“Sen. Duckworth made history when she brought her 10-day-old daughter onto the U.S. Senate floor. She’s making history again as the Senate sponsor of the End Diaper Need Act, which she has long championed. The bill has enormous potential to improve the lives of young children across the country by making sure they have the simple products they need to stay clean, dry and healthy,” said National Diaper Bank Network CEO Joanne Samuel Goldblum. “This very good news comes during National Diaper Need Awareness Week, when advocates across the country educate the public about diaper need. Sen. Duckworth and her co-sponsors just gave those efforts a tremendous boost.”

Duckworth also successfully secured provisions that mirrored her bipartisan End Diaper Need Act in the Democrat-passed American Rescue Plan that helped provide many low-income families with diapers and diapering supplies throughout the pandemic.