WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The House passed a bill on Friday that would expand breastfeeding accommodations for working mothers.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers or “PUMP” Act would give access and protection to working mothers if their employer fails to provide an accommodation or a reasonable break time to nurse.
Right now, nine million working women aren’t protected by federal law allowing breastfeeding on the job
“Farmworkers, transportation workers and teachers are currently excluded from federal protections for nursing employees,” U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) said.
Scott says that providing urgent maternal protections for nursing mothers would fix that.
The bill guarantees that all women will have clear break time and a clean private space to nurse at work.
“These basic accommodations ensure that nursing mothers can balance their work, their health and the health of their babies,” Scott said.
“This bill is a flawed scheme and expansive mandate, do more harm than good,” said U.S. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina).
North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx says the bill will burden small businesses.
“We must not saddle businesses with rigid policies that will open them up to legal action,” said Foxx.
Texas Republican Beth Van Duyne says some businesses don’t have the space for designated pumping areas.
“Workplaces are not one-size-fits-all, it’s critical that any legislation in this area preserves flexibility,” said Van Duyne.
The bill’s Republican co-sponsor, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, fired back, saying this bill just ensures existing law applies to everyone.
“Let me be clear, this is a business-friendly bill,” Herrera Beutler said. “For those who are thinking we’re shaking the earth and doing something brand new, it actually is a current law.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote.