Two Democratic members of Congress demanded this week that the U.S. House declare feminine hygiene products to be office supplies that can be reimbursed at taxpayers’ expense.
Reps. Grace Meng and Sean Patrick Maloney, both New York Democrats, said the House should provide the products free of charge in all common bathrooms, and should reimburse offices that buy them.
They said the products should be treated the same as toilet paper or paper towels.
“Feminine hygiene products are a basic and essential need for women,” Ms. Meng said. “All women deserve access to them and that includes women who visit and work on Capitol Hill. It is time for the House to make these necessary items more accessible to women.”
The two lawmakers wrote a letter Thursday to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan asking him to approve the funds after the House last week denied Mr. Maloney’s reimbursement request.
The lawmakers said his office made the products available to his staff and any visitors to his office, and he’d sought to have the purchases reimbursed out of his official office account.
“We applaud you for making toilet paper available free of charge in every restroom in the Capitol complex under your control. Similarly, we applaud you for making paper towels available as well. We implore you, however, to go one step further and make feminine hygiene products available to those who need them,” the wrote in their letter.
They said that change would “bring sanitation and relief to thousands of congressional employees, visitors and members of Congress alike.”