As families in Iowa and across the country continue to face higher costs on basic goods under rising inflation, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is leading a bipartisan effort to help parents afford and get access to diapers.
Ernst is introducing the DIAPER Act—or the Diaper Inclusion in Accounts for Parental Expense Reduction Act. The bipartisan bill expands flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs)—which can be used to purchase a number of items relating to health expenses such as adult diapers and bandages—to also include the purchase of disposable infant diapers. It is an effort building on her past bipartisan work to help improve families’ access to diapers, including in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and visits to the Hiney Heroes diaper bank in the Quad Cities and the Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank in Cedar Rapids to help distribute diapers and hear directly from families in need.
Ernst’s DIAPER Act has been endorsed by Hiney Heroes in the Quad Cities and the Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank in Cedar Rapids, as well as the National Diaper Bank Network, Zero to Three, Save the Children, and the First Five Years Fund. She is joined on her new bill by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
“Having access to a clean diaper is a basic and absolutely essential necessity for every Iowa parent with a newborn or toddler, but with costs soaring under record inflation, far too many families today are facing difficult choices,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Addressing this essential need of our parents while prices continue to go up should be a priority for our lawmakers, which is why I’m so pleased to lead this bipartisan proposal to help families get better access to diapers amid cost surges nationwide.”
Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network, said, “Diapers are a basic necessity for keeping children clean, dry, and healthy. However, one in three families struggle to get the diapers they need, leading to preventable health conditions that can require medical intervention. This important legislation recognizes diapers for the essential items that they are and makes it easier for many families to afford the diapers they need.”
Daniel Hains, Senior Policy Analyst with Zero to Three, said, “Diapers are a fundamental need for families with babies and toddlers, and this legislation provides families with a valuable new option to better afford this necessary expense. We look forward to supporting this legislation and continuing to work with Senator Ernst to ensure that all families have the supports they need to meet this critical basic need.”
Roy Chrobocinski, Managing Director of Domestic Policy at Save the Children, said, “One out of three families struggle to buy diapers for their children due to high costs, negatively impacting various aspects of life. For instance, many child care facilities require parents to provide diapers for their kids, meaning when families can’t afford them, their kids miss out on important early learning experiences. We can’t allow that to happen. That’s why we’re so thrilled to support this bipartisan legislation. This bill is an important step to ensure kids and families have what they need to thrive.”