Congressman Sean Maloney

Representing the 18th District of New York

Office Locations

Maloney Slams GOP-Led House Administration for Barring Use of Funds for Feminine Hygiene Products

Jun 28, 2018
Press Release
Maloney Was Personally Charged for Tampons After House Administration Refused to Allow MRA to Cover Cost of Purchase

WASHINGTON – After the Committee on House Administration refused to permit the purchase of tampons with official funds and instead charged him personally for the purchase, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney sent a letter to the committee demanding that it reverse its discriminatory policy. The Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA), governed by the Committee on House Administration, is the annual allocation each Member of Congress receives to maintain their office and can be used to purchase other hygienic products including tissues, hand sanitizer, lotion, and first aid kits.

“I couldn’t believe it when I found out about this – we use our office funds to pay for other necessary health products and there’s no damn good reason they can’t be used for this purpose,” said Rep. Maloney. “This is an important part of a larger discussion about how women are treated in the workplace here in Congress and across the country. It’s time for Congress to lead on these issues.”

The MRA is the annual allowance provided to each Congressional office to pay staff, fund official travel, and for the purchase of official supplies and office necessities. Congressional offices are permitted to use the funds to pay for other necessary hygienic products, as well as embellished letter openers, brass bookends, gavel sets with engravable plates, and wooden “executive tissue holders.”

On June 26, Rep. Maloney’s office received an email from the Committee on House Administration alerting him that the purchase was not permissible and that he would be required to personally reimburse the funds. More than half of Rep. Maloney’s Washington staff are female, and the office hosts constituents and other visitors who may need access to these products on a daily basis.

The text of the letter is below and an original version is available here.

 

Chairman Harper:

I’m writing today to ask that you immediately reverse the Committee on House Administration’s policy barring the use of funds to purchase feminine hygiene products. My office purchased a box of tampons for constituents, staff, and other visitors. The office then received notification that this was not a permissible purchase. I have now written a personal check to reimburse the office.

The Members’ Representational Allowance (MRA) can be used to purchase other necessary hygienic products including tissues and hand sanitizer. With that in mind, it is simply outrageous that the Committee’s policy bars the use of funds for another necessary hygienic product.

Using office funds to purchase feminine hygiene products is common practice in the private sector and elsewhere in the public sector. There’s no legitimate reason to prevent it here in the House of Representatives.

We’re finally having long-overdue discussions regarding women’s rights in this institution. This is part of that discussion. Please immediately rescind this policy. I look forward to your response.