Discover more from Supercreator
Inside Democratic push to empower nursing moms in the workplace
To kick off National Breastfeeding Month, the Labor Department is launching a campaign to promote the protections passed in the PUMP Act.
When Congress passed the comprehensive funding bill President Joe Biden signed into law last December, it included the PUMP Act for Nursing Mothers Act. The law provides federal protections for almost nine million working moms who needed reasonable break time and a private place to pump.
Seven months later, the Labor Department is hosting a Day of Action today to kick off National Breastfeeding Month and International Breastfeeding Week to raise awareness of the PUMP Act so employees and workers understand the law.
“Pregnant and nursing workers should be able to care for the health of their infants and for themselves, while continuing to be able to safely earn a family-sustaining income,” Wendy Chun-Hoon, director of the Women’s Bureau at the Labor Department said on Monday during a call to preview the day-long programming.
The breastfeeding gap: Black infants have the lowest breastfeeding initiation rates of any racial group at 74.1 percent — almost 10 percentage points lower than the national average of 83.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The dearth of breastfeeding in the Black community is part of a pathology that of course has led to the worst maternal health among women around the world — even so-called third-world countries have better maternal outcomes,” Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), a senior member of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, said to Supercreator Daily. “And infant mortality is way too high for this to be a so-called civilized country.”
Jessica Looman, principal deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the Labor Department, told Supercreator Daily that the department has focused on outreach education, particularly targeting communities of color and that the Day of Action is part of an ongoing effort to advance equity.
There’s also generational trauma from the legacy of slavery when enslaved Black women were forced to breastfeed their owner’s children at the expense of their own.
“We need to approach people with people from their communities in a culturally competent way, understanding sort of the damage that has been done for many, many, many generations,” Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.) said to Supercreator Daily.
Beyond stigma, Moore said that the breastfeeding gap is exacerbated by economic inequality.
“It costs money to breastfeed,” she said. “You need lean meat, lots of fruits and vegetables — not necessarily the kinds of things that are prioritized on the [Women’s, Infants, and Children] formulary.
And since the lack of diversity in the perinatal workforce is another barrier for Black women, Moore has introduced legislation to increase the number of lactation specialists, doulas, and breastfeeding coaches of color.
Working moms in Congress: Congress has a notorious reputation as a white-male-dominated institution. But the most recent freshman class is the most diverse in history.
Hoyle said these different lived experiences can help make sure public policy on issues like breastfeeding more equitable.
“The bottom line is we need to have more people that look like the people that we’re representing that come from backgrounds have been low-income workers, who have had the issue of, ‘Do I take care of my child or do I keep my job?’” she added.
As for where nursing moms in Congress can safely and privately pump: Moore said the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women’s Reading Room, located off of Statuary Hall in the US Capitol is the go-to spot.
Power to Pump: As part of the Day of Action, the Labor Department is launching Power to Pump, a national campaign to distribute resources, including Do Not Disturb door hangers, to hundreds of national community-based organizations across the country. The campaign will continue throughout this month and throughout the years to come as the government explores ways to attract women back to the workforce after the pandemic.
Before Congress dipped out of town for August recess, Hoyle scored a significant legislative victory in the recent Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization to extend the PUMP Act’s protections to flight crew workers — including pilots and flight attendants, the only workers who were uncovered by the law.
The House FAA bill passed with a strong bipartisan vote. And a similar provision is included in the Senate version of the aviation reauthorization bill, which is still awaiting a markup.
👋🏾 HI, HEY, HELLO! Welcome to Supercreator Daily, the essential guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience. Good Tuesday morning. It’s August 1, 2023.
Supercreator covers Congress and national politics in-depth and in plain English for the creative class. Subscribe today.
Biden’s SPACECOM decision enrages Alabama delegation: President Biden decided to keep the Space Command in Colorado, a reversal of a decision former President Donald Trump made to relocate the military organization to Alabama. Both the current and former Air Force Secretaries recommended the command be relocated to Huntsville, but Biden ultimately maintained the status quo of his top SPACECOM leader.
Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) unsurprisingly welcomed the basing decision. But Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and the rest of his state’s congressional delegation accused the president of prioritizing politics over national security.
Remember: Tuberville has a hold on hundreds of military appointments in protest of a Pentagon abortion travel policy he opposes and has become the go-to GOP foil in Biden’s speeches as a result.
PPAF endorses five Senate Dem incumbents: Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in their re-election bids for Senate in 2024.
“These senators have been loud, unapologetic allies in the fight for reproductive freedom, and we need them to continue this critical work,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of PPFA said in a statement. “They believe — like the majority of the country — that abortion is health care and that reproductive health care decisions should stay between patients and their medical providers, not politicians.”
Tri-Caucus calls on WH to re-up broadband fund: The chairs of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus sent the Biden administration a letter asking it to support for replenishing a fund that provides affordable wireless internet for low-income families.
The leaders call the Affordable Connectivity Program, which was created in the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, a building block to help the US close the digital divide and point to expert warnings that its funding could dry up as early as next spring.
“[L]etting the ACP lapse would hurt communities of color and our efforts to address the myriad systemic inequities they face,” Chairs Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) wrote. “As the pandemic highlighted, access to affordable, reliable and robust broadband is essential for full participation in today’s 21st century economy and for social and civic engagement. Therefore, lack of affordable high-speed internet will put these communities further behind.”
DeLauro shows off her new ink: Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.) shared the sweet backstory of her new arm tattoo: It was a gift for her granddaughter who wanted to share the experience with the 80-year-old congresswoman.
“I have four more grandkids who still haven’t turned eighteen yet so be on the lookout for more new ink!” DeLauro, who serves as the top House Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
ON THE FLOOR
The House will meet at 3 p.m. in a pro forma session.
The Senate will meet at 12:15 p.m. in a pro forma session.
‘ROUND THE HILL
The quiet sound of summer recess.
President Biden has no public events on his schedule.
10:30 a.m. Vice President Harris will travel from Washington, DC to Orlando, arriving at 12:30 p.m.
2:15 p.m. The vice president will speak at the African Methodist Episcopal Church Quadrennial Convention.
3:25 p.m. Vice President Harris will travel back to DC, arriving at 5:20 p.m.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
“How trauma became America’s favorite diagnosis” by Danielle Carr
“Hollywood’s fight against AI will affect us all” by Suzanne Nossel
"The unexpected pitfalls of work-from-home parenthood" by Anna North
“What we’re really saying when we talk about gatekeeping” by Ann Friedman
“The enduring allure of a good love triangle” by Nylah Burton
“America’s most popular dog wasn’t bred for this heat” by Kenny Torrella
“Flyanna Boss’s ‘master plan to be a star’” by Tirhakah Love