Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s fight for free tampons for female staff and visitors

Boxes of tampons are displayed in a pharmacy, Monday, March 7, 2016, in New York. A group of women has filed a lawsuit accusing New York of unlawfully taxing tampons and other feminine hygiene products. The suit argues that medical items are exempt from sales tax in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has become an unlikely face for the fight to provide women free feminine hygiene products.

It all began when he shared an email via Twitter he received from the House finance department demanding he would need to personally reimburse the government $37.16 because the tampons he purchased for his female staffers and visitors did not qualify as an office supply item.

He began his video message with a crash course on similar products covered by taxpayer dollars that had been granted approval: paper towels, hand sanitizers and a first aid kit, before packing a real punch, saying:

“The one thing you cannot do apparently in the House of Representatives is treat women with the same respect and dignity as other employees and visitors.”

The short clip ends with Maloney assuring viewers he will be personally be signing a check to continue to provide tampons in his office.

Positive reactions ensued:

Erin McCracken, a spokesman for the Committee on House Administration disputed Maloney’s claim in a statement to the Washington Post, arguing he did not reach out about the issue. In turn, Maloney commented: “They’re lying and backtracking trying to avoid admitting they stand by and enforce this archaic, sexist policy.”

Listen to the podcast below to hear Chip Franklin and his fellow co-hosts, Heather Hamann and Kim McAlister weigh in on the story!

 

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