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Rubio, Duckworth Support Mothers Access to Milk Donations

Sep 14, 2023 | Press Releases

Medical research has established that breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Due to medical irregularities, some mothers do not have the abilities or resources to seek human milk donations. 

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced Access to Donor Milk Act to facilitate access to donor milk resources for WIC-enrolled families and increase federal support for donor milk banks. 

  • “A mother has the unique and beautiful gift of bearing a child and we must ensure that we are doing our best to support the nutrition of the next generations of Americans. With this bicameral and bipartisan bill, we would help facilitate access to nurturing resources for WIC-enrolled families.”   – Senator Rubio
  • “For infants born premature or with serious medical conditions, access to donor milk is one of the best resources available. I’m proud to work with Senator Rubio and Congresswoman Houlahan to introduce our bipartisan Access to Donor Milk Act so we can support donor milk banks nationwide and help ensure families have what they need to raise strong, healthy babies.” – Senator Duckworth

U.S. Representatives Maria Salazar (R-FL), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) introduced companion legislation in the House. 

  • “Feeding and nourishing our infants should be as easy as possible whether parents use breast milk, formula, or donor milk. As a mother of two beautiful daughters, I am proud to co-lead legislation that will, especially in times of crisis, help suppliers meet demand for safe and healthy donor milk.” – Congresswoman Salazar 
  • “Many of the best ideas in Congress come from everyday Americans in our communities – this bill was no exception. In May of 2022, I visited the maternity ward at Paoli Hospital where I spoke with a lactation consultant who shared with me her concerns about a reliable supply of safe donor breast milk, especially for vulnerable infants. When we took a hard look, what we found was a gray space of federal regulation regarding donor breast milk. This legislation reflects the strength of democracy because we can make lasting change when we speak up. I’m proud to work with my Republican colleagues Reps. Bice and Salazar in the House, and we could not ask for a better partner in the Senate than Senator Duckworth and now Senator Rubio. Together, we will protect our most vulnerable infants and give parents safe, reliable choices in infant nutrition.” – Congresswoman Houlahan
  • “As a mother of two, I am a proud co-lead of this bipartisan legislation which will promote healthy families and help mitigate the impacts of any future infant formula shortages. Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District is fortunate enough to have the Oklahoma Mother’s Milk Bank, allowing abled mothers to donate safe pasteurized milk to infants in need. I look forward to working towards delivering results to families across the country.” – Congresswoman Bice 

The Access to Donor Milk Act would:

  • Allow existing WIC funds allocated toward breastfeeding support and promotion to be used to support donor milk; 
  • Allow state agencies to use WIC funds to 1) collect and store donations of donor milk, 2) transfer donor milk to a nonprofit milk bank, and 3) provide donor milk to participants at little or no cost; 
  • Authorize $3 million in FY24 for competitive grants to FDA accredited non-profit milk banks that are experiencing a rapid increase in demand for donor milk or a supply shortage. Milk banks would use these funds to expand their “emergency capacity.” Qualified expenditures would include donor milk collection, storage, transfer, and processing fees; staffing and supplies at milk banks; publicity efforts to recruit more donors; and purchasing consumable products such as PPE and cleaning supplies for milk processing; 
  • Require the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which oversees crucial federal health supports for low-income families (including community health centers and the National Health Service Corps), to establish a donor milk awareness program to educate the public on the benefits of donor milk, nonprofit milk banks, and the need for volunteer donors (including developing education materials and distributing information to parents enrolled in WIC.); and 
  • Require that HHS issue guidance to clarify the regulatory status of donor milk provided by a nonprofit milk bank.
  • Allow state agencies to repurpose unused WIC funds at the end of the year to increase capacity to collect, store, and transfer donor milk safely to nonprofit milk banks.