House members passed legislation on Friday allowing women to use pre-tax money in health flexible spending accounts to buy feminine products— including tampons and pads.
The provision, which is included in the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act, is part of a broader effort to expand what can be purchased with pre-tax money in health flexible spending accounts provided by many health insurance plans. Contributions to these accounts come directly from an individual’s paycheck without being taxed.
The provision allows health flexible spending account funds to be used to purchase tampons, liners, pads, cups, sponges, or other feminine hygiene products.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), who sponsored the provision, said she wrote the legislation to “fight for menstrual equality.”
“Menstrual hygiene products are essential and necessary for women, and deserve to be items that are permitted to be purchased with health flexible spending account funds,” Meng said in a Friday statement. “There is no reason why menstrual products should not be included, and I am thrilled that we are on the path to finally changing that wrongheaded policy.”
Meng and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) have pushed for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to make menstrual products available free of charge in House restrooms.
Maloney claimed last month the House Administration Committee denied his request to spend money on tampons for his office, but the House Administration Committee said that it never sent a rejection letter to his office.
The legislation is headed to the Senate for a vote.