By Brandon Moseley

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07) applauded the passage of H.R. 3110, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. This bipartisan legislation provides protections for nursing mothers in the workplace.

“Protecting the right of mothers to care for their children and maintain a successful career is an issue of public health and economic equality,” Sewell said. “When women succeed, America succeeds. I’m proud to support the PUMP Act to ensure that all our mothers and babies have the protections they need to thrive.”

H.R. 3110 was sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-New York).

Opponents of the bill claimed that the mandates would hit small businesses hard.

“This bill is a flawed scheme and expansive mandate, do more harm than good,” said Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina). “We must not saddle businesses with rigid policies that will open them up to legal action.”

Maloney introduced the bill this year, along with Congressional Maternity Care Caucus co-chairs Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California).

Sponsors claim that breastfeeding plays an essential role in both maternal and infant health. The benefits of breastfeeding for infants include lower risks of asthma, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome.  According to researchers at Cleveland Clinic, breastfeeding reduces the risk of high blood pressure, ovarian and breast cancers, anemia, and postpartum depression, for mothers.

Sponsors of the legislation claim that currently, working mothers are not sufficiently protected under federal break time and space law. Enacted in 2010, the break time for nursing mothers provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 requires employers to provide a reasonable break time to express milk for one year after a child’s birth and to offer a non-bathroom space free from view and intrusion for nursing employees. However, sponsors claim gaps in the law limit the number of workers entitled to these protections and how workers can recover in court when their employers violate the requirements.

The bill passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 276 to 149.

The bill now goes to the Senate for their consideration.

Sewell is in her sixth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

(Original reporting by Newsmax contributed to this report.)