May 18, 2022
This is about the risk and the life of babies in this country.Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who introduced a $28 million emergency supplemental bill to help address the baby formula shortage. Two bills related to the shortage have been passed in the House, and the Defense Production Act was also implemented to help curb the shortage.
- Why It Matters: An estimated 40% of baby formula is missing from U.S. store shelves, and lawmakers are working to develop policies that can help minimize this shortage and prevent future similar issues. The FDA still warns that it could be weeks before products arrive on U.S. shelves.
- The House has approved two bills this week. One of these is a supplemental bill granting the FDA $28 million to take measures intended to mitigate further shortages, including hiring more staff to ensure the quality of new infant formula. The second bill, which passed with bipartisan support, allows people who buy formula through the federally-funded WIC program to use different brands during shortages (typically, they are limited in brand options). Both bills must also be passed in the Senate before being implemented.
- The Defense Production Act: Invoked by President Biden, it requires suppliers to prioritize formula for the U.S. and enables commercial aircrafts to pick up formula from overseas. "Imports of baby formula will serve as a bridge to this ramped up production," Mr. Biden said in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
- Something to Consider: The supplemental bill was passed in the House largely along party lines, with Democrats voting in favor of it. “This bill just continues the Democrats’ strategy of throwing money at the same bureaucrats who caused the crisis and who have not made its solution a priority,” said Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.
Biden invokes Defense Production Act for formula shortage (Associated Press)
Biden Invokes the Defense Production Act to Increase Baby-Formula Supply (Wall Street Journal)
by Jenna Lee,