President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase the production of baby formula hours after bipartisan lawmakers that included Reps. Josh Gottheimer and Mikie Sherrill had called for the move.
Invoking the DPA on May 17 was the latest move by Democrats to respond the national shortage. Gov. Phil Murphy the day before signed a state of emergency to prevent price gouging and Sherrill led a bipartisan group of 16 moms in the House urging the Biden Administration to bolster efforts to get baby formula into the hands of parents across the country.
The action by the President was after Gottheimer was the lead sponsor in bipartisan legislation calling for the DPA be used to increase the production of baby formula, and ensure distribution to all regions of the country through federally qualified health centers.
Supporters that had called for the President’s move believe it will help speed up the production of the necessary ingredients used to make baby formula and help increase domestic production.
“I applaud the President for invoking the Defense Production Act, so that we can ensure no baby in our country goes hungry and that no mother or father has to struggle to find the food to feed their child,” said Gottheimer.
Action in Washington started earlier in the week when Sherrill led a bipartisan group of 16 moms in the House in calling for the Biden Administration to bolster efforts to get baby formula into the hands of parents across the country.
In the letter, the congresswoman stated more than 40% of infant formulas are out of stock at stores around the United States, a crisis that has been building for months that stems from pandemic-related supply issues as well as the February closure of a major production plant.
“Mothers with hungry infants to feed literally have hours, not days or months; their infants need this food now,” stated the letter that had Sherrill as the lead signatory. “To this end, we urge you to take all necessary actions to immediately expand production of infant formula to meet demand and eliminate these shortages. In addition, we also urge you to implement short-term solutions to improve formula supply immediately.”
Addressing Production Issues
The letter came out the same day the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 16 reached an agreement with Abbott Laboratories on the steps needed to reopen the company’s shuttered baby formula plant, which could begin to ease the shortage of infant formula nationwide.
The FDA said it expected Abbott to restart production in about two weeks at its Michigan plant and could translate to more formula on shelves in six to eight weeks. The company said it will continue flying formula in from a plant in Ireland.
Additionally, U.S. health regulators took steps to allow more foreign baby formula on American shelves, easing rules that had effectively prevented shipments from many overseas manufacturers. Easing the import rules could add to formula supplies, according to supporters, by allowing manufacturers overseas that haven’t been able to ship their products to the U.S. access to the market if they can meet the FDA’s adjusted requirements.
The move could allow domestic manufacturers of formula destined for foreign shelves to sell their products in the U.S. The changed guidelines are a temporary measure valid for the next 180 days.
But those moves will not solve the problems in which a recent analysis by Datasembly found 43% of baby formula products were out of stock as of early May, with some states facing even greater shortages of over 50%. And the prices for formula have risen dramatically in recent weeks, making it even less affordable for families at a time when their budgets are already stretched thin.
“No mother should ever have to face the helpless feeling that they cannot properly care for the basic needs of their child. Yet tragically, this is the precise situation that many of our constituents are now in,” wrote Sherrill. “Mothers in our districts are terrified that they cannot access the formula they need to feed their infants.”
“As mothers, we know that this is not just a matter of nutrition or convenience; for many infants who have recently been weaned or cannot breastfeed, formula is the only thing their bodies will allow them to eat. This is an untenable and unacceptable situation, and it must be rectified immediately.”
Addressing Supply Chain
The working group additionally expressed to the Biden Administration their concerns about the “fragility of the infant formula supply chain that could allow such a dramatic shortage to occur without backup sources of supply available.” as well as a repeat of a similar crisis in the future.
“We ask that the Administration conduct a top-to-bottom evaluation to determine how the formula supply chain became so susceptible to the nationwide breakdown that we are seeing today and to then develop appropriate reforms to improve the resilience of this market so that this crisis never happens again,” they wrote.
House members signing the letter included Reps. Cindy Axne (D-MI), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Marie Newman (D-IL), Katie Porter (D-CA), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Susan Wild (D-PA), and Nikema Williams (D-GA).
The headline shouldn’t be Biden invoked the act.
The headline should be, 12 right wing, extremist, anti-abortion republicans, voted against it!
Spare the fetus, abandon the child is their rallying cry!
Actually, the headline should be “After Biden Regime shuts down Abbott baby formula plant for alleged “issues,” most Republicans vote against formula bill because Democrats SNUCK IN RAISES FOR THE FDA.” There. Fixed it for you.
SADLY; This here administration Has failed America & Is Failing American’s miserably!! L00K! What is it so hard to buy Formulas from 0ther Countries; Like Canada-Mexico-South America- Europe-China_ Etc.!! AND; Same goes for’n Already Refined Fuels, like Gasoline, Diesel!! And ALL Ready to go into the car’s gas tanks at a much Lower Price!!// 0H! Mr. President Trump, Where forth art thou!!//
It seems rob graduated from the first class of the right wing’s “War on Public Education”