What is President Joe Biden doing to address the crisis of a shortage in baby formula? What are Congressional Democrats and Republicans doing? Biden and Democrats are working hard to address the problem — while (most) Republicans obfuscate and obstruct.
Biden has invoked the Defense Protection Act, as the Washington Post reports, which allows him to prioritize formula companies for access to necessary ingredients, allowing them to increase production. He’s also temporarily increasing the import of formula from other countries.
In Congress, though, Democrats face obstruction. A bill that would help the FDA address the shortage and protect infants and their families from fraudulent or unsafe formula in the midst of a health emergency has passed the House, and will proceed to the Senate — but if Republicans in the Senate are as resistant as those in the House, the bill may never make it through.
231-192, the House approves $28 million to help FDA deal with baby formula shortage. All NO votes were Republicans and 12 GOP members voted for it. It now moves to the Senate
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 19, 2022
CNN reporter Manu Raju shared on social media Wednesday night that only 12 House Republicans voted in favor of the legislation, joining all House Democrats, while 192 Republicans opposed.
According to Reuters, the FDA currently has only nine employees to work on formula approval, which isn’t enough to address foreign and domestic facilities and products.
Meanwhile, another bill to help families feed hungry infants also passed the House but faced (slightly smaller) Republican opposition. MarketWatch reports that this one specifically addressed lower-income families, by making sure that those who are eligible for WIC (Women Infants & Children) benefits could still purchase formula.
WIC benefits are very narrow and finite, allowing families to buy products only in the specific size and brand approved. The bill would allow temporary waivers permitting recipients to purchase a different brand of formula during the crisis.
Nine Republicans — Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, Thomas Massie, Andy Biggs, Clay Higgins, and Chip Roy — opposed this measure.
These and other measures cannot pass the Senate without bipartisan approval.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com