Republicans in Congress are introducing legislation to strengthen domestic infant formula supply amid a baby formula shortage crisis in the United States, The Daily Wire has learned.
Republicans Randy Feenstra of Iowa and Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma introduced the Formula Act on Wednesday morning, legislation that would direct Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish and communicate to Congress clear standards by which it domestically regulates infant formula.” The lawmakers said these standards could also be applied to imported foreign infant formula, allowing Americans access to more available formula brands.
“The infant formula shortage is dire in Iowa, threatening babies who rely on formula for their health and development,” Feenstra said in a statement accompanying the legislation, which was exclusively obtained by The Daily Wire.
“Iowa families deserve to be able to easily buy infant formula at fair prices without worrying if the shelves are fully stocked,” he added. “This is a distressing problem, and I am committed to finding a solution.”
The FDA does not currently have interchangeable standards that allow regulation of foreign formula and ensure that foreign formula complies with U.S. health codes, the Republicans said in a press release, but by codifying standard regulations for the formula, the legislation will allow the U.S. to “safely import foreign infant formula to complement domestic production, particularly during times of severe shortage like American families are now facing.”
“Over the last 6 months, we’ve seen shortages for infant formula skyrocket to nearly 40%,” said Bice, who said that the problem has “quickly evolved into a crisis.”
The lawmakers emphasized that the Formula Act is “critical in combating formula shortages that are negatively affecting millions of American families,” noting, “The House of Representatives should immediately take up this legislation.”
Mothers and families across the country are rationing their formula supply for their babies, The New York Times reported. Some of these families drive hours to unsuccessfully search for more formula, and prices for online sellers are sky rocketing.
The shortage has prompted Republicans to argue that President Joe Biden’s administration has not done enough to increase production.
The formula shortage is a national crisis, hitting poor moms and kids the hardest.
The FDA needs to immediately step up, be transparent, explain how it will get production restarted, and give parents a timeline.
And the Biden Administration needs to take this seriously.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) May 9, 2022
Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney accused the FDA and Department of Agriculture of being too slow in their responses to the crisis, and in a statement Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said that the administration is doing “everything in our power to ensure there is adequate product available where and when they need it.”
“We recognize that many consumers have been unable to access infant formula and critical medical foods they are accustomed to using and are frustrated by their inability to do so,” Califf said in the statement.
The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
“The FDA issued a recall to make sure that they’re meeting their obligation to protect the health of Americans — including babies who, of course, were receiving or taking this formula — and ensure safe products are available. That’s their job,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
“Ensuring the availability is also a priority for the FDA and they’re working around the clock to address any possible shortage,” she added.