Psaki Claims White House Is On Top Of Baby Formula Shortage, But Hoarding Is An ‘Enormous Problem’
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on May 12, 2022 in Washington, DC. Psaki fielded several questions about the White Houses response to the recent baby formula shortage, which experts say is the worst shortage in decades. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed that the baby formula shortage was in part the result of people “hoarding” the available supply and then selling it for a higher price, profiting from the desperation of the families who needed to feed their babies.

Psaki took a number of questions on the issue during Thursday’s press briefing, and she began by saying that President Joe Biden had been anticipating the shortages and working to find solutions for quite some time.

CBS reporter Ed O’Keefe pressed Psaki on that point, asking when President Biden had first been briefed on the potential for shortages, but Psaki declined to give any details. “I’m not going to get into internal briefings,” was all she would say.

O’Keefe pressed again, asking whether anyone had considered invoking the Defense Production Act and once more whether Biden had been apprised of the situation prior to this week. “It wasn’t like this suddenly popped up?”

Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich continued in the same vein, noting that a whistle-blower had come forward last October to warn the FDA.

“It does seem like we should’ve seen this coming, that maybe the FDA could have done more on the baby formula shortage,” she said. “The whistleblower used to work at that Sturgis plant warned the FDA top officials about safety concerns in October but they didn’t interview that whistleblower until December, the inspection wasn’t until January 31st and the recall happened February 17th. So, is that timeline acceptable to the White House? And it not, what is the White House doing to correct that?”

Psaki replied that she did not have any “specific analysis” of the process, repeating that the Biden administration had been working on the issue for months.

Psaki later noted another issue that was complicating efforts to get formula back on shelves, arguing that some people were “hoarding” what little supply there was and then jacking up the price, forcing desperate parents to pay more for the formula they needed.

“If you are a parent who’s looking for formula right now, struggling to find what you need, do you have even a rough guess of how long these shortages are going to last? What should parents be bracing for here?” one reporter asked.

Psaki argued that supply was already beginning to increase, adding, “What we are seeing which is an enormous problem is hoarding — people hoarding because they are fearful, that is one element of it — and people hoarding because they are trying to profit off of fearful parents.”

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