Bipartisan bill advances in the House, but without support of NC Republicans
WASHINGTON — Both the Biden administration and Congress moved Wednesday to try to relieve a national infant formula shortage, as the White House invoked the Defense Production Act and the U.S. House approved $28 million for the Food and Drug Administration.
President Joe Biden said he would use the law to address the formula shortage, requiring suppliers to fill orders from formula manufacturers before other customers.
Biden also directed Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to use Defense Department planes to more quickly import formula from overseas that meets U.S. health and safety standards.
“Imports of baby formula will serve as a bridge to this ramped up production, therefore, I am requesting you take all appropriate measures available to get additional safe formula into the country immediately,” Biden wrote to the secretaries.
Meanwhile, the House voted mostly along party lines late Wednesday to approve the FDA funding, but Republicans overwhelmingly opposed it, saying that it would provide a blank check to the FDA and that it doesn’t take steps to actually get infant formula back on store shelves quickly.
The measure is unlikely to get past the U.S. Senate’s legislative filibuster without GOP backing, meaning lawmakers in that chamber will either have to amend the bill, or start from scratch on their own legislation.
The final House vote was 231-192. All Democrats and 12 Republicans voted in favor. All North Carolina Republicans (except Virginia Foxx, who didn’t vote) voted ‘no.’
“The emergency funds allocated by this bill will help safely expedite the inspection of the country’s infant formula supply and quickly get it back on the shelves of stores across the country,” said U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., a Georgia Democrat who chairs the House spending panel that oversees FDA funding.
Bishop said Congress should also investigate how the problem occurred in the first place. Read more