Sen. Mike Lee has a proposal to combat the national baby formula shortage, which he attributes to the Biden administration.
The Utah Republican introduced the FORMULA Act to bolster the supply chain to help families feed their children. In recent days, challenges in the baby formula supply chains have sent the out-of-stock rate for formula to triple from numbers seen six months ago, according to Lee.
“American babies are going hungry and the federal government is standing in the way,” he said in a statement. “Current policies, tariffs, quotas, bans, and regulations are preventing mothers and fathers from being able to make the best choices to feed their babies.”
Lee said Congress must pass a bill immediately to bring families relief in the unprecedented shortage.
Supply chain issues connected to the pandemic contributed to a shortage in a variety of products, but the baby formula shortage worsened in February when manufacturer Abbott issued a recall for products made at a Michigan plant, The Washington Post reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said to avoid certain powdered formulas that may have been tied to bacterial infections in four hospitalized babies, and may have led to the death of two of those babies. Those formulas were produced at the Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan.
On May 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the investigation was closed, with no additional cases identified, according to FDA.gov. Following the Abbott investigation, there is no evidence linking the formulas to the infant illnesses, according to the company.
Lee’s proposed Fixing Our Regulatory Mayhem Upsetting Little Americans Act targets supply chain disruption by temporarily waiving current protectionist trade barriers like tariffs and quotas on importation that reduce the supply and increase the price of available foreign-made formula.
The bill would also waive regulations that prevent the importation of safe baby formula from abroad. Lee said that would allow American families to access safe and plentiful formula manufactured in Europe and elsewhere during the shortage. It also lets Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children program recipients to use vouchers to purchase formula from any producer rather than be limited to the brand or product listed on specific vouchers, which may be unavailable.