Republicans are increasingly alarmed after discovering that baby formula is being sent to border facilities by the pallet load when American mothers face massive shortages and empty shelves.
The Biden administration is struggling to respond and will not confirm when there will be more formula delivered to empty grocery store shelves.
Recently, Republican Representative Kat Cammack tweeted two images. One image showed empty shelves where baby formula should be at an American grocery store. The other showed full food and baby formula shelves from a processing center at the southern border.
Rep. Cammack tweeted, “The first photo is from this morning at the Ursula Processing Center at the U.S. border. Shelves and pallets packed with baby formula. The second is from a shelf right here at home. Formula is scarce. This is what America last looks like.”
Concerned parents have begged the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ramp up production while reports of infants falling ill from baby formula issues grow.
The administration couldn’t say when more formula would be available in the marketplace, couldn’t say when the shuttered Abbott plant would reopen. U.S. miliary cargo planes have begun to fly in formula from abroad in a stopgap measure promoted by the White House.
The White House is calling on state attorneys general to cut down on price gouging, with prices for one can of formula going up to $120 per can as parents desperately looking for food for their infants.
President Biden recently sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, saying, “It is unacceptable for families to lose time and spend hundreds of dollars more because of price gougers’ actions.”
GOP House members demand action
More than 100 House Republicans demand that the Biden administration take further action to address the crisis.
In a letter to the president, GOP lawmakers said, “This issue is a matter of life and death, and it is time this administration treats it with the appropriate urgency it deserves.”
Despite urgent calls for action to figure out the shortage, Congressional Democrats have not shown urgency in their policy. Instead, the past few weeks have been spent pushing for action on codifying Roe v. Wade and focusing on passing $40 billion in aid to Ukraine.
Lawmakers have hearings scheduled to address the crisis, but they haven’t started yet. The House Energy and Commerce Committee said recently that it will hold hearings as it called the situation “increasingly alarming.”
Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, slammed the FDA in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and FDA Commissioner Robert Califf for “risking the lives of infants across the nation” by forcing the U.S.’s biggest baby formula plant to stay closed while parents scramble desperately to feed their babies.
“The responsibility falls on the FDA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect infant health by ensuring they have access to safe formula.”
Supply chain shortages, product recalls, and other factors have sent parents scrambling to locate enough formula to feed their infants. Current out-of-stock rates for formula range from 40% to 45%.
Healthcare experts, pediatricians, and politicians are urging the FDA to reopen Abbott’s plant, ramp up production at other plants, and distribute formula to families in need.