President Joe Biden has now signed a key measure into law to help Americans deal with the baby formula shortage that has plagued the U.S., once again delivering an implicit rebuttal to attention-desperate conservatives claiming Democrats have been lax in dealing with the crisis. The measure helps families receiving WIC benefits more easily purchase formula.
Under the new measure, the “brand or type of formula families can buy isn’t restricted by [WIC] program rules, allowing families to purchase whatever is available in the store,” according to a press release from the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. The bill had bipartisan support — most members of the House, except for nine extremist Republicans, voted for it, and it passed in the Senate via unanimous consent, meaning not a single Senator lodged a formal objection. “This law helps parents get their babies the formula they need by making sure there is never a delay in getting help out the door; and it will hold baby formula manufacturers accountable if they want to do business with the USDA,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who chairs that Senate committee, remarked. The accountability measure forces formula manufacturers whose product is provided under WIC to have a plan in place for responding to shortages.
Today, the percentage of people receiving unemployment insurance fell below 1 percent for the first time since 1969.
America is back to work.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 19, 2022
Normally, those using WIC benefits would have restrictions on the types of formula they can purchase with the program’s assistance. Meanwhile, Abbott Laboratories and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reached a reported agreement to allow for the imminent reopening of a large baby formula production facility in Michigan. Two babies who consumed formula apparently from the plant died ahead of the facility getting temporarily shut down in February, a move that’s spurred the formula shortage. (“The plant shutdown exacerbated an existing supply crisis,” The New York Times said.) As of last Monday, the FDA indicated it expected production to resume at the Michigan facility in some two weeks — although it could be up to some two months after that point when the facility’s new product becomes available in stores. In the meantime, other efforts at stopping the formula shortage could have major impacts.
Six months ago, I signed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and we’ve gotten right to work building a better America. We’ve announced over $110 billion in funding for projects in all 50 states to modernize our infrastructure.
We’re just getting started, folks.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 16, 2022
On the sidelines, Republicans have used the opportunity to launch political attacks. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) claimed Biden had no plan for dealing with the shortage the day after White House officials publicly laid out steps they were taking and said formula production increased to a four-week level higher than the four weeks before the major Abbott recall helping drive the shortage. And some, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have complained about the Biden administration continuing to provide for the nutritional needs of babies from outside the country for whom it’s responsible. “The Biden administration is sending pallets of baby formula to the border for illegal aliens, while American mothers are crying in the grocery store searching for it. We should Protect America First!” Greene recently complained. Rather than focusing elsewhere, she opted to run with the idea of potentially basically starving babies from other countries.
Under my predecessor, the deficit increased every single year.
This year, we’re on track to cut the deficit by $1.5 trillion – the biggest one-year decline ever.
It matters to families, because reducing the deficit is one of the main ways we can ease inflationary pressures.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 14, 2022