Earlier this week, the Florida Republicans introduced a bill – the Urgently Feeding America’s Babies Act – to direct President Joe Biden to invoke the wartime Defense Production Act and hasten imports of baby food from Europe.
Under the legislation, baby formula would be declared “scarce and critical material,” and thus force the Food and Drug Administration to waive regulatory hurdles that have so far blocked European formula imports, which remain on sale across the Atlantic.
“This crisis is putting the lives of America’s babies in jeopardy,” Rubio said in a statement. “We must increase the supply of infant formula as quickly as possible, and this legislation would provide the tools to do so. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”
Scott added in his own statement, “The baby formula shortage is heartbreaking and infuriating. Families are having to travel far just to get food for their babies. Moms and dads are already hurting from Biden’s inflation crisis, and shortages of formula are a kick while they’re down.”
“Just like with every issue this administration faces, they have no immediate solutions, but this urgent issue deserves urgent action. Our bill, the Urgently Feeding America’s Babies Act, will direct the Biden administration to take action NOW to bring European-approved baby formula to stock U.S. shelves. Families can’t wait any longer.”
Buchanan, of Longboat Key, noted in a statement, “As a grandfather to eight young children, I know firsthand that there is no greater concern than parents being able to feed their children. With more than 40 percent of our country’s most popular infant formulas out of stock, we need to use every tool at our disposal to ramp up domestic production as quickly as possible to make sure babies are fed.”
“I look forward to working with Senator Rubio on our legislation, which requires the administration to utilize the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase supply of infant formula and help bring peace of mind to millions of families across the country,” he added.
Two Democrats, Sens. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Alex Padilla of California, joined the GOP lawmakers as sponsors.
The day after the bill was filed, Biden tweeted that overseas formula imports would be allowed.
Fortune magazine noted on Wednesday that the FDA was the primary blockage in the supply arteries for baby food. European imports were disallowed under the agency’s “rigid” labeling and nutritional requirements for formula containers, although the products themselves met the FDA’s standard for nutrition and purity.
Still, U.S. officials estimate it could be two months or more before the shortage will start to be alleviated.