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Gohmert lone House lawmaker to oppose baby formula bill

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) addresses reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 to discuss those still in a Washington, D.C., jail for committing crimes during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Greg Nash
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) addresses reporters at a press conference on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 to discuss those still in a Washington, D.C., jail for committing crimes during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) was the only House lawmaker to oppose a bill on Friday to temporarily suspend tariffs on imports of baby formula. 

The measure, titled the Formula Act, initially cleared the House in a bipartisan 421-2 vote.

Hours later, Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) said he voted against the bill incorrectly, filing the formal documentation to change his vote from “no” to “yes.” 

Allen’s office told The Hill he voted against the measure accidentally.

Gohmert delivered a lengthy speech on the House floor Friday, which touched on his vote against the baby formula bill. He argued that the legislation was “thrown upon” Republicans at the last minute, after the vote was announced Thursday night, arguing that it was rushed in the chamber.

“It seems like this bill was a rush to get done without properly considering what this would mean,” he said.

The Texas Republican also voted against two baby formula-related bills in May.

He was one of nine Republicans to oppose the Access to Baby Formula Act which received widespread GOP support, passing in a 414-9 vote. The legislation, which passed through the Senate by unanimous consent and was signed into law by President Biden, permanently eased restrictions on the types of baby formula that people who are part of the federal low-income assistance program for women, children and infants are able to purchase.

The second bill, titled the Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, was opposed by all Republicans present. It would have given the Food and Drug Administration $28 million in emergency funds to address the baby formula shortage.

While the baby formula shortage has received less news coverage in recent weeks, shortages remain an issue.

The Wall Street Journal, citing data from market-research firm IRI, said about 30 percent of powdered formula products in the U.S. were out of stock in stores for the week ending on July 3.

The scarcity was in part caused by the closure of an Abbott Nutrition factory in February, which shuttered operations because four infants who consumed formula from the facility developed rare bacterial infections and were hospitalized. Earlier this month, however, the factory resumed production.

Updated 10:52 p.m.

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