NotedDC — Beyond the formula shortage
The House will vote on two bills Wednesday night to address the ongoing nationwide baby formula shortage.
A $28 million supplemental bill introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) would greenlight emergency funds to help the Food and Drug Administration address the shortage, including by increasing staff for inspections.
And another bill introduced by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) would ensure that families could buy formula with WIC benefits — a supplemental program for women, infants and young children — during emergencies or supply chain disruptions.
President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DFA) on Wednesday night, requiring suppliers to “direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.”
“That was the first route I wanted to take,” DeLauro told NotedDC about invoking the Defense Production Act, saying earlier Wednesday she was working with the Biden administration to employ it.
DeLauro says she also plans to introduce a bill looking beyond the current shortage, giving “authority to the FDA to tighten up the process” of inspecting facilities.
The issue will be front and center on Thursday when the House Appropriations Committee, which DeLauro chairs, holds the first of two hearings examining the formula shortage and looking at possible changes.
The crisis began with supply chain issues and came to a head when Abbott Laboratories — one of the largest suppliers of formula — recalled its products and closed its formula plant in Michigan after reports of sick infants.
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Alcohol delivery comes to the House
Members and staff in the House now have access to an exclusive perk that their Senate colleagues can’t tap into: Booze on demand.
According to information recently released to the House, members and staff can get alcohol delivered wherever their offices are located throughout the Capitol Complex.
But the prices may be stiff for some. Here’s a sampling on the House catering site from vendor Sodexo for same-day delivery:
- Wine (varies by type): $10-28
- Case of beer (varies by type): $35-42
- Tito’s vodka (750ml): $26
- Crown Royal whisky: $35
- 1800 Tequila: $30
- And for those feeling extra fancy… Veuve Clicquot: $75
The Senate notably has a separate vendor for its food services operation on its side of the Capitol and Senate office buildings.
A spokesperson for Restaurant Associates hospitality group tells NotedDC that they haven’t been asked by Senate leaders to consider offering alcohol services.
And while House members cannot use official funds to pay for the alcohol, Republicans have blasted Democratic leaders over the alcohol delivery and other perks for their offices.
“Millions of Americans are experiencing increased financial burden due to inflation, and Pelosi is wasting tax dollars on providing Peloton memberships and a liquor store to House staff,” Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) told The Hill.
Cawthorn’s tenure in Capitol limited
Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s political controversies and scandals seemingly caught up to him on Tuesday night, with the House Republican losing a heated primary battle.
GOP voters in North Carolina’s 11th District picked state Sen. Chuck Edwards over Cawthorn, who at age 26 was one of the youngest people to ever serve in Congress.
While it was Cawthorn’s first reelection bid, he faced an uphill battle after he said on a podcast he had been invited to an orgy in D.C. and had seen colleagues do cocaine.
And a few weeks ago, leaked photos showing Cawthorn wearing women’s lingerie put another nail in his campaign’s coffin.
A big takeaway: The Hill’s Tal Axelrod and Max Greenwood noted that “Cawthorn’s loss showed that there are limits to what voters will tolerate.”
“Well, it’s good. I mean it’s good for the country, it’s good for the party.”
– Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), who is retiring, on CNN talking about
fellow GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn losing his primary battle this week
Murkowski gets boost from GOP colleagues
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Alaska Republican facing a Trump-backed challenger in her reelection bid this year, appears to be getting an extra boost from her GOP colleagues.
The three-term senator was front and center at a press conference Wednesday that included a deep roster of GOP heavyweights attacking the White House over high gas prices.
“All it would take is [for] President Biden to stand in front of a microphone and say, given what is happening in this country, the unprecedented place that we are at today, [and] the impact on everyday Americans, I’ve got an obligation to say Americans are going to come first and American energy production is going to come first,” Murkowski said at the event, which also featured GOP Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), John Kennedy (La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), James Lankford (Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and John Barraso (Wy.), among others.
Murkowski is trying to fend off an opponent who has received Trump’s blessing, Kelly Tshibaka, ahead of the Aug. 16 primary.
Recent polls have suggested that Murkowski is still favored for reelection, but due to changes in Alaska’s primary election laws, she may have a narrower path to victory.
Murkowski was a rare Republican vote in favor of convicting then-President Trump on his impeachment charge following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
Still, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has backed Murkowski as the party seeks to regain control of the upper chamber this year.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure she’s successful,” McConnell told Axios in an interview last month.
Of note: A Murkowski has served in the U.S. Senate representing Alaska for more than four decades: Her father, Frank, served in the chamber since 1981 and appointed her to succeed him when he stepped down to become governor in 2002.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Former President Trump is urging celebrity physician Mehmet Oz to take a page out of his 2020 playbook and declare a premature victory in the Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate primary.
“Dr. Oz should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they just ‘happened to find,’” Trump posted Wednesday on Truth Social, his social media platform, drawing parallels to his false claim of widespread election fraud in 2020.
Only a few thousand votes separate Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, putting them in potential recount territory, The Hill’s Max Greenwood writes.
On the other side of the aisle: The Hill’s Niall Stanage wrote that Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was the clearest winner Tuesday night after beating Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) in the Democratic primary.
Lawmakers urge more education on opioid crisis
Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) offered a stark comparison on the number of people who have died of an overdose in the past year — about 110,000 — saying it equals about a “jetliner a day.”
The challenge for lawmakers, according to Dean: “How we land this plane.”
Speaking at The Hill’s The Opioid and Criminal Justice System event Wednesday, Dean told editor-in-chief Bob Cusack that “we’ve succeeded in talking about it more.”
“But I think we have a very far way to go with that when I think about how we educate young people,” she said.
On the topic of criminal justice and opioid abuse, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) said that community-based education services are critical for people who get out of jail so they “don’t go right back into the situation that drove them into the addiction.”
He added that the government should provide more resources for those in jail since the goal is to “reintroduce them into society.”
“We abandoned mental health treatment programs and made the prison system a home for people with mental health issues,” Joyce said.
‘Hurricanes are coming our way’
As if there hasn’t been enough disaster lately … here’s your reminder that hurricane season is soon upon us.
President Biden on Wednesday met with leaders to discuss equitable emergency preparedness for hurricanes this season.
“We know hurricanes are coming our way,” he told reporters before the confab. “They grow more extreme every season.”
He also pleaded with people to heed hurricane warnings and follow guidance from local authorities.
- The Atlantic hurricane season “officially” starts June 1 and lasts through Nov. 30, but recent weather patterns have seen storms not only grow in intensity but also fall outside of the predicted guardrails.
- Weather experts also have noted that the water in the Gulf of Mexico is already warmer than average, which could make storms coming through the Gulf Coast even more powerful.