Senate Democrats press Biden to appoint coordinator for baby formula shortage
A group of 32 Senate Democrats released a letter Wednesday asking President Biden to appoint a White House coordinator to address the nationwide baby formula shortage.
“We urge you to immediately assign a coordinator within the White House to work with manufacturers directly and oversee the development and implementation of a national strategy for increasing the resiliency of the infant formula supply chain and protecting against future contamination and shortages,” the lawmakers wrote.
The Democrats’ letter, released by Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) comes amid a nationwide shortage of baby formula that began due, in large part, to recalls by the producer Abbott Nutrition. In February, the company recalled its formula products after two infants died from ingesting formula produced in Abbott’s Michigan plant.
Supply chain issues, which have plagued the economy for months due to the pandemic, have also played a factor in the shortage.
Pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS have been forced to ration their supplies of the product while the formula supply remains limited.
Biden on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act to address the issue.
The group wrote that the Biden administration’s national strategy should “rapidly address immediate needs associated with the shortage, including identifying specific action steps and deadlines for addressing the shortage.”
“It should also provide critical information to parents and caregivers, including where to find formula, how to transition from one formula to another, if needed, and what to do if a medical or specialty formula is unavailable,” the letter added.
The senators said that the administration should construct a more comprehensive plan for making Americans aware of shortage issues in the future, calling for a “long-term strategy that allows for better information-sharing across federal, state, and local governments regarding shortages, improved and ongoing coordination with manufacturers and retailers, and measures for protecting the safety and integrity of the formula supply.”
“We need organized leadership and a clear plan for addressing this crisis,” the lawmakers pleaded. “We cannot stop working on this issue until babies are fed.”