Baby formula bills pass the House as Republicans accuse Pelosi of ‘covering up’ the real issue

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The U.S. House of Representatives approved two bills on Wednesday that supposedly address the nationwide baby formula shortage, neither of which appear to help put products back on the shelves in the near term.

The chamber approved one of the pieces of legislation on a bipartisan basis; the other went through on a party-line vote over opposition by Republicans who insisted that in a politics-as-usual way, the appropriation was just pouring more cash into an ineffective, unresponsive, bureaucracy.

“But even as Democrats praised the vote, it was unclear how quickly the bills would help families and increase the available supply,” The Hill asserted.

It’s also unclear what will happen when the measures reach the U.S. Senate.

In the meantime, the key Michigan baby formula plant that they had shut down in February over possible bacteria infections has obtained temporary approval from the FDA to ramp up, but products may not reach consumers for about two months.

“The House voted 414-9 to pass H.R. 7791, a measure that would allow low-income women to purchase more baby formula through the federal Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program,” Fox News reported about the non-controversial bill.

“In a more partisan vote, 231-192, the House passed H.R. 7790, the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022. The bill provides $28 million in emergency appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the shortage of FDA-regulated infant formula and prevent further shortages, including efforts to ‘prevent fraudulent products from entering the United States market. Only 12 Republicans voted for H.R. 7790,'” the news outlet added.

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the GOP second-in-command in the chamber, advised his colleagues to vote no on H.R. 7790.

“He said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) proposed the legislation ‘in hopes of covering up the administration’s ineptitude by throwing additional money at the FDA with no plan to actually fix the problem, all while failing to hold the FDA accountable,” The Hill explained.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) defended the bill she sponsored, explaining, in part, that “We must ensure that a lack of funding is not a barrier to getting safe formula to parents and babies. The bill before us does just that.”

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the third-ranking House Republican as well as a new mom, previously said that she was alerting the Biden administration about the shortage since February, to no avail.

She has proposed her own bill that appears to contain more actionable, practical stipulations, although it is unlikely to gain traction with Pelosi holding the gavel.

“That bill would increase the supply of baby formula by lifting restrictions on the importation of infant formula and reducing barriers to innovation by new brands. The GOP bill would also establish oversight and accountability at the FDA to ensure that the agency can act quickly to maintain a healthy supply of baby formula in the future,” Fox News detailed.

As of last week, baby formula was reportedly 43 percent out of stock in America’s stores.

“Republicans said this week they would like to see the Agriculture Department spend existing funds to transport stocks of formula from areas where stocks are plentiful to the hardest-hit locations,” Bloomberg reported.

In the meantime, President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to respond to the shortage, which includes accessing necessary ingredients for manufacturers and speeding up the importation of infant formula with the assistance of the military.

The two pieces of legislation moved through the House roughly a week after U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) claimed that Border Patrol agents tipped her off that officials were stockpiling baby formula in warehouses for the benefit of illegal aliens coming across the border.

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