Several U.S. senators introduced a new bill Monday called the “Urgently Feeding America’s Babies Act,” which would direct President Joe Biden and his administration to invoke the Defense Production Act in response to the ongoing baby formula shortage.
According to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who helped introduce the bill alongside Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; and Alex Padilla, D-Calif., the bill will hopefully establish a process to bring in more European-produced baby formula and ease the shortage.
“The crisis is putting the lives of America’s babies in jeopardy,” Rubio said. “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.”
The bill has both Republican and Democratic sponsors — a fact that sponsors have discussed publicly.
“This commonsense, bipartisan bill will help increase the availability of baby formula, and I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation quickly,” Hassan said. “I will also keep pushing manufacturers and the administration to increase supply as fast as possible.”
Scott said the shortage represents a “kick while they’re down” to families already suffering from inflation.
According to Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., production stateside is also a concern.
“More than 40% of our country’s most popular infant formulas (are) out of stock,” he said. “We need to use every tool at our disposal to ramp up domestic production as quickly as possible.”
The bill — if passed — would direct the president to designate baby formula as a “scarce and critical material.”