WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5) voted to support two measures to address the current baby formula shortage. The Access to Baby Formula Act, which passed the House 414-9, would provide flexibility to families who use the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) so that low-income families can continue purchasing safe infant formula with their WIC benefits during a crisis, such as a supply chain disruption. Nearly half of all infant formula is purchased using WIC benefits and 89 percent of WIC participants purchased formula from Abbott Nutrition, the manufacturing plant that closed and spurred the shortage crisis.
The House also passed a supplemental funding bill on a vote of 231-192 to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with urgently needed resources to help address the infant formula shortage, increase the number of FDA inspection staff, provide resources for personnel working on formula issues, help the agency stop fraudulent baby formula from entering the marketplace, and improve data collection on the formula market.
“The ability to feed your infant is absolutely critical not only to their health, but to the peace of mind of parents – my heart breaks for the families who can’t find the formula they need,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “Today, House Democrats took action to loosen WIC restrictions for buying formula and help the FDA end the current shortage. Our focus remains on addressing this crisis and helping meet families’ needs. There is nothing more critical than being able to feed your baby and that families can’t find the formula they need is an outrage.”