- Nine Republicans voted against a bill that would help poor families buy baby formula.
- The bill is a measure that expands on a federal program to help low-income women and children.
- Separately, 192 Republicans voted no on a bill to staff up the FDA to help manage formula supply.
Nine Republicans voted against a bill in Congress that would help lower-income women secure baby formula for their children.
Many Republicans crossed party lines to vote for HR 7791, the Access to Baby Formula Act, which passed the House on Wednesday with 414 “yes” votes. However, the bill — which comes amid a crisis where parents are struggling to procure baby formula for their children — was voted down by nine Republican lawmakers.
The “no” votes were cast by GOP Reps. Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Thomas Massie, Clay Higgins, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene. The bill now goes to a vote in the Senate.
Rep. Jahana Hayes introduced HR 7791 by saying it would help families using benefits under the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program access more baby formula. This supplemental nutrition program for poorer women does limit the kinds of baby formula brands that WIC recipients can purchase, though the bill aims to resolve these limits. The bill also requires that formula manufacturers put in place contingencies to prevent supply disruptions.
“I have heard directly from constituents who are searching for formula to no avail, and we are actively seeing the consequences of an essential service throttled by a monopoly industry during a time of unprecedented supply chain challenges,” Hayes said in a press release.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced a second bill that was voted on in the same session, meant to address the ongoing baby formula crisis in the form of increased funding for the Food and Drug Administration. HR 7790 proposed a $28 million cash infusion to help the FDA address the current formula shortage and prevent future supply chain issues. DeLauro told NBC before the vote that most of the cash in her legislation would go to staffing up the FDA and bolstering its inspection force.
According to The Hill, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise urged Republican members to vote no on HR 7790, arguing that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing the bill forward “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 House vote on both bills came several hours after President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act, using the 1950 law to boost the supply of formula from US manufacturers.
The US is still facing staggering issues with baby formula supplies, with the backlog having been induced by pandemic supply chain snags and a recent recall of Abbott products. Brands including Target, Walgreens, and CVS have begun rationing purchase quantities, and nationwide shortages continue to plague parents.