July 5, 2022

SHAME: 192 House Republicans Vote Against Funding for Baby Formula

SHAME: 192 House Republicans Vote Against Funding for Baby Formula

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Despite their performative outrage, 192 Republicans voted against $28 million to address the baby formula shortage in America.

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills to address this nationwide shortage. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) sponsored the main piece of legislation seeking to help Americans struggling to find baby formula to purchase. Her bill to prevent future contamination of this critical commodity, the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed the House in a 231-192 vote.

Only 12 Republicans decided to buck their leadership and support the legislation.

That left the other 192 Republicans to vote against $28 million to help get the formula to parents of babies.

It’s striking to see Republicans vote down funds to address the baby formula shortage right after celebrating the Supreme Court leak signaling the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the rollback of 50 years of reproductive rights in large parts of this country.

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It appears that Republican concerns for human life start at conception and end at birth.

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The recent shortage of baby formula rooted in a product recall by Abbott Nutrition, one of the largest manufacturers of baby food in America that acts as a duopoly, has Republicans feigning outrage.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) sent out a memo on Wednesday urging GOP members to vote “no” on the bill stating opposition to throwing “additional money at the FDA.” His letter totally neglects the reality of the federal government’s critical involvement in food safety regulation.

This is not the first time that Republicans have thrown parents and their children under the bus for the sake of politics. Earlier this year, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the extension of federal waivers allowing schools to offer universal free lunches throughout the pandemic, in a move that sought to deny millions of children no-cost meals.

“The FDA plays a critical role in ensuring formula provides the full nutritional needs of infants and that it is manufactured in the safest way possible. We must ensure that a lack of funding is not a barrier to getting safe formulas for parents and babies. The bill before us does just that,” Rep. DeLauro said during debate on the House floor.

That bill would give $28 million in emergency funding to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen inspections of formula manufacturers’ current supplies of the vital nutritional mixture and ensure the agency is prepared to deal with any future supply chain disruptions.

DeLauro’s bill will now move to the U.S. Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. Senate Republicans have signaled they are wary of investing money towards addressing the formula shortage.

The other bill that addressed the formula shortage did pass in a mostly bipartisan vote, with 414 voting in favor and nine members, all Republicans, voting against.

It permanently loosens restrictions on the types of formula available for purchase to people in the federal low-income assistance program for women, children, and infants.

The Biden administration announced new actions to alleviate the shortage of formula this week.

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Presidential actions include invoking the Defense Production Act, which will allow the government to direct suppliers of formula ingredients to prioritize delivery to the manufacturers of formula and directing the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture to utilize the Defense Department’s commercial planes to import formula from abroad.

Here is the complete list of all 192 Republicans who voted against the $28 million to address the formula shortage.

Thomas Kennedy is an elected Democratic National Committee member representing Florida. He tweets from @tomaskenn.

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Thomas Kennedy

is a reported opinion columnist and roving correspondent. He's an elected member of the Democratic National Committee from Florida and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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