WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As desperate parents scramble to find baby formula amid a nationwide shortage, President Joe Biden and other lawmakers say they are working on the issue.
Formula is one of many products impacted by supply chain issues, which only got worse when the FDA shut down a manufacturing plant in Michigan because of contamination concerns.
Republicans like Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York say President Biden is to blame.
“I cannot think of a more harrowing, panicked crisis for parents to face,” Stefanik said. “Should have had a plan for this shortage months ago. Instead, bare-shelves Biden continues to pass the buck.”
Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia says the shortage is separate from other supply issues and thinks it shouldn’t be made into a political talking point.
“The ability to feed children across the United States is not one that should become such a partisan polarized issue,” Spanberger said.
President Biden is taking steps to try to address the shortage by cutting red tape for manufacturers, increasing foreign imports and calling on the FTC and state attorneys general to crack down on price gouging.
“So our message to parents is – we hear you, we want to do everything we can and we are going to cut every element of red tape to help address this and make it better,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Bipartisan calls are growing for the president to go further by using the Defense Production Act.
“Should not be afraid to invoke the DPA to ensure that we can protect the health, nutrition and ability to eat of our nation’s babies and children,” Spanberger said.
The White House says that’s still on the table. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says both lawmakers and the president are focused on finding an immediate fix.
“Right now the baby is crying, the baby is hungry. We need to address it right now and I think we have good focus on it,” Pelosi said.
When asked how long the shortage will last, a White House official said they really don’t have a timeline for when supply could improve.