Baby Blues

Amid baby formula shortages nationwide, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing tomorrow on “Formula Safety and Supply: Protecting the Health of America’s Babies.”

The hearing comes a week after the House and Senate passed a bill aimed at easing the impacts of the baby formula shortage for families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) by allowing flexibility for participants to purchase whatever brand is available. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture urged states to take advantage of the flexibility to help families access formula. WIC is ”by far the largest purchaser of formula in the U.S.,” according to POLITICO

President Biden on Wednesday also invoked the Defense Production Act to address the baby formula shortage. The New York Times reports the action would create “Operation Fly Formula” to deploy Defense Department planes and speed formula shipments into the United States from overseas.

Lawmakers are also considering boosting staffing at the Food and Drug Administration with a $28 million emergency spending bill, which has passed the House but faces uncertain prospects in the Senate.  

Earlier in the week, Abbott Nutrition announced it had reached a deal with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fix safety issues and reopen its Sturgis, Mich., factory that has been closed for more than three months. The company cautioned it could still take months to get formula back on the store shelves. 

Meanwhile, infants remain one of the only groups not approved for a COVID vaccine