HealthDay News — Faced with mounting pressure to help desperate parents, President Joe Biden on Wednesday invoked the power of the wartime Defense Production Act to get more infant formula into American homes.
Under the new powers, the federal government can use commercial aircraft or air cargo planes owned by the Defense Department to transport infant formula from countries abroad and fly it into the United States, getting it more rapidly onto store shelves. The move comes 2 days after the US Food and Drug Administration announced that it was also expediting the approvals process so that foreign suppliers of baby formula could quickly get their products into the United States.
“I know parents all across the country are worried about finding enough infant formula to feed their babies — as a parent and as a grandparent, I know just how stressful that is,” Biden said in a video posted on Twitter. He said he was ordering his administration “to do everything possible to ensure there’s enough safe baby formula and that it’s quickly reaching families that need it the most.”
As the crisis around baby formula has steadily worsened, Biden has faced increasing political pressure from within his own party to fix the problem, according to The New York Times. Many Democrats have pressed Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act as one lever he could use to quickly boost supply.
In another move underway Wednesday evening, the House was expected to approve bipartisan legislation that would grant the federal government emergency authority to broaden the types of formula that can be purchased using benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, The Times said.
About half the formula purchased in the nation is paid for through WIC. Allowing parents to use the benefits to purchase all types of formula is a move that is expected to gain bipartisan support.