May 18, 2022
Pressley, Bowman, Jayapal, Meng Call for Urgent Executive Action on Baby Formula Shortage
WASHINGTON – In a letter today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D. (NY-16), along with Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Grace Meng (NY-06), urged President Biden to use all applicable executive authorities to end the baby formula shortage.
“Our nation’s greatest wealth is the health of our people, and today we call for protecting the health of our youngest – our babies. President Biden must use the full weight of the presidency to end the baby formula shortage so families can provide the sustenance necessary for the growth and survival of their infants,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “Our families, especially those in the Commonwealth, have been hit hard by the extreme baby formula shortage and need a reliable, safe, and affordable supply now. We have an infant hunger crisis looming and a whole of government response is required. I thank the President for his swift action, and we must continue to build on these efforts and work together to use every tool we have at the federal level.”
“In a country with innumerable resources available, our babies and anyone who relies on specialty powdered formula to meet their nutritional needs should never go without,” said Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D (NY-16). “We are experiencing a severe and nationwide baby formula shortage due to Abbott Nutrition’s corporate greed that prioritized profits over people. Abbott Nutrition and only three other powdered formula makers combined account for nearly 90% of the formula available across the country. President Biden must use every power available to him to work across his Administration, with the FDA and beyond to end this shortage now and to prevent a near monopoly such as this one from creating another crisis in the future. This includes his ability to utilize existing authority under the Defense Production Act and the recently renewed Public Health Emergency for COVID-19. Parents and caregivers’ hands are tied when the grocery store shelves are empty and the cost of the limited formula available is skyrocketing. We are forcing our babies to go without or receive less than the nutrition they need at a time when their bodies and brains are rapidly developing. We have too much at stake to risk this happening again, which is why we need the FTC to conduct a wide-ranging study of the infant formula market and for the Biden Administration to create and enforce regulations that better protect us and our babies from corporate greed. Who we are as a nation is defined by our ability to provide and take care of the most vulnerable, who are undoubtedly our babies. They need their formula and they need it now.”
“No family should have to scramble to find formula for their babies. Our youngest and most vulnerable deserve to have their needs met,” said Congresswoman Jayapal (WA-07). “We need to address this crisis, and we need to address it now. The formula shortage has disproportionately impacted our low-income families, and our Black and Brown parents. Lives of millions of babies are in danger right now. I urge the President to use all the tools we have at our disposal to get formula back on the shelves, get our most vulnerable fed, and ensure this never happens again.”
“Families not having access to safe and affordable baby formula is a national emergency which is why we are asking the President to immediately take action to address this vital problem,” said Congresswoman Meng (NY-06). “The shortage has left parents scrambling, not knowing where to turn to obtain the formula they need. For millions of families, formula is crucial for the development of their children. Without it, we put the health of babies at risk. That’s why the President must mobilize all available resources to end this shortage. I await the President’s reply to our letter.”
Rep. Pressley serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which recently requested information from the nation’s largest formula manufacturers on their efforts to address the shortage of infant formula that is impacting families across the United States.
Rep. Pressley, along with Rep. Lori Trahan (MA-03), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05) and the Massachusetts delegation, sent a letter to Abbott Laboratories Chairman and CEO Robert Ford requesting urgent information on the company’s plans to replenish its Similac baby formula in Massachusetts.
A copy of the letter can be accessed here.