DelBene, Ways & Means Members Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Parents Have Access to Affordable Baby Formula
Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), John Larson (CT-01), and Dan Kildee (MI-05) introduced the Affordable and Accessible Infant Formula Act in response to critical infant formula shortages nationwide.
At the end of May, Washington was one of ten states where the out-of-stock rate was higher than 90%, with nationwide rates at 74%. As the U.S. faces a worsening infant formula shortage, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has acted swiftly to allow safe formula to be imported from more trusted partners around the world. However, substantial tariffs remain on formula imported from many of these countries, increasing the consumer cost of formula by 27% on average. The Affordable and Accessible Infant Formula Act would temporarily suspend these tariffs until November 14, 2022 to lower prices for families that are struggling to feed their children.
“The baby formula crisis underscores the fragility of our supply chains when there is intense industry consolidation. Washington state in particular has felt the brunt of the formula shortage with parents facing empty shelves earlier and more acutely than other states. Parents should never struggle to feed their kids,” said DelBene. “The legislation we are introducing today can help alleviate this crisis by lowering the price of imported baby formula from safe and trusted partners abroad while our domestic production catches up.”
“Suspending tariffs on the importation of infant formula and relieving parents of steep price increases is a critical step to ending the infant formula shortage,” said Blumenauer. “This crisis requires a whole of government response. The Biden Administration has taken important steps to increase supply and I applaud the FDA’s actions to import more formula. Now Congress must act to temporarily remove tariff barriers so families can access affordable formula.”
“It is heartbreaking to hear what families are going through during this shortage,” said Larson. “We must do everything we can right now to increase our supply of infant formula and ensure these families get what they need. I’m proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues to temporarily reduce trade barriers for infant formula, increasing access and reducing costs.”
“As a parent, I understand the anxiety of parents struggling to find formula for their newborns. Because of a major company product recall and pandemic-related supply chain issues, our nation’s supply of infant formula continues to be impacted. The federal government is taking unprecedented action to increase infant formula supplies, including my legislation to ensure infant formula is more affordable for working families in mid-Michigan,” said Kildee.
Other original cosponsors of the legislation include Adrian Smith (NE-03), Terri Sewell (AL-07), Brad Schneider (IL-10), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20).
A one-page summary of this legislation can be found here.