Press Releases

DelBene Highlights Two Laws She Recently Passed to Help Parents Through Baby Formula Shortage

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ARLINGTON, WA, October 20, 2022 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) hosted a roundtable discussion on her efforts to address the ongoing nationwide baby formula shortage at the Volunteers of America Western Washington’s Food Distribution Center, which serves families across Snohomish County. DelBene met with facility staff, parents, and other organizations working with new parents to hear about the needs in the community. She highlighted two laws she recently championed through Congress and the Biden administration’s actions to help families during this challenging time.

While the formula shortage has eased slightly from its 86% out-of-stock rate high in May, 61% of store shelves nationally were still out of stock at the end of August. In Washington state, 67% of store shelves were out of stock.

“Our discussion today underscores to the importance of our ongoing work to refill formula shelves and provide parents the confidence that those shelves will stay stocked with affordable, safe baby formula. The two laws that I sponsored received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and are helping get formula back in stores, but we need to ramp up our domestic production,” said DelBene. “Facilities like the Volunteers of America Western Washington’s Food Distribution Center are filling a critical need in our community, and I thank them for their efforts.”

“Congresswoman DelBene is a tireless advocate for families and children, and her determination to tackle a critical issue like the shortage of safe, affordable baby formula is another example of her leadership. As we work together to ease the burden faced by struggling families, we are so grateful for her continued support of VOAWW and the communities we serve” said Steve Corsi, President/CEO, Volunteers of America Western Washington.

The two laws that DelBene sponsored are the Formula Act (H.R. 8351), which lifted tariffs on safe imported formula to boost supply and is currently providing parents discounts of up to 27% on these products at checkout, and the Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act (H.R. 8982), which lifted tariffs on imported ‘base-powder,’ a key ingredient to produce baby formula, to help increase domestic production. Both laws were passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed by President Biden. They both temporarily lift tariffs until the end of December and add to our overall federal response while our domestic production ramps back up after the closure of the Abbott formula facility in Sturgis, MI.

The Biden administration has also acted to boost formula supply. For example, in May, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would allow greater flexibility for the importation of foreign formula that meets the agency’s safety standards. The administration also launched Operation Fly Formula to speed up the importation of formula. As of September 29, Operation Fly Formula has transported nearly 98 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents to the U.S.

More information about the Formula Act can be found here and more information about the Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act can be found here. More information on the Biden administration’s efforts can be found here.

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