House spends $28 million in emergency funding to address formula shortage

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The bills were introduced by House Democrats and their fate is uncertain in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated Wednesday that lawmakers will try to push something through the Senate through a request for unanimous consent, which could be blocked by a single senator’s objection.

“We hope nobody blocks it, it’s such an immediate need,” Schumer said.

The formula shortage is putting the Biden administration and Congress under pressure as American families demand answers and a solution to the shortage.

One of the bills passed by the House on Wednesday night – HR 7790 – would provide $28 million in emergency funding to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help ease the current deficit and avoid future shortages. The bill was approved by a count of 231 to 192.

The emergency funding would be used to increase the number of FDA inspectors, provide resources for staff working on formula issues, help the agency prevent fraudulent infant formula from entering the U.S. market, and improve the collection of data on the preparations market, according to a press release. of the House Appropriations Committee.
“This bill is the first step to help restock the shelves and end this shortage,” said House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who introduced the bill, in a statement. communicated.

“Parents and caregivers across the country can’t wait – they need our support now. This bill takes important steps to restore the supply in a safe and secure way. What’s more, with these funds, the FDA will be able to help prevent this problem from happening again,” she said.

The House also passed HR 7791 – the Baby Formula Access Act – introduced by Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut. The final tally was 414 to 9.

The bill aims to ensure that families in need can continue to purchase infant formula with WIC benefits during a public health emergency or supply chain issues such as a product recall. WIC refers to the federal assistance program known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

The measure seeks to achieve that goal by allowing the Department of Agriculture to waive certain requirements related to the benefits package, according to a House Education and Labor Committee fact sheet.

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it was making it easier to import certain infant formulas as part of its fight against nationwide shortages.

The United States typically produces 98% of the infant formula it uses, with imported formula coming mainly from Mexico, Ireland and the Netherlands, the agency said in a statement. But because of the shortage, the FDA describes a process by which it “would not object to the importation of certain infant formula intended for a foreign market”, as well as the distribution in the United States of products manufactured in the country for export. to other countries.

This story was updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

CNN’s Ali Zaslav and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.

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