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Press Release Published: May 20, 2022

Cloud, Comer Push White House Chief of Staff on Infant Formula Shortage Crisis

Raise concerns the Biden Administration has been aware of crisis for months and failed to act

WASHINGTON — Today, Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Ranking Member Michael Cloud (R-Texas) and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, raising concerns about the Biden Administration’s failure to prevent the infant formula shortage crisis. The lawmakers request all communications between White House staff and employees at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the infant formula shortage crisis and a staff-level briefing to better understand how the Biden Administration let this happen in the first place.   

“We are writing today to examine the Biden Administration’s handling of the ongoing infant formula crisis. As you are well aware, the United States continues to experience a supply chain crisis. This crisis, which has caused problems with products from computer chips to personal protective equipment, began heavily impacting infant formula production and distribution in January 2022,” wrote the Republican lawmakers. “Parents are unable to find formula and experts continue to recommend against making formula at home, leaving parents scrambling to feed their young children.” 

In January 2022, infant formula was 23 percent out of stock. It is now averaging about 43 percent out of stock nationwide, with some states reporting as much as 50 percent out of stock. The FDA is working with Abbott Nutrition—the company that recalled a significant amount of formula in February 2022 due to what was believed at the time to be factory contamination—to safely resume production. The FDA reached an agreement with Abbott to reopen the plant, but it will take about two weeks to reopen the site and another six to eight weeks before products are available on shelves across the country. 

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said that ‘FDA has kept [him] apprised of this from last year.’ It is unacceptable that the Administration knew about the potential problem for months yet made no plan to address or prevent this crisis. The Administration invoked the Defense Production Act and is trying to throw money at the problem—neither of which will do anything to restock shelves for panicked parents right now. Unfortunately, this is another example of the Administration acting too little too late,” continued the Republican lawmakers.  

Read the full letter here