WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member, along with Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Hoeven (R-ND), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tina Smith (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), announced bipartisan and bicameral legislation to address the baby formula shortage for families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The Access to Baby Formula Act has a companion House bill introduced by Representatives Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Michelle Steel (R-CA).
The WIC program provides information on healthy eating and helps millions of families buy nutritious foods including baby formula. This legislation gives the USDA the authority they need to be more flexible during a crisis such as a natural disaster, public health emergency, or recall and shortage currently facing our country. This flexibility would ensure that the brand or type of formula families can buy isn’t restricted by program rules, allowing families to purchase whatever is available in the store. In addition, the legislation would require that formula manufacturers that provide formula for WIC babies have a plan in place to respond to a shortage so that families will be able to purchase the formula they need.
“This is an extremely stressful time for parents who are being forced to search high and low to find baby formula, “ said Senator Stabenow. “Almost half of all babies born in the U.S. rely on the WIC program. That’s why I’m leading this bipartisan effort with Senator Boozman and Senate and House colleagues to address this shortage as quickly as possible. We must do everything we can to ensure our families have what they need to keep their children healthy and fed.”
“Moms and dads in the most prosperous country on earth should never have to worry about their ability to obtain something as vital as baby formula. This legislation will benefit every American family by ensuring formula manufacturers and regulators are always prepared to respond to any shortages or supply disruptions and by providing more flexibilities to USDA and states in helping parents meet their children’s nutritional needs,” said Senator Boozman.
The Access to Baby Formula Act is supported by more than 250 national, regional, and local child nutrition advocates.