WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Access to Baby Formula Act into law today, helping to ensure moms and babies who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have the formula they need amid the ongoing shortage. The bill from Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and John Boozman (R-AR), the Committee’s Ranking Member, unanimously passed the Senate on May 19 after an overwhelming 414-9 vote in the House of Representatives.
“This law helps parents get their babies the formula they need by making sure there is never a delay in getting help out the door; and it will hold baby formula manufacturers accountable if they want to do business with the USDA,” said Senator Stabenow. “I’m proud of my colleagues for coming together so quickly to take action addressing this emergency.”
“There is an urgent need to help families struggling to find baby formula. Signing this bill into law is critical to ensuring formula manufacturers and regulators are always prepared to respond to any shortages or supply disruptions and providing more flexibilities to USDA and states to help parents meet their children’s nutritional needs,” said Senator Boozman.
The WIC program provides information on healthy eating and helps millions of families buy nutritious foods including baby formula. This law 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 ensures 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 law requires 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.
The Access to Baby Formula Act is supported by more than 250 national, regional, and local child nutrition advocates.
The bill is cosponsored by 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), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rob Portman (R-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).