U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) this week continued her efforts to mitigate the dangerous shortage of infant formula in the United States.
First, Murkowski joined her colleagues in sponsoring the bipartisan Access to Baby Formula Act (S. 4257), and helped ensure the House companion (H.R. 7791) passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
The bill provides the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with statutory authority to give states, grocery stores, and mothers the tools they need under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to deal with this national shortage now, while also requiring infant formula manufacturers to have plans in place to respond to any future shortages in a timely and effective manner.
“The baby formula shortage is something that should never have occurred, and it threatens the safety of children in every community in Alaska and across the country. Yesterday, I cosponsored legislation that will help over one million American moms who rely on the WIC program to purchase infant formula for their babies,” Senator Murkowski said. “In rural communities across Alaska, it is already difficult for some families to find or afford baby formula. Low-income moms need to be able to use their WIC benefits to purchase what formula is available without having to jump through government hoops. And both manufacturers and federal agencies must be better prepared to deal with problems more effectively in the future. As we send this bill to the President’s desk, I stand ready to take any steps necessary to ensure babies in Alaska and across the country have access to the nutrition they need.”
Murkowski also joined 22 of her Republican colleagues on a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, asking for answers regarding the FDA’s failure to mitigate this shortage and urging action to resolve it.
“The infant formula shortage is unacceptable and dangerous, and needs to be addressed immediately. At a time when families are already struggling with out-of-control inflation and record-high gas prices, the last thing a parent needs is to find store shelves empty of infant formula,” Senator Murkowski said. “I’m incredibly worried that parents can’t find safe alternatives, and I’m calling upon the FDA to quickly act to remedy the situation. This week, my colleagues and I sent a letter demanding answers on how inspection delays and inaction from the administration may have exacerbated the shortage.”