I wanted to know how families like mine would keep their babies alive and healthy. The answers were few.
Fortunately, the Defense Production Act is now engaged, with the Biden administration directing firms to prioritize getting key ingredients to baby formula producers. Some formula is coming in from overseas. Congress has also expanded the Women Infant and Children’s program (WIC) to cover more formula brands.
But with the global supply chain still kinked up, these measures will only go so far. Unfortunately, some of our elected officials are standing in the way of help.
The House of Representatives just passed a bill to create a $28 million emergency fund to assist the FDA in increasing formula capacity. Stunningly, nearly 200 House Republicans voted against it — and Senate Republicans have signaled they may block it.
Voting against baby formula? This is an outrage. These lawmakers say they’re pro-life. To truly be pro-life, we must be concerned with feeding innocent children and helping struggling families.
My family has some privilege — we have full-time jobs, reliable child care, and a supportive network. In spite of all those advantages, we have just two weeks of food for our baby. My heart aches for families with far fewer resources.
This is part of a broader, systemic problem of our policymakers underinvesting in families. The proposed Build Back Better Act would have provided much more support for families with kids, but 50 Senate Republicans, plus Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, dumped that like it was spoiled milk.
This crisis — which has literally taken food from the mouth of my baby — has awakened a passion in me. It’s made me realize that we can’t be silent anymore. We must call out these lawmakers who won’t stand up for families — and tell them we’ll find new ones if they don’t.