House Republicans demand answers from Biden administration on baby formula shortage
GOP lawmakers say the White House has not done enough to address the crisis
House Republicans held a press conference Thursday demanding answers from the Biden administration on what it is doing to address the ongoing nationwide baby formula shortage, accusing the White House of not taking the crisis seriously.
"We are asking the questions, we've been raising the alarm to President Biden for months," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "We've been seeing the empty shelves, we've been seeing the rising cost on families."
"We also have concerns about the Abbott recall and how it is impacting shortages," McMorris Rodgers continued. "On behalf of every parent and caregiver who is unsure as to whether they will be able to feed their children, we need answers and we need accountability."
TARGET, CVS, WALGREENS IMPOSE BABY FORMULA PURCHASING LIMITS DUE TO SHORTAGE
The Biden administration and particularly the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is facing increasing pressure to take urgent action regarding the shortage, which escalated in recent months following recalls and the shutdown of a major infant formula manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan, owned by Abbott Nutrition.
The facility was closed in February and the company issued recalls of certain products amid an FDA investigation, after complaints that four infants became sick from bacterial infections after consuming formula made at the plant. Two of the babies died.
Abbott says that after reviewing both internal and FDA test data, there is no evidence linking the babies' illnesses to their formulas.
Now, the situation is in limbo while Abbott works to make upgrades to the plant in order to meet the FDA's recommendations. The FDA says the Michigan plant remains voluntarily closed by Abbott, and the company says it can have products from the facility back on store shelves after a few months once the FDA signs off on them doing so.
BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE HITS ‘CRISIS’ LEVEL, SPARKING PANIC IN PARENTS ACROSS US
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., announced Wednesday that his panel will hold a hearing regarding the formula shortage, saying in a statement that the national shortages "are increasingly alarming and demand Congress' immediate attention." The hearing has been set for May 25, and Republicans say action is needed sooner than that.
"House Democrats' plan is to have a hearing two weeks from now," Republican House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik said during the press conference Thursday. "I can tell you as a new mom, families and moms and dads and babies can't wait two weeks. It needs to be happening now."
"This administration should be looking at everything and anything," the congresswoman said, taking aim at the White House. "We have heard absolutely nothing."
"We're talking about the President of the United States who simply doesn't care, whose only statement from his administration has been laughter in the face of mothers and fathers," she added.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
Incoming White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday that the administration is working "24/7" to address the formula shortage but could not name a point person in charge of the response.
According to an administration official, President Biden is set to meet with formula manufacturers on Thursday, after which the White House will announce additional actions it is taking to address this issue.
FOX News' Anders Hagstrom and FOX Business' Daniella Genovese contributed to this story.