Brunswick Beacon, 05.26.22
Last Sunday, the first US military C-17 cargo plane authorized by President Biden touched down in Indianapolis carrying 39 tons of baby formula from Europe. Much more is coming. Later that day, I got an email from Congressman David Rouzer trying to explain why he refused to spend $28 million to feed our babies.
President Biden authorized Operation Fly Formula to fill the shortage created when Abbott Laboratories, with 48% of the formula market, shut down production after contamination in its factory caused four infants to develop bacterial infections. Two died, and Abbott’s CEO issued an apology “to every family we’ve let down.”
Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act to require suppliers of formula manufacturers to fill orders from those companies before other customers, which will speed up production.
The same day Biden issued his order, Congress passed H.R. 7790, providing $28 million in “emergency supplemental appropriations to address the shortage of infant formula in the United States.” Rouzer and 191 other Republican representatives voted “No.” Rouzer said he voted “No” because the bill “threw money” at the problem.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been underfunded for years. It only has nine people to inspect every infant formula production plant in the country. Nine! With enough inspectors, Abbott’s shutdown and the current shortage might have been avoided. Still, Rouzer voted against spending to help the FDA complete inspections needed to bring Abbott’s production back online.
That, in a nutshell, is the problem with Rouzer and Republicans. They talk a lot about “family values” and “protecting life”, but when it comes to spending actual money to do it, they refuse.
Whenever you hear Rouzer and Republicans talk about cutting back on federal regulation, remember this infant formula shortage and think about how they refused to spend $28 million to feed our babies.