There is a shortage of baby formula in the U.S. The spotty availability and rationing at stores is generally attributed to lingering supply chain issues and by a huge recall of several formula brands by Abbott Nutrition, after the Food and Drug Administration tied two infant deaths to potentially contaminated formula produced at its Sturgis, Michigan, plant.
Washington is scrambling to do something about the shortage. President Biden on Thursday spoke with formula manufacturers and large national retailers to get an update on the formula situation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. "We're going to do everything we can to cut red tape and take steps to increase supply." The White House also said it is cracking down on price gouging and working on importing formula from Ireland, the Netherlands, Chile, and Mexico.
Democrats in Congress demanded answers about the FDA's response and whether Abbott tried to hide safety problems at its Sturgis plant. A handful of House Republicans demanded Tuesday that the U.S. redirect money earmarked for Ukraine toward fixing the baby formula shortage.
And Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) made waves Thursday, tweeting that the U.S. government is "sending pallets, pallets of baby formula to the border" while grocery stores are bare, posting a photo of a half-stocked grocery store shelf next to a picture she says a concerned Texas border agent sent her of a shelf of baby formula in between two shelves of apple sauce pouches.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) piled on: "While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in a panic, the Biden administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border."
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler rolled his eyes at this "ridiculous faux outrage," explaining that Biden is obligated by law — the Flores consent decree governing child migrants and the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, mostly — to feed child migrants in U.S. custody.
Former President Donald Trump "was no fan of Flores. He tried to get rid of it but was blocked by the courts. So he followed the law, too," Kessler said. "The shortage of baby formula is a serious issue," but "anyone who suggests this is the result of specific Biden policies, i.e., his 'reckless, out-of-touch priorities,' earns Four Pinocchios."