Office of Rep. Derek Kilmer announcement.
On May 18, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted in favor of two bills that aim to improve families’ access to infant formula, ensure every baby has the nutrition they need to live and develop, and prevent this crisis from potentially happening again.
“As a dad, I know how important it is to ensure your kids have what they need to live healthy lives. Simply put – the baby formula shortage in our country today is unacceptable,” said Rep. Kilmer. “That’s why I supported two critical bills to help ensure that we cut red tape, get shelves restocked, and ensure parents and caretakers can access the nutrition resources they need to care for their kids.”
Rep. Kilmer voted to support a supplemental funding bill that provides the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urgently needed resources to help address the infant formula shortage, increase the number of FDA inspection staff, provide resources for personnel working on formula issues, help the agency stop fraudulent baby formula from entering the marketplace, and improve data collection on the formula market.
The infant formula shortage has taken an especially dangerous toll on vulnerable women and children who use Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits to purchase baby formula. In fact, nearly half of all infant formula is purchased using WIC benefits and 89 percent of WIC participants purchased formula from Abbott Nutrition—the manufacturing plant that closed and spurred the shortage crisis.
In response, Rep. Kilmer voted to support the Access to Baby Formula Act, legislation he co-sponsored to provide more flexibility so that low-income families can continue purchasing safe infant formula with their WIC benefits during a crisis, such as a supply chain disruption.
In addition, yesterday, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to help ensure that manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe, healthy infant formula here at home. The DPA empowers the federal government to require suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.
President Biden also announced Operation Fly Formula to speed up the import of infant formula and start getting more formula to stores as soon as possible. Under Operation Fly Formula, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will use the Department of Defense commercial aircraft to pick up overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards, so it can get to store shelves faster
In February 2022, an Abbott Nutrition facility recalled several infant formula products (including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to consumers not to use these recalled products.