Over the past few weeks, many of you have reached out to me via email, called my office, or left comments on Facebook sharing your concerns about the current baby formula shortage, so I wanted to take a minute today to let you know that I’ve seen and heard your messages, and to give you an update on what we’re doing to solve it.
For those who don’t know, this crisis was caused, at least in large part, by concerns of possible contamination at a factory in Michigan. This led the facility — which produces a significant portion of the nation’s baby formula supply — to shut down operations while it investigated. While it’s incumbent upon companies to comply with health and safety regulations and best practices, we simply have to do better in addressing any potential health and safety issues before we reach the point of major recalls that can threaten supply chains and jeopardize the well-being of the American people.
Earlier this week, I called on President Biden to assign a coordinator within the White House to oversee a whole-of-government response to this crisis and to develop a national strategy to ensure that this never happens again.
I was also pleased to see the President take decisive action this week by invoking the Defense Production Act to kickstart domestic production of baby formula, as well as speed up the import of formula from abroad.
I realize that this shortage is especially hard on low-income families, so I am glad that the Senate was able to quickly pass the Access to Baby Formula Act this week. This legislation will remove barriers for low-income families who rely on the WIC program that will make it easier for them to access any available baby formula during this or any other future crisis.
Still, more help is needed, and I’m outraged that Republicans in Congress are standing in the way. 192 House Republicans voted against another bill to assist the FDA in getting more baby formula on store shelves. Although the bill ultimately passed the House, it faces an uncertain future in the Senate because Republicans may try to block it.
Republicans are playing politics at the expense of young children, just to score political points against the President. Still, I assure you that we are doing everything in our power to bring an end to this crisis. In the coming days, you should start to see the results of our actions in your local grocery stores, and more help is on the way.
In the meantime, Governor Murphy has put together a list of additional resources at nj.gov/babyformula to help parents of young children navigate this tough time.
During this difficult time, nothing is more important to me and my staff than the safety and well-being of every New Jersey family, especially those with newborns and small children feeling the brunt of this crisis. Know that I’ve got your back!