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Biden Invokes Defense Production Act for Baby Formula Shortage

    Biden Invokes Defense Production Act for Baby Formula Shortage
    Last updated: 6 months ago
    Image credit: AP Photo [via Snopes]

    Facts

    • On Wed., Pres. Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) in an effort to increase the production of baby formula amid a nationwide shortage. [1]
    • The DPA was first enacted to avoid wartime shortages and requires companies to enter into contracts to produce materials deemed necessary for national defense. [2]
    • The order directs suppliers of formula ingredients to prioritize companies that manufacture infant formula. It also authorizes the Department of Defense (DOD) to use its aircraft to import formula. [3]
    • The DOD will speed up the importing of formula by using contracts with air cargo lines to bypass usual freight routers. [3]
    • The baby formula shortage was exacerbated in Feb. when Abbott Nutrition recalled formula due to potential contamination. The company has since reached a deal with the FDA to reopen its plant in Sturgis, Mich., and resume production.
    • Following Biden's decision, the House passed legislation to give the FDA $28M to hire staff to ensure the quality of new formula. It also passed a separate bill that would allow people buying formula through the federally funded WIC program to switch brands during shortages. [4]
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    Spin

    Democratic narrative

    Biden's recent actions show that his administration is taking the baby formula shortage seriously and treating it like the crisis that it is. Enacting the DPA, approving funding, and reopening Abbott's Michigan plant will all work together to help families get through the worst of this shortage.

    Republican narrative

    The decision to invoke the DPA is little more than a poor attempt of keeping up appearances. It won't actually solve the problem because the crisis is due to a lack of inventory and production capacity, not a lack of ingredients. As for flying in supply, the planes won't be able to import enough formula to justify the expense. Biden and the Democrats continue to fumble this issue.

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