Two Republicans were the only opposition to a measure that would suspend tariffs for baby formula as America struggles through a shortage.
The newly proposed Formula Act passed the house in a bipartisan 421-2 vote, intending to provide relief for new parents as America’s baby formula shortage begins to drag into multiple months.
Representatives Rick Allen, R-Ga., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, were the only two representatives to vote against the bill.
Gohmert argued in a speech in which he touched on the Formula Act that the legislation was “thrown upon” House Republicans, arguing it was rushed to the fore without time to think about it.
“It seems like this bill was a rush to get done without properly considering what this would mean,” he said.
Gohmert had previously voted against other baby formula related bills. He was one of nine republicans who opposed the Access to Baby Formula Act, which passed 414-9. The legislation passed through the Senate and was signed into law by President Biden. It permanently eased restrictions on the types of baby formula that people who are part of the federal low-income assistance program for women, children and infants are able to purchase.
“It’s rare that we have unanimity in the Senate on important measures, and I wish we had more. But this is one of those important issues, and I am glad we are acting with one voice,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said at the time.
The other bill was blocked by Republicans after being opposed by all present. The Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act would have given $28 million in emergency funds to the Food and Drug Administration to address the baby formula shortage.
While media coverage has largely forgotten the baby formula shortage, the crisis is still ongoing. The Wall Street Journal reported that 30% of powdered formula products were out of stock as of July 3. The research also showed that shortages were most acute in Alaska, Utah and Wyoming.
The scarcity isn’t helped by the closure of the Abbott Nutrition factory, which closed its doors after four babies who consumed formula from the facility were hospitalized after developing rare bacterial infections. However, the plant resumed operation earlier this month, which may help relieve the tension on many new families.
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