Out Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said that the baby formula shortage is “very personal” because he and his husband Chasten Buttigieg have two nine-month-old babies.
Currently, 40% of formula is out of stock in the U.S., which has led parents to stockpile formula, exacerbating the shortage. The shortage follows the recall of a major formula producer’s products because deadly bacteria was found in a factory, the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on supply chains, and restrictive trade policies around formula.
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“This is very personal for us,” Buttigieg said on CBS’s Face the Nation this weekend. “We’ve got two nine-month-old children, baby formula is a very big part of our lives.”
“Like millions of Americans, we’ve been rooting around stores, checking online, getting in touch with relatives in other places where they don’t have the same shortages to see what they can send over. And we figured it out. We’re all set, at least for now.”
“But I think about what that would be like, if you’re a shift worker with two jobs, maybe you don’t have a car, you literally don’t have the time or the money to be going from store to store,” he continued. “That’s why this is such a serious issue and that’s why it’s getting attention at the highest levels, including, of course, direct involvement by the president.”
Buttigieg noted that the company that owns the baby formula plant that got shut down is owned by a company that sells 40% of baby formula in the U.S. He added that there’s no shortage in the ingredients for formula and that the Biden administration is trying to bring formula to the U.S. from Europe until supply in the U.S. rebounds.
The House of Representatives passed two bills to address the formula shortage yesterday. One passed with nearly unanimous support to allow WIC recipients to buy different kinds of formula with their benefits. Only nine Republicans – including anti-LGBTQ extremists Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Louis Gohmert (R-TX) – voted against the measure.
Another bill passed with 192 Republicans voting against it. The bill would give the FDA $28 million to boost the supply of formula and prevent shortages in the future.