Politics

Baby formula shortage: Psaki says using Defense Production Act ‘on the table,’ WH response not delayed

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The White House is discussing whether to use the Defense Production Act to address the baby formula shortage, press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed.

But asked for a timeline to resolving the nationwide shortage, Psaki said the White House could not offer a specific timeframe.

During her final press conference at the White House, Psaki fielded a series of questions about the ongoing U.S. supply chain troubles. Most notably, the country has reached a critical need for more baby formula after a recall wiped out huge amounts of stock in U.S. stores.

White House press secretary Jennifer Psaki speaks during her last daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, May 13, 2022.
(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“This is a really important question, but it’s hard for us to answer from here,” Psaki said. She said no decision has been made on the Defense Production Act, a law where the government can compel a private company to produce a particular product.

AMERICA’S BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE: PHOTOS SHOW THE STARTLING REALITY 

Psaki stated the shortages being felt across the country are regional issues that will require different solutions. 

“Sometimes the issue at play here is that bigger retailers have a more streamlined process for stocking the shelves than smaller retailers,” Psaki explained. “A lot of people go to stores in their community to go buy baby formula and it may just be that there is a bit of a delay in stocking those shelves.”

The press secretary went on to bullet point steps the federal government is taking to alleviate the shortages in the short term. The White House is offering rebates for states to address their stock regionally, and WIC recipients will be receiving greater freedom choosing formula for their children.

“So we’re working to not just address – we’ve been working to address for months – but we’re working to ensure there is greater supply, consistent supply on the shelves for as long as possible,” Psaki said.

The White House on Thursday said it had taken steps to counter the shortage, “including working with other infant formula manufacturers to increase production, expediting the import of infant formula from abroad, and calling on both online and in-store retailers to establish purchasing limits to prevent the possibility of hoarding.”

The Biden administration also said Thursday it would take additional steps, including cutting red tape, asking states attorneys general to crack down on price gouging and further increasing imports. 

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday asking for transparency on the nationwide baby formula shortage

“As you know the FDA has recently acknowledged the shortage, caused by its warning and recall,” Ladapo wrote to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, referring to the February recall of baby formula produced by Abbott Nutrition, which makes a majority of the formula consumed in the U.S.

Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

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