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US Senate unanimously passes bill addressing formula shortage

By Kelcie Hartley - | Jun 23, 2022

Ashtyn Asay, Daily Herald

Almost empty shelves at a Target in American Fork due to a baby formula shortage on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Fixing Our Regulatory Mayhem Upsetting Little Americans (FORMULA) Act, sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee

“I am thrilled that a modified version of my FORMULA Act passed the Senate today,” Lee said after the bill was passed. “This bill will make baby formula more affordable and more available for American parents struggling to feed their hungry babies. I am grateful for the bipartisan help of my colleagues in getting this bill through.”

According to a press release, the FORMULA Act was created to combat domestic baby formula shortages and bolster the supply chain to help American families feed their babies. The bill is designed to lift substantial tariffs on the importation of baby formula and reduce the costs borne by retailers trying to keep their shelves stocked.

According to an article by CBS News, almost 74% of store shelves are empty, and 10 states are 90% out of baby formula, as of June 4.

Parents across the U.S. have struggled to find replacements for formula. Shortages became more common after the temporary closure of Abbott Nutrition plant in Michigan, due to contamination problems.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Lee speaks during a debate Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in Draper. Lee faced off against two Republican challengers at the first debate leading up to the GOP primary later this month.

On his Twitter account, Lee posted a short video of himself talking about the FORMULA Act.

“My FORMULA Act in a nutshell will make it easier and more affordable for American families to gain access to baby formula,” Lee said. “There are countries who are able to manufacture formula, in Europe for example, that have regulatory standards like ours.”

Lee didn’t mention the brands of such formulas, but said they have been inaccessible to most American families because of heavy import taxes. The FORMULA Act suspends the import taxes. According to the FORMULA Act, after 90 days, formula will be allowed to enter the U.S. free of duty and quantitative limitations.

“There remains much to be done,” Lee said. “Utah families are feeling the formula crisis more acutely than those almost anywhere else. Other government barriers to competition and importation of safe formula remain. No American babies should ever go hungry. While this first step will bring much-needed relief, I will continue to work with colleagues to ensure this crisis is resolved and similar difficulties never happen again.”

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