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Tags: dusty johnson | baby formula shortage | biden

Rep. Dusty Johnson to Newsmax: Formula Shortage No Priority for White House

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 14 June 2022 09:45 AM EDT

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre's lack of an answer Monday on the status of the nationwide baby formula shortage shows the emergency is not a top priority for the Biden administration, Rep. Dusty Johnson, the author of legislation to ensure transparency on formula shortages, said on Newsmax on Tuesday. 

"If this was one of their top priorities, you can guarantee the press secretary would be able to have [information] whether it's real facts or spin," the South Dakota Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We would understand what the White House vision and strategy is for dealing with this baby formula shortage. The reality is they've never really had a strategy. They've never really had a vision."

During Monday's press briefing, Jean-Pierre was asked if there were any updates about the nationwide shortage, and said she didn't "have anything new." 

"I think it’s been a couple of days since we have asked — been asked that question," Jean-Pierre said. "I don’t have anything new.  I know we made some announcements last week, I don’t — I just don’t have them in front of me."

"We have an administration that has not been focused," Johnson said. "There were 44 days between when the third complaint about the Abbott location hit the FDA, and when the FDA bothered to show up to do that follow-up inspection from start to finish." 

The shortage has left "real lives at stake," Johnson added. 

"We have a shortage rate of 70% in this country and in my state, it's over 50%," he said. 

Johnson said his bill, the Formula Shortage Reporting Act, requires places like Abbott, the nation's largest maker of baby formula, to report to the FDA when they see disruptions coming. 

"They would have a legal obligation," Johnson said. "That way, we're not playing catch-up."

Johnson said there is a "very good" bipartisan response to his bill, adding that Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., and Kim Schrier, D-Wash., are also signed on to the legislation. 

"This is not the kind of thing where we just want to do messaging," Johnson said. "We want to improve the regulatory environment around this whole area. We only have three factories that are making formula in America. That's a mistake. I think the drive toward efficiency has put our supply chain at risk, whether that's in the livestock or whether that's baby formula. We've got to be willing to build a little more cushion in our supply chain."

Meanwhile, there is help on the way for the current crisis, even though President Joe Biden and his administration "can't even agree whether he knew about this problem in early March or late March, keeping in mind that the third complaint was filed in September," said Johnson. 

"The Abbott facility's back up and running," he said. "That product is not going to hit the shelves for a few weeks, but what we need to do is make sure that the FDA is doing everything it can to make sure that safe formula hits the marketplace as quickly as it can."

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The White House press secretary's lack of an answer Monday on the status of the nationwide baby formula shortage shows the emergency is not a top priority for the Biden administration, Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., said on Newsmax on Tuesday. 
dusty johnson, baby formula shortage, biden
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2022-45-14
Tuesday, 14 June 2022 09:45 AM
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