Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., told Newsmax on Monday that the ongoing baby formula shortage shows the incompetence of President Joe Biden's administration by not acting sooner to deal with the crisis.
"This is another example of the incompetence of the Biden administration," Comer said during "Prime News" Monday. "What we learned also today [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Xavier] Becerra said that he's been monitoring this situation for months now."
Parents around the country seeking baby formula have been confronted with empty shelves at stores due to lingering supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic and the February closing of an Abbott formula production plant in Sturgis, Michigan, due to tainted products.
The company announced Monday that it reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration to reopen the facility, but that it would still take about two months for the formula to appear on local store shelves.
"Our number one priority is getting infants and families the high-quality formulas they need, and this is a major step toward re-opening our Sturgis facility so we can ease the nationwide formula shortage. We look forward to working with the FDA to quickly and safely re-open the facility," Robert B. Ford, chairman and chief executive officer of Abbott said in a press release Monday. "We know millions of parents and caregivers depend on us and we're deeply sorry that our voluntary recall worsened the nationwide formula shortage. We will work hard to re-earn the trust that moms, dads and caregivers have placed in our formulas for more than 50 years."
The factory produces an estimated 40% of the baby formula made in the United States.
"The problem is the FDA shut down the production of baby& formula, and they didn't have a backup plan," Comer said. "No one at the FDA, no bureaucrat thought, 'Wow, if we shut down the maker of 40% of the baby formula in the United States, I wonder if there's going to be a plan or something miraculous is going to happen to replace that production.'"
Comer said the administration is dealing with this crisis the same way it is handling the energy issue — by buying baby formula from other countries.
"This administration continues to drop the ball, and this is another perfect example," Comer said.
Comer noted that he was glad the facility is coming back online, and it should have happened "months ago," but also said he is concerned that they fixed the problem that shut it down in the first place.
"Did they fix the problem? You shut them down because of bacteria," Comer said. "Are we confident the bacteria is gone? What have you been doing ever since you shut down the production of this plant?"
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