Here’s a headline I would never have thought I’d read in America in 2022: “Iowa families scour stores for baby formula.” But that’s the grim reality today under President Biden.
In their reporting, the Des Moines Register cataloged the story of one mother who visited more than five different stores without finding the formula she needed for her newborn. Her story, tragically, isn’t an outlier.
These are the heartbreaking, and infuriating, struggles parents are going through right now thanks to a baby formula shortage under the Biden administration that’s been months in the making. Earlier this year, President Biden’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shut down an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan—one of the nation’s largest producers of baby formula. With no clear strategy at the time to make up for the lost supply, the president let a problem turn into a national crisis. Just a few weeks later, American families today find themselves scrambling to get their hands on the limited formula that’s available on shelves across the nation.
The problem is particularly dire here in Iowa. As the Register reported, our state’s supply chain shortages top 50 percent, making Iowa one of only six states where the crisis is this bad. In fact, the Des Moines metro area alone has the fourth highest supply chain shortage in the entire country.
What can’t be disputed is how poorly the Biden administration has handled this crisis—every step of the way. While they’ve announced a consent decree reached between the FDA and the major Michigan formula plant, the facility is still months away from production. At the same time, as families are struggling to feed their babies, the Biden administration evidently has been keeping a well-stocked supply at facilities at our nation’s Southern border. Why are they hoarding a limited stockpile while American families are in a crisis?
Parents across this country are scared. There’s no guarantee that moms and dads will be able to find the formula they need to feed their babies. Even if they can find this precious resource, it’s often rationed in quantities that are wholly insufficient to meet their needs. Enough is enough.
This week, I partnered with Congressman Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) in demanding answers and a full briefing from the Biden administration on the action they are taking to ensure such a disaster won’t happen again.
The president and his administration have mishandled this situation from the start. His answers so far are way too little, way too late—parents need solutions now. It’s a disgrace, and it’s putting American families in an increasingly dire spot.
For the Iowa moms and dads who are going store to store and struggling to find food for their baby, there’s no more time to waste. This is a matter of life or death for our most vulnerable.
Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.