200 members of Congress voted against infant formula | News, Sports, Jobs


photo contribution Politicians who shout they are “pro-life” are voting against baby food. Others look away as monopolies undermine food security.

My 8 month old daughter, Jayde, was born stunted. She weighs only 13 pounds, no more than a 3-month-old child. She sees a pediatric nutritionist and eats a specialized formula that provides 30 calories per ounce in hopes of getting her onto the elusive growth curve.

Jayde was steadily crawling towards that goal – until suddenly we couldn’t find her formula anywhere. We spent hours browsing the internet, social media and stores. As the national shortage set in, none could be found.

When I was on my last box of formula and crying in the empty aisles of the grocery store, I desperately posted Jayde’s needs online. I am fortunate that my network of friends, family members and colleagues have been compassionate and responsive to my requests.

A colleague from Dallas saw my message and started searching her area for Jayde’s formula. Twenty-eight miles from her home and hundreds of miles from my home in Maryland, she found two boxes of formula and sent them to me.

What a relief! But two cans won’t last us more than two weeks. So what?

I wanted answers to this question and many others. Through a local chapter of Mocha Moms, an organization I belong to, I was invited to a White House summit on the infant formula crisis. I wanted to know why the Defense Production Act had not been activated sooner.

I wanted to know why anti-trust regulations had not prevented a virtual monopoly that places nearly 90% of infant formula production in the hands of just four companies.

I wanted to know why formula maker Abbott Industries was allowed to prioritize stock buybacks over safety protocols so their products would be contaminated causing the shortage.

I wanted to know how families like mine would keep their babies alive and healthy. Responses were rare.

Fortunately, the Defense Production Act is now underway, with the Biden administration ordering companies to prioritize sourcing key ingredients from infant formula producers. A formula arrives from abroad. Congress also expanded the Women Infant and Children (WIC) program to cover more infant formula brands.

But with the global supply chain still distorted, these measures will go no further. Unfortunately, some of our elected officials are standing in the way of aid.

The House of Representatives just passed a bill to create a $28 million emergency fund to help the FDA increase formula capacity. Amazingly, nearly 200 House Republicans voted against — and Senate Republicans signaled they might block it.

Vote against formula milk? It is an outrage. These legislators say they are pro-life. To be truly pro-life, we must care about feeding innocent children and helping struggling families.

My family has a certain privilege – we have full-time jobs, reliable child care and a support network. Despite all these advantages, we only have two weeks of food for our baby. My heart aches for families with far fewer resources.

This is part of a larger systemic problem of our policy makers underinvesting in families. The proposed Build Back Better Act would have provided far more support for families with children, but 50 Senate Republicans, along with Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, dismissed it as spoiled milk.

This crisis — which literally took the food out of my baby’s mouth — ignited a passion in me. It made me realize that we can no longer be silent. We need to call out those lawmakers who won’t stand up for families — and tell them we’ll find new ones if they don’t.

——-

TiffanyAnn Goodson is a first-time working mom,

a member of Mocha Moms and a strong advocate for issues affecting families everywhere.

This editorial was distributed by OtherWords.org.



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