Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 29, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, is she declaring a conflict of interest on this legislation? Tongue-in-cheek. Excuse me.

We are all excited, awaiting the good news in terms of her family, and I think it is appropriate that we have this legislation on the floor today to help families all across the country.

The complexity that we found out in terms of the infant formula supply leaves us all scratching our heads in terms of all these elements.

I appreciate Congresswoman DelBene early zeroing in on this, mobilizing support, helping refine legislation, and enabling us to act very quickly.

This is an area that I hope that we will be able to have further conversations because I think there are issues in terms of healthcare supply chain and industrial policy.

It isn't, I think, quite so easy to snap our fingers and make sure that we are protecting this because it is a complicated matter. I know that at times, there are differences in terms of how much we should be interfering with the private sector and what they do.

I think this might be an area that we can work together to figure out ways that we can hit the appropriate balance, meet the need, not be too intrusive, but make sure we are not behind the curve.

The administration and Congress has made significant progress in this crisis, invoking the Defense Production Act, increasing the flexibility of WIC as was referenced, easing restrictions on imports to supply chain shortages, and enacting our Formula Act to temporarily suspend tariffs on infant formula.

We are expanding that work today to include formula base powder imports. Like finish formula, infant formula base powder imports face a substantial tariff when imported at a time when families need all the help they can get.

I don't want to take undue time, but I just want to commend our team working together, sending the appropriate signal, and hope it provides a foundation for other areas where we might be able to look for ways to thread that needle to be able to have partnerships with the private sector and with government to be able to make sure that we deal with these fragile supply chains.

One of the things the pandemic has demonstrated is how fragile our supply chains are. The notion, with so many industries dealing with just in time, puts them in a situation where the supply chain is so brittle that it produces results that horrify us all, like dumping milk on the ground because we couldn't get it to producers.

So I hope it leads to a broader conversation about things we can do to ease the pressures on supply chains and that this is an area where we can continue to work together and make a difference.