By Kelsey Bolar for RealClearPolitics
For over a year, hardworking parents across America have felt the disastrous effects of bad government leadership. Skyrocketing inflation and record high gas prices have made taking care of a family painfully expensive. Surging crime has left our communities unsafe, and unconstitutional mandates and lockdowns have devastated our kids’ development.
But perhaps no crisis has struck closer to home than the nationwide baby formula shortage.
Mothers have driven hours across their states only to stumble upon empty shelves as they struggle to find formula to feed their babies. According to Datasembly as cited by CNN, between November of 2021 and early April of this year, the out-of-stock rate of baby formula increased to more than 30%. The rate has since increased to 40%.
What does this look like? In states like Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas, this has meant that during the week of April 24, more than half of baby formula was completely sold out.
As a mom of two, including a 6-month-old boy who is partially formula-fed, I find it unfathomable that this could take place in America. But what’s even more disturbing is that we have government officials – from the White House and the FDA to the halls of Congress – who knowingly allowed this crisis to unfold.
Not all of our elected officials were negligent: As a new mom to a 9-month-old baby boy, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik noticed this crisis back in February and immediately sounded the alarm by issuing a letter to Joe Biden’s Food and Drug Administration, demanding “transparency and accountability” on their recall of formula which sparked a crisis among parents trying to feed their babies.
According to Stefanik, for months her office received no substantive response.
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It was only after she led a press conference with her fellow House Republican colleagues and stood in front of the Capitol in May demanding that Biden address this crisis that the FDA acknowledged they received the letter and were looking into it.
After months of being asleep at the switch, Joe Biden seemingly panicked: He changed his public schedule to hop on the phone with formula manufacturers, attempted to shift blame on formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, and then proceeded to tout a plan to address the infant formula shortage. Last weekend, after finally flying in formula from abroad, he claimed his team is “working around the clock to get safe formula to everyone who needs it.” But the infant formula processing plant in Sturgis, Michigan was shut down in February. It is now the end of May.
To say this was too little, too late is a gross understatement.
Joe Biden’s failure to act on a life or death issue for millions should outrage every American. Just recently, two children were hospitalized due to the baby formula crisis.
Biden can’t get away with taking a victory lap after months of his administration failing to address a crisis impacting millions of families. Parents deserve answers as to why the baby formula crisis was ignored for months. There needs to be stronger oversight of the FDA and an immediate investigation into how this took place.
As a mom, I’m thankful that American parents can look to a leader like Rep. Stefanik to step up, sound the alarm, and prevent this type of crisis from ever happening again. She recently introduced legislation with fellow moms, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Stephanie Bice, and Ashley Hinson, aimed at addressing the FDA’s failure and increasing the supply of baby formula.
Leaders like Stefanik are making it clear every day that government policy should work for, not against, families. From fighting for parents’ rights to have a role in their kids’ education, to addressing inflation, to ensuring parents’ basic and fundamental ability to provide food for their babies, Stefanik and other pro-family legislators are working to solve crises the government created.
Clearly, Americans are ready for a change in direction: Poll after poll shows Joe Biden’s approval at a historic low, likely because his policies have failed American families to a shameful degree.
The president didn’t have to be a “mind reader” to anticipate that shutting down a plant that controls roughly a fifth of U.S. supply would trigger a nationwide formula shortage. He just had to be competent. Long before this situation reached a crisis level, Rep. Stefanik sounded the alarm, demanded accountability, and offered real solutions to help protect parents and their children. That’s the kind of leadership Washington needs.
Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.
Kelsey Bolar is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum and mother of two.
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