The United States Senate unanimously passed Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) FORMULA Act. The bill, which removes import tariffs on baby formula and baby formula input products until the end of this year now heads to the President’s desk. The House of Representatives had previously modified and passed the bill resulting in Senate reconsideration.
The national baby formula crisis has only worsened in recent weeks with millions of American families struggling to feed their infants. The out-of-stock rate in Utah stores has reached as high as 90% during the crisis. Senator Lee’s complete plan to combat the crisis includes the tariff suspension among other solutions.
Of the bill’s passage, Sen. Lee said, “Passing the FORMULA Act will be an incredible win for families and hungry babies nationwide. It will make meaningful headway that is desperately needed today. By suspending the tariff on formula imports, we are providing cheaper access to formulas to individual consumers and retailers alike.” Lee continued, “This relief has been long overdue, particularly for Utahns, who have the largest families, the most children per capita, and the highest birth rate in the nation.”
Lead House sponsor, Chairman Earl Blumenaur (D-OR) said, “Suspending tariffs on the importation of infant formula and relieving parents of steep price increases is a critical step to ending the infant formula shortage. This crisis requires a whole government response. The Biden Administration has taken important steps to increase supply and I applaud the FDA’s actions to import more formula. Now Congress must act to temporarily remove tariff barriers so families can access affordable formula.”
Ranking Member Adrian Smith (R-NE) said, “The Formula Act makes infant formula more accessible and affordable by allowing it to be imported duty-free through the end of the year. Families should never have to experience the despair of worrying whether shelves will be stocked with the formula they need to feed their infants. As a father of two, including a one-year-old, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of children. I will continue to work with my colleagues to use trade tools to strengthen critical supply chains, like infant formula.”
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) said, “America’s mothers and fathers need help. This should never be a concern in our great nation, but young families are hunting from store to store to feed their infants. Red tape led to the culmination of the baby formula crisis, and removing it is our best way out. I’m so proud to say that Congress has drafted bipartisan legislation that temporarily waives trade tariffs, allows for the importation of safe baby formula, and increases formula options here at home. I look forward to President Biden signing this critical, bipartisan bill into law.”
House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee member, Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) said, “The baby formula crisis underscores the fragility of our supply chains when there is intense industry consolidation. Washington state in particular has felt the brunt of the formula shortage with parents facing empty shelves earlier and more acutely than other states. Parents should never struggle to feed their kids. This legislation will help alleviate this crisis by lowering the price of imported baby formula from safe and trusted partners abroad while our domestic production catches up.”
For video of Lee’s remarks, click HERE.
For text of Lee’s remarks as prepared, click HERE.
For full text of the legislation, click HERE.