On Wednesday, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to address the infant formula shortage in the United States.
The White House announced in a fact sheet that Biden would use the Cold War-era law to require suppliers to “direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.”
“Directing firms to prioritize and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up in supply chains,” the fact sheet said.
The White House said Biden is launching “Operation Fly Formula” that will involve the federal government using Defense Department commercial aircraft to pick up baby formula from overseas that meets U.S. standards to get it quickly to American shelves.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Biden said the action was needed to boost the supply of formula while domestic production ramps up. He ordered their departments to work with the Pentagon “over the next week” to use contracted aircraft to quicken imports of baby formula from overseas.
“Imports of baby formula will serve as a bridge to this ramped up production, therefore, I am requesting you take all appropriate measures available to get additional safe formula into the country immediately,” Biden wrote.
This comes after calls from Democrats like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to address the critical shortage. A bipartisan group led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) introduced a resolution earlier Wednesday calling on Biden to invoke the law to increase domestic production of baby formula.