President Biden agreed this afternoon to invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure that US baby formula producers can acquire the material they need and launched a new US government airlift of formula from abroad, the NY Post reports.
The dramatic actions come after critics slammed Biden for not acting more quickly to avert empty store shelves across the country linked to the closure in February of an Abbott Nutrition factory in Michigan.
Biden resisted for about a week mounting pressure from Congress — including from Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — to use the 1950 law that allows federal interventions in private business decisions. The Trump administration previously invoked the Defense Production Act to boost COVID-19 medical supplies in the early days of the pandemic.
The White House said in a statement that Biden “is requiring suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.”