National WIC Association: “This swift, bipartisan action from members in both chambers recognizes the critical role that WIC plays in supporting the nutrition needs of babies…We must keep the focus on the best interests of babies and their health as we reckon with the consequences wrought by corporate actors.”
WASHINGTON D.C. - This afternoon, the Senate passed the Access to Baby Formula Act by unanimous consent, following last night’s 414-9 vote in the House of Representatives. The bill now advances to President Biden for his signature.
The following statement can be attributed to Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association (NWA):
“This swift, bipartisan action from members in both chambers recognizes the critical role that WIC plays in supporting the nutrition needs of babies. No parent in the United States should have to worry about how they’re going to feed their infant, and WIC - which serves nearly half of all infants born in the country - is a lifeline that provides targeted nutrition support at this most crucial stage of growth and development. This bill, along with the Biden administration’s steps to shore up supply, ensures that the government has even more tools at its disposal to redress the infant formula supply shortages and provide peace of mind for parents across this country.
“Quick action alone is not enough. Action must be complemented by a thorough accounting of how we arrived at a point where the ongoing nutrition needs of babies were put at risk. We must take a hard look at the failures of a manufacturing sector that is extremely concentrated, with operations that are so centralized that one plant closure resulted in a ripple effect that touched nearly every parent in this country. After decades of targeted, intrusive marketing practices that aggressively built a customer base reliant on their essential product, these manufacturers could not deliver.
“The White House’s decisive actions last week underscore how imports can help address both the acute supply challenges today and also build a competitive market in the long-term. These efforts must be balanced with increased investment in oversight and food safety efforts, including emergency funding for regulators to facilitate imports and oversee the reopening of Abbott’s plant under the terms of a consent decree. In the days, months, and years ahead, we must keep the focus on the best interests of babies and their health as we reckon with the consequences wrought by corporate actors.
“We thank champions of the WIC program across the halls of Congress - including Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Scott, Chairwoman Stabenow, Ranking Member Boozman, Representative Hayes and Representative Steel - for their actions that ensure that WIC can more robustly respond to product recalls and supply disruptions. With 1.2 million infants receiving formula benefits through WIC, we must continue to employ all strategies at the local, state and federal level to match available supply with the families most in need.”
The National WIC Association (NWA) is the non-profit membership organization for State and local providers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). NWA is the go-to voice of and for WIC staff at more than 12,000 WIC locations across the country who work to support more than 6.2 million mothers and young children. For over three decades, NWA has worked to build broad, bipartisan consensus for WIC’s programmatic goals and public health mission. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drive innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children, and their families. Learn more at www.nwica.org