Utah Sen. Mitt Romney tossed a $28 million bill on Tuesday to increase funding for the Food and Drug Administration to ease the shortage of infant formula.
“If it was actually about buying formula, I might be inclined to support it,” Romney told Insider. “But it pays more money for FDA people, which is not what we need. We need to get the formula, not more money for FDA inspectors.”
The House voted last week to provide additional funding to the FDA to address the current infant formula shortage. Only 12 Republicans joined 219 Democrats in supporting the bill, The Washington Post reported.
The measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where the legislation must attract the support of ten GOP senators to reach Biden’s office. Republicans have stepped up their attacks on the Biden administration lately, blaming Democrats for not doing more to preempt the formula shortage.
“The infant formula shortages that are hurting American families are outrageous and unacceptable,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. said in a press release earlier this month. “This issue has been slowly developing for several months now, but the Biden administration has been characteristically slow and hesitant in response.”
The infant formula shortage worsened in February after Abbott Nutrition closed a Michigan factory that was linked to four infants hospitalized with a rare bacterial illness. Four companies, including Abbott, control the vast majority of domestic infant formula production.
Abbott said that even if the FDA re-allows the Michigan plant to open, it would still take several months for formula products to hit store shelves.
The Biden administration has stepped in to try to ease the shortage, cutting bureaucracy and reducing some regulations to get products on the shelves faster. He also authorized a new initiative known as Operation Fly Formula to rapidly import infant formula from overseas. The first shipment arrived in Indiana from Germany over the weekend.