Baby Formula Tariff Relief Bill Passes, Finally

Baby Formula Tariff Relief Bill Passes, Finally

Baby Formula Tariff Relief Bill Passes, Finally

Just because the media has largely stopped reporting on the baby formula shortage, doesn’t mean that this is still a real and present problem for millions of American parents on a daily basis.

As those who have been following this story know, the largest manufacturing facility of baby formula in the United States, the Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, was closed down back in February due to concerns over bacterial contamination. The baby formula that was out on the shelves and in the homes of millions of parents were recalled, leaving American babies to eat… nothing, apparently. The media and the Biden administration were apparently shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that this supply chain was so fragile. Biden himself admitted that he was told in April about the baby formula shortage, but didn’t take the situation seriously.

So what was the Biden administration’s solution? Import random loads of baby formula from Europe under a fancy name that makes it sound like something was being done! “Operation Fly Formula” simply could not meet the demand, but hey, it made for GREAT photo-ops!


It’s clear that Team Biden was simply hoping that the Abbott facility would just be able to get up and running again, but with the FDA involved, that process wasn’t easy. The Abbott plant finally reopened in early June – only to have to shut down a couple of weeks later due to heavy rains and flooding. The plant finally reopened on July 1st, but is only making certain kinds of formula at the moment. It just isn’t enough to restock the shelves in American stores.

Congress, somewhere along the line, finally remembered that they have the power to PASS LAWS, and H.R. 8351 – the Formula Act – was introduced into the House of Representatives on July 13th. Yes, July 13th. Where the hell WERE you guys BEFORE this???

The bill is short. As in, it is precisely one page when you read it. (If only all bills could be this brief and to the point.) It simply states that it is amdending “the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to suspend temporarily rates of duty on imports of certain infant formula products, and for other purposes.” This will allow baby formula to be imported from anywhere without the tariffs that have been in place, and allow the importing to happen outside of “Operation Fly Formula.” The end date of the tariff suspension is listed as December 31st, 2022. Again, WHY DID THIS TAKE SO LONG?

Per the list of actions on Congress’s website, the bill went through on July 15th in the House, was passed by voice vote in the Senate on the 21st, and immediately sent over to Biden on the same day to be signed. Hmmm, what was Biden doing on the 21st? Oh, yeah…. he was testing positive for COVID! But wouldn’t you think that SOMEONE would want to announce this in order to throw a bone at the press, so they wouldn’t just chew on Karine Jean-Pierre’s non-answers when it comes to Biden’s condition? Or any kind of distraction regarding that fact that Kamala Harris out there casually busting through every CDC guideline on social distancing and close contacts?

My explanation for why this wasn’t announced by the White House immediately? They were overwhelmed by Biden’s COVID diagnosis, and Karine Jean-Pierre and her staff are bad at their jobs. They literally have ONE JOB – spin the news to the best possible benefit to the Biden administration. Wouldn’t this bill qualify as a GOOD piece of news? How did Karine Jean-Pierre not just crash through the wall of the press room to announce this immediately? How can this administration be THIS incompetent when something positive happens?

Oh wait, we are talking about the Biden administration. Even when Congress finally does its job and a law gets passed to help fix a problem, and then the president signs it, Team Biden is either too stupid to take the credit, or too afraid that they will be censured for their inaction until now. Who knows, maybe they had a whole ceremony planned and COVID put an end to that. Still, you would think they would announce it… right? It’s not even on the White House’s Twitter feed!

Hanlon’s Razor applied, then. We are being governed by a ship full of incompetents. But hopefully the babies will be able to get the formula they need now.

Featured image via Ben_Kerckx on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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5 Comments
  • Sigh. NOTHINGBURGER!

    Tariffs are NOT the problem – FDA approval of foreign formula suppliers selling it in the US market IS.

    Now, while tariffs kept foreign competitors out of the market so long as domestic companies could fill the demand, prices in a supply shortage would have increased beyond those tariffs, IF foreign made formula could be sold.

    And the FDA is basically not doing anything useful to actually relieve the shortage. Take a look at their website – they are “expediting” approvals for foreign manufacturers as part of the “all government effort.” Touting numbers like “this provides 17 million bottles” – which sounds good until you crunch the numbers and realize that is just a bit over ONE DAY of demand. (That was an approval of a Irish maker, which is the latest they have done – back in the first half of JUNE.)

    * NOTE – there is a place for the Feds in this. Otherwise, the Red Chinese and some other countries would happily ship megatons of formula in, chock full of antifreeze and rat droppings. But the INTELLIGENT thing would have been to IMMEDIATELY approve any EU maker; their standards are equivalent to ours, where they aren’t even more stringent. Nope. Can’t do that. Doesn’t employ at least 1,000 bureaucrat hours to process the paperwork (and doesn’t generate “gifts” from those companies to high level FDA apparatchiks).

    • Cameron says:

      The only involvement the FDA should have had was announcing an immediate approval for shipment of the brands that meet US standards and then getting out of the way. They should also be facing charges for the fact that they kept Abbott from restarting production after the investigation proved that they weren’t responsible for infant deaths.

      The fact that both have not happened proves that Pinochet’s approach was a good one.

      • Thank you for mentioning the Abbot / FDA fiasco, I forgot to include that in my rant. That started the entire mess. (Although the flooding would have caused a shortfall not attributable to the bureaucracy – but a much, much shorter one.)

  • NTSOG says:

    Australian manufacturers of baby formula have increased production to help fill the void in the US market.
    As for the Red Chinese their citizens in Australia have been making it very hard for Australian folks to obtain baby formula locally as there is a thriving racket with Chinese ‘agents’ in Australia clearing shelves of supermarkets as soon as stock is displayed and shipping bulk loads of the formula back to China. Hence limits are placed on purchases of formula by super markets, but those limits have not worked. The reason for the high demand from Chines parents is that made in china formula was tainted and caused harm to infants. The Chinese know that Australian formula is safe.

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