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tv   U.S. Senate Sens. Schumer Stabenow Boozeman on Baby Formula Shortage  CSPAN  May 19, 2022 9:50pm-10:02pm EDT

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414-#. -- 414-9. nightmare parents are facing trying to find baby formula for their kids. it's rare that we have unanimity in the senate on important measures, and i wish we had more. but this is one of these important issues, and i'm glad we're acting with one voice. it's the stuff of nightmares for parents to race to the grocery store or the drugstore only to find the shelves empty of baby formula or, even worse, maybe causing more anguish, there's formula on the shelf but they can't buy it because w.i.c. can't buy it because w.i.c. this shortage,ow the shortage of baby formula is caught unimaginable stress. unimaginable anguish for parents and immense harm on america's young kids. there's already such a strain on parents of newborn especially during the times of covid the last time caregivers and parents need is to make it
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harder to feed their children the step we're adding today will add relief to wic beneficiaries and almost half of all baby formula consumed in the u.s. is by wic beneficiaries. now, millions of parents will have an easier time finding if baby formula they need. i want to thank senator stabenow she got it through the house. she came up with the idea. and now, we're here to send it to the president's desk. she had a great partner in senator besman who stepped up to the plate as well. so i thank them for championing this legislation. as i mentioned it passed the house with overwhelming support. o the shortage of baby formula that's hurting parents and caregivers of newborns across the country. the president appeared democrats in congress are taking this -- the president and democrats in
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congress are taking this issue seriously and invoking the d.p.a. was the right response. to the parents and caregivers, we hear you. the senate is taking action. president biden has taken action to increase imports of safe baby formula and to increase production of formula in our country. the house has taken action, and now the senate is. we must keep going because there's more to do. i yield to senator stabenow, who as i mentioned did an amazingly great job on this issue. ms. stabenow: well, thank you so much, mr. president. i want to thank our leader who has been there right there every moment giving us the opportunity to be able to move this through quickly. i am very pleased to say that the access to baby formula act, after senator schumer's actions, will be going to the president for his signature. and this is really important as part of what we need to do to deal with an immediate crisis.
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the reality is that right this minute moms and dads are trying to figure out what they're going to be able to do to give safe baby formula to their children. is it on the shelf? where will they have to go to get it? how many days, hours are we going to have to wait to do this? it's an incredible, incredible emergency, and what i've so appreciated is that we came together, house, senate democrats and republicans and acted faster than i've participated in from writing a bill at the beginning of the week to thursday having it pass the house and now the senate to go to the president. now, i don't think we should be giving ourselves too many kudos here, because i think this had happened in the very beginning and we shouldn't have seen what happened at the abbott plant. and in my mind, the f.d.a. should have moved more quickly to respond to it. but when we became aware of all
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of this, we came together very quickly to do what we could. the reality is that half of the baby formula in this country goes to moms and babies that are on a very important program that is called the women, infants, and children program. and we know that we've got to do everything humanly possible to take care away any -- to take away any barrier for them to get this important food for children, to get baby formula for children. and that's what we have done to make sure that the usda can act quickly -- and i want to thank secretary vilsack who has in fact worked quickly and has worked with us on this legislation. and we also want to make sure that every manufacturer of baby formula going forward is required to participate in
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w.i.c. to have a comprehensive plan of what to do in an emergency, what to do if there are supply chain breakdowns or something else that stops our moms and babies from getting what is essential daily nutrients for them to be healthy. this is an important program that has worked for a long, long time. i'm so pleased to have my friend and ranking member, senator boozman, working with me. we came together very quickly. i want to thank our staffs for doing that as well. this is not the only thing that needs to happen, but it's really important that we move forward and make it clear that if you're on w.i.c. and you go to the baby store -- or go to the grocery store and the formula that you're supposed to buy by brand is not available, that there's something else available, that you can get it. we're not going to put any barriers up for your getting
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safe baby formula. and so this is an important piece. i want to thank president biden for acting as well, reaching out to our partners in the european union to be able to import safe baby formula as fast as possible. there are other producers, manufacturers in the country increasing their production right now. but the most important thing is that we let families know that we're going to do everything possible to make sure that their babies get what they need as soon as possible, and that we understand -- i certainly understand as a mom, i understand as a grandma that this is a horror for families. families with babies. i'm very appreciative that the united states senate came together as quickly and as in a bipartisan way as we have done, to do our part, those of us on
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the agriculture, nutrition and forestry committee, to make sure that those moms and babies that we are responsible for through w.i.c. are getting all the support that they can to make sure they can sleep easy at night, except when the baby is crying, of course, but to be able to sleep easy at night and know that somebody is going to work as hard as possible to make sure they have the baby formula they need. so i'm going to -- i would defer to my friend and partner, senator boozman. mr. boozman: thank you, senator stap. mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: again, i want to compliment senator stabenow for her leadership in this area, and as she said getting this done in a record amount of time. we're facing an infant formula shortage across the country, as we all know. moms, dads, in the most
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prosperous country on earth should never have to worry about their ability to obtain something as vital as baby formula. one of the most vital nutrition programs, the w.i.c. program, provides formula to families in need across the country. these shortages have disproportionately impacted these families, as it makes it more difficult to find formula on the shelves. this legislation will bep fit -- benefit every american family by ensuring formula manufacturers and regulators are always prepared to respond to any shortages or supply disruptions, and by providing more flexibilities to usda and states in helping parents meet their children's nutritional needs. our bill has the support of the national w.i.c. association and more than 250 other groups across the country, and most importantly the support of 100 senators, which we're very proud of. i want to again give a special
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shout out, a special thanks to senator stabenow and her staff, my staff who worked very hard to get this done, and then also to the majority leader, senator schumer, for again pushing this through. as senator stabenow said, i think this truly is a record amount of time and great collaboration amongst the house and the senate, and really is a very, very good example as to how we need to collaborate more. wi >> after months of closed-door investigations, the houseed-door january 6 committee is set to go public. starting june 9, tuned in as committee members question key members about what transpired and capitol why during the assault on the capitol u.s..
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