GOP Rep Who Outed Biden for Border Shipment Votes Against Baby Formula Bill

The U.S. House voted Wednesday to pass the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, a $28 million emergency spending bill aimed at addressing a severe baby formula shortage across the U.S.

The legislation saw "no" votes from 192 House Republicans, including one Florida lawmaker who has sharply criticized President Joe Biden's administration for the shortage and last week drew public attention to shipments of baby formula to the border for immigrants.

Supply chain issues and a voluntary recall of several types of powdered infant formula from the nation's largest producer of baby formula, which remains shuttered following the detection of an environmental bacteria in "non-product contact areas" of the facility, have contributed to a nationwide shortage that is leaving many American families fearful and desperate.

The emergency spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday "provides appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to (1) address the current shortage of FDA-regulated infant formula and certain medical foods in the United States; and (2) prevent future shortages, including by taking the steps that are necessary to prevent fraudulent products from entering the U.S. market."

Cammack Votes Against FDA Bill
Cammack answers questions in front of the House steps November 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/getty

In a statement shared with Newsweek on her decision to vote against the bill, Representative Kat Cammack's team said that the act "does nothing to get baby formula back on shelves quickly—something the American people and parents desperately need."

"It gives millions of dollars to unelected bureaucrats at the FDA who've failed miserably in doing anything about this crisis. It wasn't until after House Republicans sounded the alarm that the Biden administration chose to do anything at all, and this bill comes with few guardrails to ensure the funds are used appropriately and in time to address the shortage the American people face," the statement read.

"Congress has already provided funding to address supply chain issues, but this administration has decided to sit on that $1 billion, especially as just two months ago, the FDA received a $102 million budget increase, including $11 million for maternal and infant health and nutrition. House Republicans offer several better, more effective alternatives to this legislation and will continue fighting to ensure strong oversight and a comprehensive approach to this disaster the Biden administration created," it added.

In a video posted to Facebook last week, Cammack explained that a border patrol agent in Texas informed her that he had taken in pallets of baby formula for immigrants. She emphasized that the children receiving the formula were not at fault but expressed anger over what she described as "another example of the 'America last' agenda."

She is among several Republicans who have slammed the Biden administration for ensuring the availability of infant formula for immigrants while many Americans struggle to find sufficient supplies. The White House has since defended sending baby formula at the border as the "morally right thing to do" and a requirement under the Flores Settlement Agreement.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also decried the Republican criticism during an interview with CBS on Tuesday.

"We are taking care of the basic needs of people in our custody. We are taking care of the basic needs of babies, and that includes baby formula," he told CBS. "The connection between honoring our humanitarian and legal obligation to those babies and a supply issue in the interior of the United States is false and repugnant."

Cammack has been calling out the Biden administration since sharing the Facebook video last week. In a Twitter thread Thursday, she said that the shutdown of Abbott Nutrition's facility in Sturgis, Michigan, "without a plan to backfill" its supply, was "irresponsible."

"Prioritizing American kids is the responsible thing to do. Having a secure border that (sic) is the responsible thing to do," she tweeted.

Operations at the Abbott plant were halted in February following several complaints of deaths and illnesses in infants who had consumed formula from the facility. The FDA announced a timeline Monday for resuming operations, but it was estimated it could take up to 10 weeks for the products to begin returning to shelves.

The White House also said Wednesday that Biden had invoked the Defense Production Act to help expedite the production and delivery of baby formula.

Update 5/19/22, 12:20 p.m. ET: This story was updated with a statement from Cammack's team.