By Karen Stokes
At a press conference on Wednesday June 1, four Milwaukee area legislators blasted Republicans in Congress including Representatives Steil, Fitzgerald, Grothman, Tiffany, and Gallagher for voting against emergency funding for baby formula distribution.
The lack of action from Republicans failed Wisconsin parents amid a national shortage.
“As someone who was elected to public office and understands the oath I made to my constituents – and as a parent who knows how uncertain and stressful parenting is, even without the concerns of accessing baby formula – I cannot begin to fathom why Wisconsin Republicans in Congress would knowingly block a solution to this problem,” said State Rep. Deb Andraca.
As of 2022, Wisconsin is home to 191,527 babies, representing 3.3 percent of the state’s population, according to stateofbabies.org.
Democrat speakers highlighted how, despite Republicans’ opposition, Democrats like President Joe Biden, Governor Tony Evers, and Representative Gwen Moore are working to address the national baby formula shortage.
“Tom Tiffany, who opined on Twitter about how people can’t get ahold of baby formula, when it came time to actually do something about it, to actually vote to fix the problem, he went along with the party. He put his party over the people, his party over Wisconsin, and voted ‘No,’” said State Senator Chris Larson.
The speakers outlined the steps Democrats are taking to address the shortage.
“Despite Republican opposition, President Biden and Democrats have been working around the clock to address this shortage – passing legislation to provide emergency funding, invoking the Defense Production Act to increase manufacturing, and working with the U.S. military to airlift in formula to communities most in need. And as you heard, last week Gov. Evers took action to prevent corporations from price gouging formula prices by signing an executive order” said State Rep. Robyn Vining.
The Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, is a supplemental appropriations bill to provide $28 million in emergency funding to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the resources it needs to address the urgent infant formula shortage.
“These Republican representatives are actively blocking solutions. This is disappointing, but it’s most definitely not surprising, considering that Republicans in Congress have made a habit of voting against parents and families.” Said State Sen. LaTonya Johnson. State Senator Chris Larson said “In this case, it was a very clear dividing line where only the [Wisconsin] Democrats responded to say ‘let’s move forward the $28 million to address the empty shelves,’ and every [Wisconsin] Republican voted ‘No’