A handful of Republican lawmakers bucked their party on Wednesday in votes on two separate bills aiming to address the nationwide baby formula shortage causing rising concern for parents across the country.
The main bill, dubbed the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, passed in a 231-192 vote that mainly broke along party lines. Four Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.
The legislation would grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) $28 million in emergency funding to respond to the scarcity of baby formula.
Twelve Republicans bucked House GOP leadership and voted for the legislation: Reps. Don Bacon (Neb.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), David McKinley (W.Va.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Michael Turner (Ohio), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Ann Wagner (Mo.).
Earlier on Wednesday, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) sent a memo to all House GOP offices recommending that members vote against the legislation. He argued that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) brought up the bill “in hopes of covering up the administration’s ineptitude by throwing additional money at the FDA with no plan to actually fix the problem, all while failing to hold the FDA accountable.”
The House on Wednesday also passed the Access to Baby Formula Act in a 414-9 vote that was largely bipartisan. Five Republicans and one Democrat did not vote.
The bill calls for permanently relaxing restrictions on the kinds of baby formula that individuals in the federal low-income assistance program for women, children and infants are allowed to purchase. The program is formally known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly referred to as the WIC program.
The only opposition to the legislation came from the Republican Party: the no votes were Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Clay Higgins (La.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Chip Roy (Texas).
There was no overlap in the two groups of GOP outlier votes.
Massie and Greene have stood out for their votes on a number of recent occasions, at times bucking the majority of their party to oppose bipartisan measures such as aide to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.
The baby formula bills come as parents across the country are struggling to purchase formula for their children, leaving lawmakers scrambling to restock shelves and prevent the scarcity from worsening.
The U.S. has been grappling with the instant baby formula shortage since at least the week beginning April 24, when the out-of-stock percentage of the merchandise reached 40 percent, according to an analysis by retail tracking company Datasembly.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism