Officials from the House Oversight and Accountability Committee have put crosshairs on the Biden admin over the extreme mishandling of the Baby Formula Shortage in 2022.
Rep. James Comer (R-KY), as the Chairman of the Oversight Committee, alongside Financial Services Chairwoman Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) authored a letter to the FDA Commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, calling for additional documents in relation to how the government responded to the national baby formula shortage. The pair of legislators took the FDA to take for not even trying to take any real accountability for the mishandling of the crisis.
"The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is continuing its investigation into the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) response to the infant formula shortage and its restructuring of the food and nutrition division in response to the infant formula shortage," the pair of legislators expressed in their letter. "The Reagan-Udall Foundation’s report titled ‘Operational Evaluation of the FDA Human Foods Program,’ found that there was ‘little motivation, and no requirement,’ to ‘facilitate critical thinking and proactive decision-making’ during the infant formula shortage. Despite this report, and the acknowledged need for a major overhaul, you stated that there would be no reassignments nor firings over the administration’s response to the infant formula shortage."
Both McClain and Comer also went after the FDA for dragging their feet when it comes to the food safety and nutrition division instead of firing or reassigning the employees that dropped the ball when it comes to the crisis or taking any kind of actual accountability. "As the administration scrambled to contain the issue, families across the nation were presented with the question of how they would feed the infants in their families and communities," stated the lawmakers in their letter. "Now, instead of removing or reassigning the individuals at fault for the poor response to this crisis, the announced restructuring of the food and nutrition division simply requires certain offices and personnel to report to the newly created position of Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods. The Committee is concerned that the FDA’s restructuring is a superficial attempt—rather than a real effort—to bring accountability and make meaningful changes."
The Committee then issued demands that the FDA turn over a massive cache of documents in relation to the crisis, including various papers and bits of communications:
- Between the White House and the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services related to the shortage;
- About the FDA’s reorganization plan for the food safety and nutrition division;
- The selection process for a Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods;
- The decision not to fire or reassign any individual involved in the response;
- Outlining the procedures transitioning those units affected by the reorganization;
- Outlining the timeline for implementation of the reorganization.
The committee issued demands for all required documents to be submitted by the 4th of April.