KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Two congressional bills aimed at combatting the baby formula shortage made their way through the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. and Tennessee’s congressional representatives each voted on the bills this week. Both bills next head to the Senate.

All nine Tennessee Congressional representatives voted to approve the Access to Baby Formula Act. Two of nine voted in favor of the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act. Scroll down for details on both bills and a breakdown of each vote.

H.R. 7790 – Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022

All seven of Tennessee’s Republican congressional representatives voted “nay” on the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act yesterday and those who represent the second and third congressional districts of the state, Rep. Tim Burchett and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, offered their reasons why.

H.R. 7790, which passed the House of Representatives Wednesday in a 231 to 192 vote, is a supplemental appropriations bill providing $28 million in emergency funding to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The bill was introduced in the House on May 17.

“Just two months ago, the FDA received a $102 million increase in its budget, including $11 million specifically for maternal and infant health and nutrition. Democrats’ show-vote last night is the worst of DC, where Congress throws money at a problem instead of resolving the issues that caused the crisis in the first place. Since February, Biden’s FDA has known of the baby formula crisis and has refused to resolve the regulatory and bureaucratic causes of this crisis. The FDA needs to create and implement a plan to get American-made formula back on store shelves. It does not need millions more in unnecessary spending.”

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann

“There’s 28 million dollars in the bill, but, I believe 23 million of it was for administrative costs and salaries,” Burchett said in a video he tweeted on Thursday regarding the bill. “So, basically, what the Democratic leadership did was use a bill, title it something that’s dealing with people that are genuinely hurting and just use it as an instance to increase pay at the FDA. That ought to disgust you, I don’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican – using a real tragedy. It did nothing to put more formula on the shelves, it just did more to hire bureaucrats and create more of a power structure here in Washington. They misname these bills on purpose and honestly, the Left just eats it up and they throw it back at us. But in reality, it’s just not true. We have truth in sentencing laws in Tennessee, and we ought to have truth in legislation.”

The House Committee on Appropriations shared the following information in a press release on the bill:

“This bill provides FDA with the resources to strengthen and increase the number of FDA inspection staff, provide resources for personnel working on formula issues, help the agency stop fraudulent baby formula from entering the marketplace, and improve data collection on the infant formula marketplace.”

— House Committee on Appropriations

Tennessee’s other congressional representatives voted on H.R. 7790 by the following:

  • Rep. Steve Cohen (D) – Yay
  • Rep. Jim Cooper (D) – Yay
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) – Nay
  • Rep. Mark Green (R) – Nay
  • Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R) – Nay
  • Rep. David Kustoff (R) – Nay
  • Rep. John Rose (R) – Nay

H.R. 7791 – To amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to establish waiver authority to address certain emergencies, disasters, and supply chain disruptions, and for other purposes

All nine of Tennessee’s congressional representatives – seven Republicans and two Democrats – voted “yay” Wednesday on the Access to Baby Formula Act, which amended the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, on a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill agreed to by the yays and nays. The motion was also introduced in the House on May 17.

The Access to Baby Formula Act passed the House on Wednesday with 414 “yay” votes. The bill aims to allow low-income families more flexibility in what products they can buy using their Women, Infants and Children or WIC benefits.

A fact sheet from the House Committee on Education and Labor states the Access to Baby Formula Act “will grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to waive certain requirements so that vulnerable families can continue purchasing safe infant formula with their WIC benefits during extenuating circumstances, such as a public health emergency or supply chain disruption. The bill will also ensure that WIC participants are better protected during a product recall.”