Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ)—along with Reps. Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Don Beyer (D-VA), introduced the FORMULA 3.0 Act. Building upon the success of his previous bills, Sen. Lee’s latest legislation aims to permanently waive tariffs and ease trade barriers on infant formula, ensuring a stable and accessible supply for families across the United States.
Sen. Lee has been a driving force in combating the formula shortage. In July 2022, his FORMULA Act was signed into law by President Biden, temporarily suspending tariffs on imported formulas. The relief provided by this legislation played a crucial role in enabling formula companies to bring more supplies to the United States, easing the burden on families in need.
Now, with the introduction of the FORMULA 3.0 Act, Sen. Lee aims to solidify and expand upon the progress made. This bill will permanently waive tariffs on infant formula base powder, ensuring a continuous and reliable supply for families. By doing so, domestic manufacturers will be able to increase their production, further easing the formula crisis in the United States.
Of the bill, Sen. Lee said, “The welfare of our families, especially our infants, is of utmost importance. The formula shortage has highlighted the need for long-term solutions that promote accessibility and affordability. With the FORMULA 3.0 Act, we take a significant step towards permanently eliminating trade barriers and ensuring a stable supply of infant formula for families across the nation.”
“I’m proud to be co-leading this bipartisan effort to permanently waive tariffs on infant formula, which will lower prices and ensure we can protect infants from risks associated with current or future supply shortages. We have a responsibility to care for our families and children, and this common-sense solution will do just that,” said Sen. Menendez.
“The baby formula crisis put an additional spotlight on the serious supply chain challenges we face,” said Rep. Smith, Chairman of the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee. “Congress immediately came together in a bipartisan way to waive tariffs on safe, FDA-approved formula, and it alleviated some of the pressures families faced when searching for formula. Now that those tariffs have returned, the availability of formula has become strained once again. That’s why we are working in a bipartisan, bicameral way to permanently lift barriers to safely import formula and give families more options and access to the formula they need.”
“The fragility of the domestic infant formula market was put into stark relief last year when a problem at just one company’s facility led to a drastic supply shortage and massive price increases for parents nationwide,” said Rep. Beyer. “Due to high tariffs and other protectionist obstacles preventing high-quality infant formula imports from the global market, parents with small children were left scrambling to find affordable alternatives. With the expiration of temporary emergency measures designed to ease the shortage, the market remains extremely vulnerable to another supply shock. This bill would permanently eliminate trade barriers to encourage the import of FDA-compliant infant formula, bringing prices down for parents in the near term and staving off a potential future crisis.”
“As a mom of two, I know firsthand how critical it is to be able to find formula for your baby,” said Sen. Katie Britt. “During the formula shortage last year, too many families were forced to confront the unthinkable, often desperately searching and coming up empty-handed. Permanently waiving these tariffs on allied countries gives parents greater access to formula. I’m proud to join my colleagues in bringing forward this bipartisan legislation that will ensure American families are able to provide their children with critical, life-sustaining nutrition.”
“The FORMULA 3.0 Act seeks to provide a much-needed permanent response to the ongoing infant formula shortage that would ensure additional market flexibility in both good times and bad while tearing down artificial barriers that have long made it difficult for parents to obtain their formula of choice. During the severe domestic supply shortages of 2022, tariffs and other restrictions on imported infant formula had a detrimental effect on the market’s ability to respond. Congress rightfully recognized the ability of freer trade to help remedy the situation, albeit only temporarily. To build off that success in a permanent context, the R Street Institute is pleased to support the FORMULA 3.0 Act,” said Jerry Theodorou, Policy Director for Finance, Insurance and Trade.