The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today introduced by Rep. Susan DelBene (WA-01) to remove trade tariffs on selected baby formula until the end of 2022.
Brought to the table in response to the baby formula shortage that swept the country earlier this year, the bill would remove tariffs on “safe formula from trusted foreign suppliers.”
Tariffs increase the cost of formula by 27% on average, and this suspension would allow for cheaper formula, according to a press release. The bill passed 421-2.
Rep. Rick W. Allen (GA-12) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), both Republicans, voted against the bill.
“This is a straightforward solution that will help communities around the country deal with this ongoing crisis,” DelBene said in the release.
The bill has only changed slightly since it was introduced. It initially suggested the tariffs be lifted until November, but the final version allows for five extra weeks. The bill’s name has also changed from the Affordable and Accessible Infant Formula Act to the Formula Act.
Trusted foreign suppliers, are countries that have similar production standards as the U.S. like Germany, Switzerland and England, said Nick Martin, DelBene’s communications lead.
“We don't want people to think that we're just importing any formula,” Martin said in an interview. “We’re importing formula we know and have confidence is safe.”
Martin said the bill’s sponsors are expecting the bill to be taken up in the Senate as early as next week. He said sponsors have worked closely with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
“I know things are usually pretty slow moving in the Senate,” Martin said, “but this is hopefully something that they can get done pretty quick.”
Martin said the DelBene team has been pleased by the significant bipartisan support the bill has seen.
“We have good prospects for the Senate,” he said. “Hopefully [they] can get this done, ideally in the next week. It'll help families.”