For Immediate Release
June 2, 2022
90% Of Washington Is Out Of Baby Formula And Patty Murray Is To Blame
PASCO, WA – The Smiley for Washington campaign issued the following statement as Washington’s out-of-stock baby formula rate now exceeds 90%.
Tiffany Smiley said: “Patty Murray is to blame for Washington’s baby formula crisis. Patty Murray is supposed to be an advocate for women, but she did nothing when Washington moms needed her most. Senator Murray chairs the Senate Health Committee, she could have held the FDA accountable, she could have worked with the industry to fill the supply void, but she did nothing for nearly three months. Washington moms will remember Patty Murray’s silence, and we will speak loudly this November.”
As reported by Bloomberg, the baby formula crisis continued worsen over the past week, with the national out-of-stock rate climbing to 74%. However, one in five states saw out-of-stock rates exceeding 90% - including Washington.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) had the ability to fix this problem before it became a crisis, but she did nothing for nearly three months once the problem was uncovered. As Chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, with oversight over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Murray sat silent for nearly three months, did nothing about the oncoming shortage – abdicating her responsibilities as a United States Senator.
Murray has rested the defense of her response to the baby formula shortage on a letter she wrote the FDA on February 24th. The text of that February letter tells a very different story than the one spun by Murray today, though. Murray’s letter focused on contamination of baby formula; however, nowhere in her letter does Murray address the potential shortage of baby formula as a result of this recall and nowhere in her letter does Murray ask the company – or the FDA – for contingencies in getting baby formula to the shelves (U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Press Release, “Murray, Casey Demand Answers Following Abbott Recall of Contaminated Infant Formula,” February 24, 2022).
Murray was then silent for nearly three months, despite having oversight over the FDA and the ability to shine a spotlight on the oncoming crisis as the HELP Committee Chair. It was not until May 13th that Murray called for formula manufacturers to address this crisis (U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Press Release, “Murray, Casey, Democrats Push Infant Formula Manufacturers To Address Crisis, Get Formula On Shelves ASAP,” May 13, 2022). By then, it was too late for thousands of Washington families, and millions more across the country.
Patty Murray took her eye off the ball. During her 78 days of silence, Murray issued more public statements on ending Daylight Savings Time (one) than she did on the baby formula crisis (zero). She could have used her position to mitigate the shortage by pushing the FDA to relax regulations, incentivize the other manufacturers to increase production, and forcing the FDA to help the Abbott plant re-open faster. But Patty Murray did nothing.
Washington moms will remember Patty Murray’s silence, and they will speak loudly this November.