For Immediate Release
May 27, 2022
Murray Continues To Fail Washington Moms
PASCO, WA – On Thursday, during a conference call with concerned Washingtonians, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) continued to try and to cover-up her role in the nation’s baby formula supply crisis.
Tiffany Smiley said: “No one in America had a bigger megaphone to speak out than Patty Murray, but she sat on her hands for nearly three months and said absolutely nothing while supplies of baby formula dwindled from store shelves. As HELP Committee chairwoman, Patty Murray has FDA oversight and could have used her position to mitigate the shortage we all saw coming 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.”
As reported by the Seattle Times, Murray held a conference call to update concerned Washingtonians about the state of the baby formula supply crisis; however, she continued to avoid addressing her role in allowing this crisis to develop. At no point did Murray explain why she allowed critical months to pass before she spoke out. In fact, between February and May, Murray spoke more often in support of eliminating Daylight Savings Time (once) than she did about the oncoming baby formula supply crisis (zero).
As Chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Murray has oversight over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Murray could have used her position to hold hearings, hold press conferences, and demand the FDA take action to get out front before supply issues became a supply crisis. Furthermore, Murray could have also worked with the private sector to incentivize other manufacturers to increase production to fill the void. However, Murray did nothing.
Instead, Murray has continually referenced a February 24th letter that she wrote the FDA in a pitiful attempt to explain her response to the crisis, but the text of that February letter tells a very different story than the one spun by Murray today. Murray’s letter focused on contamination of baby formula, not the potential shortage of baby formula that would result from this recall. Even worse for Washington moms, nowhere in her letter does Murray ask the company – or subsequently 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).
While Murray sat silent, the co-author of her letter to the FDA – Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) – requested answers from the FDA about what steps they were taking to ensure infant formula remained on the shelves (U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Press Release, “Casey, Brown Urge FDA Action On Recalled Baby Formula,” April 11, 2022). It was not until May 13, 2022 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 did nothing beyond sending a letter that had nothing to do with the oncoming supply shortage and she only moved when public outrage demanded action. That’s not leadership, that’s not forward thinking, that’s a failure of the public trust and Washington families must hold Patty Murray accountable,” concluded Smiley.