Rep. Jodi Nelson in the Union Leader: NH delegation failing most vulnerable among us

WHEN I FIRST heard the news about the baby formula shortage mismanaged by the Biden administration, I was astonished. The most vulnerable among us are paying the price of the failures of the Democrat leadership in Washington.

According to Politico, in October of last year a whistleblower working at a baby formula facility in Michigan became concerned at lax cleaning practices and food and safety violations there.

On October 19th, the whistleblower sent a letter to Biden administration officials at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including Commissioner Janet Woodcock and Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Susan Mayne, among others. In the letter, the whistleblower laid out their concerns to the administration.

Unfortunately, these Biden officials didn’t take the complaints too seriously. The Biden administration’s FDA apparently didn’t interview the whistleblower until December and didn’t bother inspecting the plant until January 31st — three months after a red flag was raised.

On February 17th, baby formula from the plant was recalled and the plant was shut down. Two months later in April, at a congressional budget hearing, things were bad enough for even a Democrat to give a scorching rebuke of Biden’s handling of the growing crisis.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro asked, “Why did the FDA not spring into action? Why did it take four months to pull this formula off store shelves? How many infants were fed contaminated formula during this time?”

Given this administration’s track record, we may never get straight answers.

Originally, the Biden administration said they only knew about the shortage since February, but HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra recently admitted that they knew last year. They knew this crisis was coming and they didn’t do anything to stop it.

Thanks to Biden’s FDA, the baby formula shortage is still growing worse. According to the Wall Street Journal, 23% of powdered formula was out of stock the week of May 22. That is up from 11-percent — more than double — before the plant shut down.

Those familiar with the crisis don’t expect it to be solved anytime soon. “Industry experts and key Democrats on Capitol Hill know it will take months to restore supplies, especially in isolated, rural communities that are among the hardest hit,” Politico reporter Meredith Lee wrote last Wednesday.

While one congressional Democrat was willing to question the Biden administration on these failures, I’m disappointed that not one member of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation has been willing to do it.

Senator Maggie Hassan, Congressman Chris Pappas and Congresswoman Annie Kuster all pretend to be moderates who are willing to take a stand against the Biden administration, but when the time came to defend the most innocent among us they chose not to.

Leadership can at times require standing against your party, but New Hampshire’s congressional delegation has failed to do so.

Sen. Maggie Hassan and Representatives Chris Pappas and Ann Kuster are cowering. As a mother, I’m ashamed that they are willing to put their political futures ahead of the future of our nation’s children. As a friend of mothers who are searching sometimes for hours to find the formula their babies need, I know this is a real crisis affecting the most vulnerable in our state.

As a state representative, I know what real leadership looks like. Now is not the time to sit idly by, it’s the time to deliver results for the health of our children. Hassan, Pappas and Kuster’s constituents deserve results.

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