White House struggles for answers on infant formula shortage
(CNN) The White House is struggling to answer questions about a baby formula shortage in the United States as the scope of the crisis becomes clearer and store shelves remain bare.
American stores have had a hard time keeping baby formula in stock for months due to a recall, inflation and supply chain problems.
Manufacturers have said they are producing at full capacity, but it's not enough to keep up with demand.
The report, released Tuesday, showed that the out-of-stock rate for baby formula in the US was at 43% for the week ending May 8.
By comparison, in the first half of 2021, when the supply of formula was considered stable, the out-of-stock rate was between 2% and 8%.
The announcement came after Biden spoke with formula retailers and manufacturers -- including the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Target, Reckitt and Gerber -- to discuss the ongoing crisis.
Specifically, Psaki said, Biden discussed how Reckitt and Gerber have increased production amid a formula recall by Abbott Nutrition.
And the conversation with Wal-Mart and Target focused on their work to stock shelves with formula including in rural areas.
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday expressed urgency about addressing the situation.
Pelosi said that House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro is taking the lead on the issue in the House.
McConnell issued a statement blasting the administration for its handling of the formula shortage, saying, "This problem has been developing in slow motion for several months now, but the Biden administration has been characteristically sluggish and halting in response."
"But the Biden administration has been too slow and passive about getting production back up and running.