AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republicans aiming to retake control of Congress have already sharpened a message centering around blaming Democrats for high inflation, expensive gas, migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and violent crime in some cities.
But GOP leaders landed on an issue this week that it hopes could prove even more potent: tying President Joe Biden to a shortage in baby formula.
Parents are suddenly running into bare supermarket and pharmacy shelves in part because of ongoing supply disruptions and a recent safety recall. But in an election year that was already shaping up to be rocky for Democrats, Republicans sense that the shortage could prove to be an especially tangible way to argue that Biden is incapable of quickly solving problems confronting the U.S.
“This is not a Third World country,” said GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the chair of the House Republican conference. “This should never happen in the United States of America.”
The administration has sometimes been slow in responding to sudden political threats, perhaps most notably when signs of inflation began to surface last year. The White House appears determined not to repeat that mistake, announcing on Friday that formula maker Abbott Laboratories committed to give rebates through August for a food stamp-like program that helps women, infants and children called WIC.
Biden insisted there’s “nothing more urgent we’re working on” than addressing the shortage.
Asked if his administration had responded as quickly as it should have, Biden said, ”If we’d been better mind readers, I guess we could’ve. But we moved as quickly as the problem became apparent.”
But the defense by the White House illustrates how finger-pointing at the Biden administration has already spread far and wide among Republicans in Washington, on television and on social media. It’s a new issue for the GOP …read more