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Jen Psaki's old statement on the Defense Production Act and baby formula shows the White House didn't understand how the Defense Production Act could be used

As we told you last night, President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he’s invoking the Defense Production Act to increase the domestic production of baby formula.

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Here’s his official announcement:

Now, this might be news to his former press secretary, Jen Psaki, who pushed back on reporters who asked about using the Defense Production Act and claimed that the president couldn’t just, you know, invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the baby formula supply:

Transcript:

“The production of a baby formula is so specialized and so specific that you can’t just use the Defense Production Act to say to a company that produces something else, produce baby formula. It just doesn’t work that way exactly.”

But what’s even worse for Psaki and the White House is that her statement from May 13 shows they had no idea just how the administration *could* use the Defense Production Act.

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The short answer, from the Washington Post, is that the administration isn’t directing companies to *make* baby formula but they’re directing suppliers of ingredients to sell to baby formula manufacturers first:

The Biden administration will use the law to require suppliers of key ingredients to prioritize delivery to baby-formula producers over other customers, the White House said.

Exit question for the White House: Why didn’t you do this weeks ago?

  • Invoking the Defense Production Act. To ensure that manufacturers have the necessary ingredients to make safe, healthy infant formula here at home, President Biden is invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA). The President is requiring suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good. Directing firms to prioritize and allocate the production of key infant formula inputs will help increase production and speed up in supply chains.

Exit questions 2 and 3: Will this even do anything to increase supply? Were companies actually having supply issues?

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Related:

Biden has a plan to get baby formula back on the shelves but the name of it will leave you scratching your head

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