Guess Republicans Just Love Starving Babies And High Gas Prices
crying baby leo | I am glad this is not the "how I feel toda… | Flickr

Good news! The House passed two bills yesterday to help with the baby formula crisis. First off, there's the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, which would appropriate $28 million to the FDA so it can quickly approve imported baby formulas and ensure the agency is better prepared for such shortages in the future so this does not happen again. Second is the Access to Baby Formula Act, which would ensure that low-income families have access to baby formula through the WIC program.

If you're a person who hates it when babies starve to death, you probably think these are some pretty good bills and are relieved to know someone is doing something about this.

And yet 192 Republicans voted against the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act. Only 12 of them joined the 100 percent of Democrats in passing this bill. Those Republicans were "Reps. Don Bacon (Neb.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), David McKinley (W.Va.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Mike Turner (Ohio), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Ann Wagner (Mo.)."


We can be assured that all of those who voted against this bill consider themselves very "pro-life."

The reasoning given by Maryland Rep. Andy Harris was that this was just "reckless spending."

“I rise in opposition tonight to H.R. 7790, the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, a bill that just continues the majority’s reckless spending spree without actually fixing the infant formula crisis this administration caused,” he claimed.

To be clear, the Biden administration had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. The formula shortage happened due to a recall of baby formula produced by Abbott Laboratories after four infants contracted serious bacterial infections (cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport) after using the formula. Joe Biden did not sneak in there in the dead of night and spike the baby formula supply with germs.

The Access to Baby Formula Act was more popular, and only nine Republicans votedagainst that — Andy Biggs, Thomas Massie, Clay Higgins, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

But starving babies is not the only thing the GOP apparently loves — they also love super high gas prices, looks like! (Easier to attack Biden for "high gas prices" when gas prices are high, we guess!) Republicans in the House Rules Committee successfully blocked the "Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act," a bill that would have lowered gas prices for consumers at the pump.

Specifically, it would have made it unlawful for "any person to sell a consumer fuel, at wholesale or retail, in an area and during a period of an energy emergency" at a price that "is unconscionably excessive" or which "indicates the seller is exploiting the circumstances related to an energy emergency to increase prices unreasonably."

The emergency energy periods would be declared by the president and last no longer than 30 days, but could then be renewed depending on the circumstances.

Basically what it means is that oil companies can't exploit national emergencies to jack up their prices, increase their own profits and hurt consumers.

Calling it the "Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act," Republicans railed against the bill, which they warned would be like implementing "socialist price controls" and claiming it would lead to "rationing" and long lines at gas stations like in the '70s. This doesn't even make sense, and not just because that's not what socialism is. The 1973 gas crisis was caused by OAPEC declaring an embargo on oil, not by "price controls." The price per barrel was also significantly raised. In our case right now, the price of oil is going down, but there's been no corresponding decrease at the pumps, and Exxon is out here bragging that it's made record profits.

What they would prefer, as per Washington GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, would be "unleashing American energy production," i.e. giving oil companies more access to public lands for drilling, a thing that is already happening. Nearly 26 million acres of public land are leased to oil and gas companies.

McMorris-Rodgers is also a big fan of fracking, because we guess allowing corporations to profit is more important than Americans having drinking water.

Each of these choices has consequences. The consequence of doing nothing is high gas prices. The consequence of "unleashing American energy" is contaminated water and other environmental hazards and probably also high gas prices. The consequence of implementing laws to combat price gouging is that oil companies can't charge you a ridiculous amount of money for gas just because they can.

Given the choice, would Americans choose "socialism" and lower gas prices or "not socialism" and higher gas prices? Would they really rather pay more for gas than have to live with the fact that the government is doing not-really-socialism to the poor big oil companies? It's possible! But what those people should know is that our government is already doing socialism to those poor extremely rich oil companies — in the form of fossil fuel subsidies.

As Martin Luther King said:

Whenever the government provides opportunities in privileges for white people and rich people they call it “subsidized” when they do it for Negro and poor people they call it “welfare.” The fact that is the everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our white brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of 90 percent. Everybody is on welfare in this country. The problem is that we all to often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem.

Sure, there are a lot of people still doing duck and cover, who would still be willing to pay ridiculous prices for gas if it helps some poor rich person get even more extremely rich. But at some point people are going to start to catch on that Republicans call pretty much everything that would benefit regular folks instead of the extremely rich "socialism."

There's not a specifically capitalist solution to problems created by capitalism. If we didn't have 83 percent of all baby formula being made by three companies, because monopolies, we wouldn't be in this situation. There's not a specifically capitalist solution to price gouging, because it's not caused by anything other than a desire for more money. If that were the case, these things would get fixed on their own, because laissez-faire would be the way to go. But they're very obviously not getting fixed on their own. If the big sacrifice Americans have to make to feed their children and drive their cars is that Republicans are going to whine and call things "socialism," that seems like the best way to go.

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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