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Military doing its part to help in baby formula crisis

The second cargo plane carrying thousands of pounds of baby formula from overseas is expected to arrive in the U.S. on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — The unprecedented nationwide shortage of baby formula has sent parents scrambling to feed their babies. Now, the U.S. government is taking action.

The  Air Force C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft that touched down in Indianapolis on Monday carried 132 pallets weighing 78,000 pounds of Nestle specialty infant formula from Germany.

Thus began what is being called "Operation Fly Formula" which aims to speed up the importation of infant formula from other countries, and to start getting more formula into stores as soon as possible. 

"We're trying to do something about the problem, not just complaining about it," said Rep. Bobby Scott (D, VA-03). "It's just great to see the realization of the plane coming in. And that was the first one. It won't be the last."

Scott, who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, led the push in Congress for the $28 million emergency H.R. 7791, the "Access to Baby Formula Act."

It will allow women to receive benefits through the federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) assistance program to expand access to baby formula. 

"We passed legislation in record time to allow those vouchers to be used for whatever formula is on the shelf, in case of emergencies," said Scott.

The White House said Tuesday that the Second Operation Fly Formula flight will arrive Wednesday at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. First Lady Jill Biden and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will be there to greet them.

That shipment will contain about 100,000 pounds of formula, which is said to equate to one million 8-ounce baby bottles.

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