Formula shortage reveals GOP’s compassion for American babies, anger over nourished immigrant ones

·5 min read

The baby formula shortage has led a number of Republicans to demonstrate their deep and abiding concern for the smallest among us, unless the "smallest" in question are ones Republicans don't want among us.

Texas Rep. Troy Nehls, for example, tenderly tweeted Thursday: "Baby formula should go to Americans before illegals. This should not have to be said."

Also not having to be said, apparently, is that undocumented children in U.S. care, by law, have to be fed. That and the whole "not feeding a baby is kind of wrong" thing, which in Nehls' mind must be morally negotiable.

Joining the chorus of kindness, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a heartfelt statement that read in part: “While mothers and fathers stare at empty grocery store shelves in a panic, the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border. … Our children deserve a president who puts their needs and survival first – not one who gives critical supplies to illegal immigrants before the very people he took an oath to serve.”

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A small amount of baby formula is displayed on the shelves of a grocery store with a sign limiting purchases in Indianapolis on May 10, 2022.
A small amount of baby formula is displayed on the shelves of a grocery store with a sign limiting purchases in Indianapolis on May 10, 2022.

Florida Rep. Kat Cammack, in a video posted on Facebook, said she is “so angry about this” fact that the government is giving food to infants in its care along the border. (I assume her anger is a form of love for all God’s children.)

Please take these babies' food

“These are your tax dollars going to buy formula” for the immigrant babies, she said, before claiming without evidence that the babies she would like to see starve are also tragic victims of “violence and trafficking,” and calling President Joe Biden the “trafficker in chief.”

I mean, clearly it breaks Cammack’s heart to see these innocent infants harmed in any way, shape or form, and all she wants is for the government to immediately take away their food so they go hungry.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent checks passports before taking recently arrived immigrants to a processing center on December 09, 2021 in Yuma, Arizona. Women and children were eventually taken to the nearly full facility but many of the men had to sleep outside until the next day near the border fence.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent checks passports before taking recently arrived immigrants to a processing center on December 09, 2021 in Yuma, Arizona. Women and children were eventually taken to the nearly full facility but many of the men had to sleep outside until the next day near the border fence.

Who says compassionate conservativism is dead?

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Some will argue the U.S. government is required under the Flores consent decree and basic human decency to provide undocumented immigrant children with food that is “appropriate for at-risk detainees’ age and capabilities (such as formula and baby food).”

At the same time, there is the humane quote from Nehls's tweet: “Baby formula should go to Americans before illegals.”

Those hungry babies can pound sand

So clearly these Republicans are addressing the baby-formula shortage through the scriptural philosophy of: “All lives are precious, except these little immigrant whiners over here. They can pound sand.”

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On Thursday, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the patron saint of logical consistency, said: “Food security is national security, and right now we have a food security crisis for the most vulnerable of Americans, the ones that we cherish the most, and that’s our babies.”

Yes. Our babies. But not other people’s babies, I guess.

I know some are going to see Greene’s concern about food insecurity as strange given that she and her Republican colleagues helped bring an end to the extended child-tax credit, which had lifted 3.7 million U.S. children out of poverty.

But were those really our children? Who's to say. Let’s assume they weren’t.

The party of parents?

And trust me, as GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York said Thursday: “There is a reason why the Republican Party is the party of parents.”

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Amen to that. The proof is in the simple fact that seven of the 10 states with the worst infant mortality rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are led by Republican governors: Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, South Dakota, Indiana and Ohio.

Whoops. Scratch that.

May 3, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Volunteer Laurie Chapman loads potatoes for Johnathon Gillespie and Neleah McDowell at the Lutheran Social Services food pantry.  Mandatory Credit: Doral Chenoweth-The Columbus Dispatch
May 3, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, United States; Volunteer Laurie Chapman loads potatoes for Johnathon Gillespie and Neleah McDowell at the Lutheran Social Services food pantry. Mandatory Credit: Doral Chenoweth-The Columbus Dispatch

The proof that the GOP is the party of parents is in the simple fact that, according to the Education Data Initiative, eight of the 10 states with the lowest public education spending are led by Republican governors: Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and Florida.

Feed the babies, starve the children

Hmmmm. Let’s put a pin in that one.

The proof that the GOP is the party of parents is in the simple fact that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, seven of the 10 states with the highest percentages of households that have experienced hunger are led by Republican governors: West Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Dang it. All these facts have a decidedly liberal slant to them.

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Shelves typically stocked with baby formula sit mostly empty at a store in San Antonio on May 10, 2022.
Shelves typically stocked with baby formula sit mostly empty at a store in San Antonio on May 10, 2022.

Anyway, the bottom line is this: The Republican party is zealously pro-life and all babies are precious and must be protected. Now please go down to the border and rip the formula from those immigrant babies’ tiny mitts so we can get back to making sure our babies have formula, shorter lifespans and a well-below-average chance at a decent education.

Thank you, and may God bless our unimpeachable logic.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baby formula shortage reveals Republican sentiment on migrant babies