WASHINGTON — Administration officers struggled on Thursday to elucidate how President Biden’s resolution to invoke a Chilly Battle-era statute will assist alleviate the shortage of baby formula that has left determined mother and father looking for methods to feed their infants.

On Wednesday, Mr. Biden authorized the use of the Defense Production Act in an effort to make sure that formulation producers had entry to the components and supplies they should ramp up manufacturing. Shortages developed after Abbott Laboratories, which controls 48 p.c of the child formulation market, voluntarily recalled some of its most popular products in February and shuttered a plant in Sturgis, Mich., over issues about potential contamination.

However a senior administration official, who spoke to reporters Thursday on the situation of anonymity, declined to say whether or not any formulation corporations reported having hassle getting components or supplies in a well timed method.

In response to quite a few questions concerning the potential impression of the president’s resolution, the official repeatedly stated the administration was “having energetic and ongoing conversations with the businesses” however declined to say what the businesses had requested and even whether or not the corporations had recognized issues that wanted authorities help.

The official additionally couldn’t reply how a lot quicker the administration believed formulation would attain shoppers with the invocation of the Protection Manufacturing Act. And the official declined to reply when requested why Mr. Biden didn’t authorize the usage of the regulation weeks and even months in the past, when the shortages started after the plant closure.

The official stated solely that the administration had “been clear from the outset that we’re going to pull each lever that we are able to discover when we have to deploy a lever” and added that invoking the Protection Manufacturing Act “builds on” earlier actions that the administration has taken.

In an announcement, Abbott Laboratories stated the act “could be an efficient software to prioritize uncooked supplies and guarantee provide of specialised elements.”

“We’re already specific air-freighting toddler formulation from our F.D.A.-registered facility in Eire and welcome any help that these added measures can present in slicing purple tape, growing quantity of imports and dashing up transport time from abroad to the U.S.,” the corporate stated.

Mr. Biden’s White Home has accelerated its response to the scarcity of child formulation in current days as media studies concerning the impression on households has elevated. This week, there have been several reports of babies and infants who had been taken to hospitals as a result of their mother and father couldn’t discover the specialised child formulation they wanted.

In a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday, Mr. Biden stated, “I do know mother and father all throughout the nation are anxious about discovering sufficient toddler formulation to feed their infants. As a mother or father and as a grandparent, I do know simply how annoying that’s.”

On Monday, the Meals and Drug Administration introduced it will relax guidelines for imports of child formulation from different nations in an effort to restock cabinets in the US. On Wednesday, Mr. Biden additionally introduced a plan to make use of planes contracted by the Protection Division to assist pace the import of formulation.

A second administration official on Thursday stated corporations with formulation to ship into the US may use the Protection Division planes after “some negotiations.” The formulation could be flown to the businesses’ amenities in the US, the place it will be inspected by the F.D.A. earlier than being distributed to retail areas throughout the nation.

The primary administration official stated that the White Home was “actively in conversations and discussions with producers about the place there may be cargo world wide that may be appropriate for that process.” The official declined to disclose which corporations the administration was in discussions with.

The Protection Manufacturing Act was created to present the federal government the facility to make sure the circulation of weapons throughout wartime.

However through the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald J. Trump invoked it as a manner of accelerating the manufacturing of non-public protecting gear for hospital employees and the manufacture of vaccines and different medicine to combat Covid-19. Earlier this yr, Mr. Biden invoked the regulation to extend home manufacturing of vital minerals and metals wanted for applied sciences like electrical automobiles.

A number of congressional Democrats on Wednesday praised the president for taking motion, saying that the administration ought to do every thing potential to resolve the shortages. Some Republicans, nonetheless, criticized the administration for misusing the act.

“It appears the administration has no use for the phrase ‘protection’ in Protection Manufacturing Act,” Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, stated in an announcement. He accused Mr. Biden of “misusing the D.P.A. statute each time there’s a brief product scarcity.”

Utilizing the Protection Manufacturing Act may cause disruptions to provide chains that ripple throughout the nation, making it an answer that officers typically say must be a final resort. However as he invoked the act on Wednesday, Mr. Biden stated it was a necessary transfer.

“Sufficient provide of toddler formulation is vital to the well being and security of the thousands and thousands of youngsters who depend upon the formulation for important vitamin,” he stated within the official memorandum authorizing the usage of the regulation. “The Federal Authorities has labored within the final a number of months to deal with the shortfall in toddler formulation, however extra measures are wanted to make sure an ample provide of toddler formulation in the US and thereby shield the well being and well-being of our Nation’s youngsters.”

Ana Swanson contributed reporting.