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The Food and Drug Administration's commissioner says a shuttered baby formula factory could be up and running by next week. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf faced congressional anger Thursday for not answering questions about whether his agency should have intervened earlier at the Michigan plant tied to a national formula shortage. Members of a House subcommittee questioned Califf about why the FDA didn’t step in when there were signs of problems at Abbott Nutrition's plant last fall before it was closed. The shortage has rattled parents and become a political headwind for President Joe Biden, who’s invoked the Defense Production Act to ease supply. Califf asked lawmakers for new food safety funding.

The Senate has approved a bill aimed at easing the baby formula shortage for families participating in a government assistance program known as WIC. That program accounts for about half of all formula purchases in the U.S. The House had passed the bill the day before, so it now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The vouchers can generally only be used to purchase one brand of infant formula, which encourages the manufacturer to offer big discounts to secure a state’s business. The bill makes it possible for families to redeem the WIC vouchers for whatever formula brand is available.

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced Thursday that a future destroyer will be named the USS Telesforo Trinidad in honor of a Filipino sailor who rescued two crew members when their ship caught fire more than a century ago. The news cheered Asian Americans and others who had lobbied for the honor. They said naming a ship for Trinidad would also honor the tens of thousands of Filipinos and Americans of Filipino descent who have served in the U.S. Navy since when the country was a U.S. territory. Del Toro said the future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will emphasize “the rich culture and history” of the Navy.

President Joe Biden’s pick to be the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator pledged Thursday to help reduce high inflation and provide clear rules to govern financial innovation. Michael Barr said he would be strongly committed to bringing down inflation to the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. Barr testified before the Senate Banking Committee, which is considering his nomination. He was a top Treasury Department official during the Obama administration and helped design the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations after the devastating 2008 financial crisis. He is now the dean of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates retreated modestly this week, but interest on the key 30-year loan remains at decade-high levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate slipped to 5.25% from 5.3% last week. By contrast, the average rate stood at 3% a year ago. Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve intensified its fight against the worst inflation in 40 years by raising its benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point and signaling more big rate hikes to come. Combined with higher home prices and persistent inflation, securing a home has become fraught with obstacles, especially for first-time buyers.

President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to speed production of infant formula and has authorized flights to import supply from overseas. He is facing mounting political pressure over a domestic shortage caused by the safety-related closure of the country’s largest formula manufacturing plant. The Defense Production Act order requires suppliers of formula manufacturers to fulfill orders from those companies before other customers. Biden is also authorizing the Defense Department to use commercial aircraft to fly formula supplies that meet federal standards from overseas to the U.S., in what the White House is calling “Operation Fly Formula.”