Earlier today, the House conducted the final vote on the American Rescue Plan, the Biden-Harris' administration's $1.9 trillion COVID-relief packages. The bill includes $880 million in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), including $490 million to enhance WIC benefits for four months and $390 million in outreach, innovation, and program modernization funding. Additionally, the legislation includes a one-year expansion on the child tax credit, which will increase household benefits to $3,000 per child, and a $600 bonus for children under 6. The American Rescue Plan is now headed to President Biden, who is expected to sign on Friday.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association, issued the following statement in response:
“Families with young children are a step closer to getting the COVID relief President Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris promised Americans, with the final bill's passage today in the House. The inclusion of the critical WIC investments addresses some of the many problems facing American families in this public health pandemic, including nutrition insecurity. The National WIC Association applauds the House and Senate for quickly advancing this crucial legislation. It will help millions of families who continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The bill temporarily expands the WIC food package value by more than tripling the fruit and vegetable benefit for four months. This historic investment in access to healthy foods complements the need for robust produce markets to help support struggling fruit and vegetable producers also caught in the pandemic's vice. The bill’s provisions to support funding for WIC outreach, innovation, and program modernization are critical to expanding WIC's public health impact and ensuring that more families can access WIC's quality nutrition services to provide their children healthy starts.
“The WIC investments available through the American Rescue Plan will help WIC meet the 21st century access needs of WIC moms and their families. WIC’s entrepreneurial staff transitioned – for public health reasons – to remote access during this pandemic and these investments will make it possible for WIC to continue to reduce access barriers, speed certifications, and meet clients on their mobile and other tech devices.
“NWA is grateful to our many grassroots WIC champions and colleague organizations who played a key role in helping advocate the effectiveness of WIC's services and the long-term health value of WIC's nutrition support for young families. Together they helped NWA urge Congress to make these crucial life-changing investments in children's health. This bill sets the stage for an economic recovery with necessary investments. Still, more steps should be taken in the months ahead to strengthen the nation’s safety net and move more families out of poverty. The National WIC Association looks forward to President Biden signing his signature American Rescue Plan into law and to supporting WIC agencies in their efforts to serve our nation’s families.”