National WIC Association

Washington Update: Congressional Leadership and the White House No Closer to Ending Shutdown, NWA Urges Swift Action

January 4, 2019

As the federal government shutdown reaches the two-week mark, there remains no progress on a deal to reopen the government. Under White House pressure, the Senate has not yet brought up legislation that passed the House yesterday to reopen the government, including an Agriculture appropriations bill that would fund WIC through September 2019. The House legislation passed 239-192, with five Republicans voting alongside Democrats. The package of two bills reflect the measure passed late in the last Congress through the Republican-led Senate. Some Senate Republicans have called for this legislation to move forward, ending the government shutdown. Congressional leaders from both parties met with the president and key administration officials this afternoon. Leaders have stated that they intend to continue discussions through the weekend via aides. President Trump also confirmed that he started during the meeting that the shutdown could go on for months or even years, saying “absolutely, I said that.” President Trump and Senate leadership represent the key barriers to reaching a shutdown deal, now that the House has taken action.

NWA is deeply concerned about the inaction of the White House and Senate leadership as the shutdown heads into its third week. Though USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has taken action to make additional funds available to keep WIC clinics open past the end of the month, there are limited funds available to supplement what has already been allocated to states. WIC’s doors are open now and through the end of January, but clinics will not be able to operate indefinitely. Congress and the White House must take urgent action to reopen the government for the sake of the nation’s families.

Resources from NWA
In order to combat confusion or disinformation about the shutdown’s impact, NWA encourages all agencies to proactively elevate messaging that clarifies WIC’s continued operations. NWA has drafted talking points that may be useful as your agency navigates the shutdown. NWA has also shared the message on its Facebook and Twitter pages that WIC is open and operating during the shutdown through both organic (regular) posts and boosted (paid) posts. Agencies are welcome to save either of these two graphics (simple | graphic with and post them on their own social media sites. New today is a social media graphic in Spanish that agencies are also free to save and use.