Press contact: Natalie Moran
WASHINGTON - This morning, the New York Times reported that: “[a]t one point during one of the negotiations, Mr. Mnuchin had inquired what WIC, a nutritional program specifically for women, infants and children, was, according to a person familiar with the talks.”
The following statement can be attributed to Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association:
“With nearly 14 million children living in a household that is struggling to afford enough food, it is unconscionable that key Administration negotiators remain clueless to the federal supports that are available to help address the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. WIC providers have served communities for over forty years to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes, growing a healthier next generation. One out of every two babies born in this country receives critical WIC nutrition and health services. When looking for answers to the staggering economic fallout of COVID-19, WIC and other federal nutrition programs are a substantial and vital part of the solution.
“Throughout the crisis, WIC providers have been able to deliver remote services to sustain vital nutrition assistance while assuring the safety of clinic staff, participants, and their families. The flexibility to enable remote services is set to expire on September 30, unless Congress and the Administration take action to extend waiver authority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is dereliction of duty to let these waivers expire, forcing pregnant women to choose between nutrition assistance and putting their own health and the health of their families at risk. Why would anyone in Washington choose to starve states of the no-cost flexibility that they need to respond to this crisis?
“For months, WIC agencies – joining a chorus of other state and frontline providers – have raised the alarm about the need for additional relief. The House-passed HEROES Act included several critical provisions to remedy the burgeoning hunger crisis in America – by boosting SNAP benefits, expanding the Pandemic-EBT program, and enhancing WIC fruit and vegetable purchases. We reiterate our call for the Administration to return to the negotiating table with Congressional Democrats and advance a solution that works for American families."