WASHINGTON, D.C. - House and Senate leaders agreed on a deal that clears the way for finalizing fiscal 2024 appropriations bills, marking a crucial step toward averting a potential government shutdown. Party leaders announced the deal on Sunday, unlocking a $1.59 trillion budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The deal adheres to the total spending levels outlined in the prior year's debt limit agreement, allocating $886.3 billion for defense and $772.7 billion for non-defense programs. The urgency surrounding this agreement is underscored by the looming January 19 deadline for funding expiration for numerous federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, which administers the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Without additional investment from Congress, WIC faces the threat of a funding shortfall for the first time in nearly three decades, which could result in as many as 2 million eligible individuals being turned away from the program.
The following statement is attributed to NWA’s Interim President & CEO, Georgia Machell:
“We welcome the news that Congressional leaders have reached a deal on funding toplines, allowing negotiations to move forward on full-year spending bills. However, there are only days left before federal agriculture spending expires—and with it, funding for WIC. Congress must act quickly to reach a consensus on funding legislation.
“For more than 25 years, we have seen a bipartisan commitment to fully funding WIC, ensuring every eligible family seeking WIC services can receive them. Congress must uphold this commitment in upcoming spending bills and provide the resources necessary to serve WIC’s projected FY24 caseloads without turning any eligible individual away.”