National WIC Association

July 27, 2022

House Committee Advances Child Nutrition Bill with Urgently Needed WIC Reforms

National WIC Association: "With remote services hanging in the balance through extensions of the public health emergency, it is time for the Senate to take the baton and advance this process to achieve permanent reforms."

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Earlier today, the House Education and Labor Committee approved H.R. 8450, the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act. WIC and other child nutrition programs - including the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), schools meals, and summer feeding programs - have not been reauthorized since 2010.

Brian Dittmeier, senior director of public policy for the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:

"In the more than six years since a Congressional committee last considered reauthorizing child nutrition programs, WIC providers have continuously adapted to align with commercial innovations and respond to unprecedented public health challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency flexibilities demonstrate the potential of necessary reforms that will streamline access to WIC services, modernize the participant experience, and enhance nutrition and health outcomes for WIC's target population.

"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, phone and video appointments have remedied long-standing barriers to access and contributed to a 10 percent increase in child participation. We applaud Chairman Scott and Chair Bonamici for their leadership in shepherding a comprehensive package through the House Education and Labor Committee that incorporates meaningful lessons learned while operating during COVID-19. But with remote services hanging in the balance through extensions of the public health emergency, it is time for the Senate to take the baton and advance this process to achieve permanent reforms.

"Three of the several bipartisan bills incorporated in the Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids Act are bicameral, including efforts to expand postpartum eligibility, close the WIC to Six gap, allow for remote certifications and improve transparency in the infant formula bidding process. We look forward to working with both parties to finalize and advance - this year - a common-sense and comprehensive reauthorization to deliver the reforms needed to support America's next generation."

More information about this policy and its impact on the WIC program can be found here. For additional comment, please contact Tim Ward at tward@nwica.org or 304-654-6397.

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The National WIC Association (NWA) is the non-profit membership organization for State and local providers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). NWA is the go-to voice of and for WIC staff at more than 12,000 WIC locations across the country who work to support more than 6.2 million mothers and young children. For over three decades, NWA has worked to build broad, bipartisan consensus for WIC’s programmatic goals and public health mission. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drive innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children, and their families. Learn more at www.nwica.org.