FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Natalie Moran
Today, in a 219-209 vote, the House passed the American Rescue Plan, comprehensive COVID-19 public health and economic relief proposed by the Biden-Harris Administration. The House bill includes $880 million in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), including $490 million to enhance benefits for four months and $390 million in outreach innovation and program modernization funding.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association, issued the following statement in response:
“Families with young children need relief today, and House passage of the American Rescue Plan is a crucial step in delivering this much-needed assistance. Millions of families struggle to afford the nutritious foods needed to support their children’s growth. The House bill’s inclusion of critical WIC investments is an essential step to addressing nutrition insecurity and building stronger, healthier support for families. The National WIC Association applauds the House’s swift action to advance meaningful relief and make critical investments that will support the overall needs of families struggling with the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“WIC drives health equity – improving pregnancy, birth and child health outcomes – and reduces racial disparities for the nation. The House bill temporarily expands the value of the WIC benefit by more than tripling the fruit and vegetable benefit for a period of four months. This historic investment in access to healthy foods complements the need for new markets expressed by fruit and vegetable producers struggling during the pandemic. We thank Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA) and the late Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) for their bipartisan efforts to deliver this win-win solution for farmers and WIC families.
“We all know that for every $1 invested in WIC, our return on investment is at least $2.48 in medical, education, and productivity costs. WIC is transforming lives and saving taxpayers hundreds of millions in health care dollars. The additional funding for WIC outreach, innovation, and program modernization is critical to expanding WIC’s public health impact and ensuring that more families can access WIC’s quality nutrition services to provide their children with healthy starts. From the start, the Biden-Harris Administration and longtime champions like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Bobby Scott have understood the effectiveness of WIC’s services and the importance of WIC’s nutrition support on making lifelong investments in children’s health.
“The Senate must move with haste to advance this legislation, including not just the WIC-related provisions, but also crucial provisions to address the income and economic security of families raising young children. As families continue to struggle, the only concrete solution is to provide the overdue long-term relief needed until this public health and economic crises are resolved.”