Rev. Greenaway: “Stopgap funding measures provide temporary relief. But they fail to assure WIC moms and their families that the science-based WIC vegetable and fruit benefit bump can be counted on for healthy meals. It’s time for appropriators to set aside partisan demands to assure that WIC families don’t fall through the cracks.”
Later today, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on a continuing resolution that would extend federal funding levels through February 18, 2022. The continuing resolution includes an anomaly provision that will extend the WIC benefit bump through March 31, 2022 – maintaining current levels of $24/month for children, $43/month for pregnant and postpartum participants, and $47/month for pregnant and postpartum month for breastfeeding participants. Without action through this continuing resolution, the enhanced benefit levels for fruits and vegetables would have expired on December 31, 2021, and benefits would have reverted to $9/month for children and $11/month for adult participants.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association, issued the following statement in response:
“Since April, WIC has partnered with retail grocers, farmers, and farmers markets to ensure over 4.7 million participants could purchase more vegetables and fruits. This science-based investment ensures that families have increased access to nutrient-dense foods during the pandemic, as families with young children continue to struggle to put food on the table and childhood obesity rates are rising. Make no mistake: the WIC benefit bump is one of the most substantial investments in healthy food access and improved maternal and child nutrition since WIC’s establishment in 1974. Today’s last-minute agreement in Congress would extend the WIC benefit bump for an additional three months, doubling down on an effective nutrition intervention that is meaningfully expanding access to nutritious foods for low-income families and strengthening child health outcomes.
“Stopgap funding measures provide temporary relief. But they fail to assure WIC moms and their families that the science-based WIC vegetable and fruit benefit bump can be counted on for healthy meals. WIC providers have worked around the clock to reset benefits for all eligible individuals manually. Some states need families to visit clinics to receive additional value to purchase vegetables and fruits. Stopgap policy, set moments before a funding deadline, exacerbates administrative inefficiencies. It’s time for appropriators to set aside partisan demands to ensure that WIC families don’t fall through the cracks. We look forward to working with legislative leaders to obtain full-year appropriations bills before the February 18 deadline.”