For immediate release
National WIC Association Urges Federal Government to Keep WIC Operational
Association’s Leader Reminds Public that WIC is Open
For more information, contact: Stephen Padre, Media Manager
WASHINGTON—As the partial shutdown of the federal government approaches the three-week mark, the National WIC Association (NWA) is expressing growing concern over funding and the government’s ability to keep the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program fully operational over the coming weeks if the shutdown continues.
Yesterday, just hours before President Trump addressed the nation in a nationally televised address regarding the situation at the southern border wall, which has been at the center of the shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which funds WIC, announced to the media that it had found adequate funding to keep WIC, SNAP and other child nutrition programs operational through February. Until yesterday’s announcement, USDA had not been in contact with state WIC agencies nor taken the actions it had promised states, which was to make additional sources of funding available at the beginning of the shutdown in December.
Although USDA has indicated that it will bring key employees off furlough to help push funds out to states, NWA remains concerned about the department’s ability to keep all 90 state WIC agencies afloat through February. NWA hopes to see follow-through on USDA’s promise.
“As always, our focus and concern remains on WIC babies, toddlers and moms, who are the most at-risk in this situation,” said Rev. Douglas A. Greenaway, President and CEO of NWA. “We want to see WIC nutrition benefits and services continue without reduction or interruption across the country, and USDA, the president and Congress need to make sure WIC has the resources it needs to operate fully. The president and Congress need to resolve this ongoing crisis now.”
“WIC remains open for business during the shutdown,” Greenaway added, saying that this is also the most important message for the media, WIC agencies, and the government to convey during the shutdown. Since the shutdown began on December 22, NWA has been working to inform those entities as well as WIC mothers and their families and the general public that WIC remains operational and at normal levels.
While NWA is pleased that USDA’s actions yesterday, when implemented, will buy the program some more time before it faces serious funding difficulties, NWA remains concerned that a prolonged shutdown, which Trump has threatened, will drain WIC agencies of critical resources, potentially resulting in clinic closures and other adverse consequences to participants. Over 7 million mothers, pregnant women, babies and young children rely on WIC for access to nutritious food, breastfeeding support, infant formula, nutrition counseling and health and social service referrals.
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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 7 million mothers and young children. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drives innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children, and their families. Learn more at www.nwica.org.