National WIC Association

January 19, 2018

Press Release: National WIC Association Demands Congressional Action to End Government Shutdown, Fund Federal Programs

Press Release: National WIC Association Demands Congressional Action to End Government Shutdown, Fund Federal Programs
Rev. Greenaway condemns “using children as political pawns.”

Press Contact: Natalie Mulloy

WASHINGTON – On January 19, 2018, members of Congress failed to reach an agreement on spending legislation. As a result, federal programs – including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – are not funded to operate and the federal government is shut down. WIC provides nutrition assistance and education for over 7 million low-income pregnant women, mothers, and children.

Rev. Douglas Greenaway, the National WIC Association’s President and CEO, issued the following statement in response:

“The National WIC Association demands swift Congressional action to pass a spending bill that puts an end to uncertainty and re-opens the federal government. Federal programs like WIC address crucial community needs and public health concerns. Over 7 million mothers, pregnant women, and children rely on the WIC program for access to nutritious food, infant formula, and breastfeeding support. At the start of a new year, members of Congress have left millions of families uncertain where they will find their next meal and how they will feed their young children.”

Diana Hoek, chair of the National WIC Association’s Board of Directors, added: “There significant health consequences when babies and young children do not have access to food. These consequences are especially dire for newborns and breastfeeding infants, who could lose access to infant formula and breastfeeding support. If the shutdown lasts for several weeks, families will be forced to make hard choices about how to feed their newborn babies.”

Rev. Greenaway continues:“The National WIC Association has watched with tremendous disappointment as the Children’s Health Insurance Program; community health centers; and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program were left unfunded for months. It is maddeningly ironic that Congress proves unable to fund bipartisan, longstanding public health programs after spending much of 2017 authorizing enormous tax cuts for billionaires and cash-flush corporations. While WIC clinics will remain open in the near term, a prolonged shutdown will result in clinic closures.

“Funding the government is the paramount responsibility of Congress, and Congress has abdicated this responsibility. We cannot accept using children as political pawns. The National WIC Association condemns this failure to reach a spending agreement and urges Congress and the Administration to act immediately to fund vital federal programs like WIC.”

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