Yesterday, the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022 by a vote of 25-5. The bill would allocate $6.278 billion in funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a $278 million increase over FY 2021 levels. Due to rescissions of unspent funds, this amounts to a $1.013 billion increase in WIC funding over FY 2021 levels.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:
“For decades, Senators from both parties have recognized the important role that WIC plays in building healthier starts for America’s children. Increased access to healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, is a critical step in preventing chronic diet-related conditions like obesity and diabetes that fuel national healthcare expenditures. Chair Tammy Baldwin and Ranking Member Hoeven crafted an excellent bill that further invests in WIC’s effective public health services while recognizing the program’s powerful impact on American agriculture.
“For the past few months, WIC participants received added value of up to $35 per month to purchase fruits and vegetables – but this benefits bump is expiring on September 30. With this bipartisan action in the Senate, both chambers’ appropriations bills would provide adequate funding to extend these benefits increase through September 2022. This common-sense investment unites the interests of agriculture and consumers by thoughtfully expanding markets for producers, meeting the shopping patterns of WIC participants, and doubling down on WIC’s scientific basis in shaping nutritious diets that lead to healthier outcomes for women, infants, and young children.
“With the September 30 deadline looming, WIC families cannot afford a gap. We applaud Chair Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Shelby for advancing the FY 2022 process and recognizing the bipartisan consensus behind investments in WIC, nutrition, and agriculture programs. We look forward to working with Congress in the weeks ahead to ensure that families continue to have increased access to nutritious foods, ensuring a healthy start for all children.”