The following is a statement from Georgia Machell, Interim President & CEO of the National WIC Association, in response to Senate passage of a “minibus” appropriations bill that includes funding for food and nutrition programs under the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – “The National WIC Association is heartened that the Senate recognizes the need to increase WIC funding and sustain the higher fruit and vegetable benefit that has benefitted millions of women and children in recent years. But to ensure that WIC remains available for anyone who needs it now and in the future, we must consider this bill a first step, not a final one.
A recent analysis projects that even the Senate’s proposed funding level would fall significantly short of the 25-year, bipartisan commitment to fully fund the program to serve every eligible individual who seeks WIC services. Without significant additional investments, state WIC agencies would be forced to turn away an estimated 600,000 participants, which would mean taking healthy food from children and new moms and reversing years of progress in increasing program participation rates. This would represent an abdication of policymakers’ responsibility to prioritize the health and well-being of all children, especially those in families with low incomes.
We strongly urge Congress to provide WIC with additional resources in the upcoming continuing resolution to ensure the stability of the program into 2024 and beyond. House and Senate appropriators should work on a bipartisan basis to continue the nearly three-decade long tradition of fully funding WIC to serve the 7 million women, infants, and children projected to participate in the program next year.”