National WIC Association: “This budget connects the dots, investing effective measures that enhance access to nutritious foods and set the stage for a healthier next generation.”
This morning, the White House released President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2023. The proposed budget includes $6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), including an extension of the increased Cash Value Benefit (CVB) for fruits and vegetables through fiscal year 2023. The President’s Budget also outlines the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plans to update the WIC food packages to reflect science-based recommendations consistent with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Since April 2021, WIC providers have been able to issue higher Cash Value Benefit (CVB) levels for fruits and vegetables under the American Rescue Plan Act and fiscal year 2022 appropriations. Before this WIC benefit bump, children received $9/month and adults received $11/month for fruits and vegetables. The WIC benefit bump increases those values to $24/month for children, $43/month for pregnant and postpartum participants, and $47/month for breastfeeding participants.
Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:
“As the Administration prioritizes consistent access to nutritious foods for all Americans, the President’s Budget wisely puts WIC front-and-center and calls for an extension of the effective WIC benefit bump through fiscal year 2023, ensuring that more than 4.75 million women and children participating in WIC can access more fruits and vegetables. Over the past year, the WIC benefit bump led to a measurable increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables by young children, introducing new varieties of healthy foods to children at a critical time for the development of taste preferences. Especially as our nation continues to navigate the public health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, this vital assistance ensures that new parents can set their children up for future life success.
“This budget connects the dots, investing effective measures that enhance access to nutritious foods and set the stage for a healthier next generation. Earlier this month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack laid out the connections between chronic diet-related conditions and increased health risk associated with COVID-19 and called for thoughtful measures to build nutrition security as a means of reducing healthcare expenditures and assuring a healthier population. WIC has a nearly five-decade record of improving health outcomes and dietary quality, resulting in healthcare cost savings and bringing participants’ diets into further alignment with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As the Administration plans for a post-pandemic future, we must build the bridge from short-term increases in the WIC benefit to a permanent WIC benefit bump, enshrined in regulation. In detailing the nation’s first-ever nutrition security agenda, Secretary Vilsack centered the forthcoming WIC food packages, reflecting science-based recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences-- a priority that is echoed in the White House budget. The National WIC Association looks forward to elevating these priorities in the months ahead and securing a healthy start for all children through investments in fiscal year 2023 appropriations.”