Jordan Baker email@example.com
WASHINGTON, September 27, 2023 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and over 600 national, state, and local organizations signed a letter in a unified plea to Congress to immediately pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will avert a government shutdown and protect funding for federal nutrition programs, especially the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to ensure the program can continue providing all who are eligible with the nutrition they need without interruption.
Although the bipartisan Continuing Resolution coming out of the Senate grants the authority to shift funding for WIC to the short-term, it sets up a deficit for the program in the future. FRAC says Congress must ensure that funding for WIC is included in the CR and additional funding is included in the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Agriculture Appropriations package to support a rising caseload in addition to back filling the funding that is being advanced to fill caseloads in October.
“It is unprecedented that WIC participants are caught in the political crosshairs. Forcing WIC to turn away nutritionally at-risk new mothers and young children will jeopardize their health and wellness,” said Luis Guardia, president of FRAC. “WIC’s critical nutrition support is needed — this is no time to shortchange it.”
More than 6.7 million women, young children and infants rely on WIC to access healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding counseling and support, and health care and social service referrals. Research shows that participation in WIC is tied to a number of health benefits, including healthier pregnancies and increased access to health care services.
Guardia warned that the repercussions of a long-term government shutdown would extend beyond WIC.
While Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients’ October payments are safeguarded due to a 2021 U.S. Department of Agriculture government shutdown contingency plan to ensure uninterrupted SNAP operation, a prolonged shutdown could disrupt benefits after October. Additionally, the Child and Adult Care Food Program would be in jeopardy. Disrupted reimbursements would seriously impair already cash-strapped child care programs’ ability to continue serving healthy meals and snacks to 4.5 million children.
“Our nation is still reeling from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we cannot afford delays in the delivery of essential programs that ensure food security. Congress must act now so that government agencies can provide essential support. Hungry people can’t wait,” said Guardia.
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.