CHN calls on Senate to increase funds for WIC in temporary spending measure
Editor’s note: The Coalition on Human Needs today delivered a letter to U.S. Senators calling for more funding for WIC as part of a concurrent resolution that must pass in order to keep the federal government open and running. A copy of the letter is below. You can download a PDF version here.
On behalf of the Coalition on Human Needs, we have been heartened at reports that the Senate will draft a continuing resolution to allow continued government operations while full-year FY 2024 funding negotiations proceed. A responsible short-term funding bill must prevent loss of vitally needed services. That is why it is urgently necessary for you to include additional funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in the CR. If you do not include a downpayment on the funding necessary to keep pace with WIC’s caseload and increased food prices, you will be breaking the commitment Congress has long made to ensure that eligible mothers and children under age 5 get the nutrition they need for health and development. As the National WIC Association has warned: “Without the urgent investment of additional funds, state WIC offices could soon be forced to consider waiting lists for prospective participants — a drastic step not seen in nearly 30 years.”
The Coalition on Human Needs is an alliance of more than 100 national organizations representing human service providers, faith groups, policy experts, and labor, civil rights and other advocates concerned with meeting the needs of people with low incomes. We reach active and informed advocates across the nation, and we know they join us in demanding that mothers and young children must not be turned away from the nutritious food that WIC supplies. This past weekend alone, more than 20,000 emailed letters have so far been sent to Congress urging that WIC be fully funded and a CR enacted to keep the government running. These letters are in addition to more than 110,000 similar recent letters emailed to Congress earlier this month. These are only the letters sent by individuals we are aware of – your constituents and many others across the nation across party lines support WIC and recognize that it improves the growth and health of infants and children.
The need for WIC is urgent. Very recent Census Household Pulse survey data (August 23 – September 4 of this year) finds that 11.4 million people with children reported that their households sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the previous 7 days, or 14.3 percent of people with children. Among households with children with incomes of less than $50,000, more than 28 percent said that they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the past week. Among the households with WIC benefits (whose incomes are in a similar range), close to one in four (23.7 percent) similarly went without enough food. Families that receive WIC have low incomes; they need this help. Failure to provide adequate WIC funding will mean these alarming numbers of mothers and children going without will get worse.
Please do not allow parents and children to go without enough nutritious food. Your responsibility is clear: please enact a continuing resolution that keeps the government open, that includes urgently needed funding for WIC and other vital programs, and is not entangled with extraneous provisions including those denying humanitarian protections at the border.