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Gillibrand Seeks Increase in WIC Funding


Ahead of a funding shortfall that could leave nearly 2 million low-income children and pregnant and postpartum women throughout the United States without food assistance, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for $1.4 billion in federal funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, health care referrals, and other important services to over 6.5 million low-income infants, young children, and pregnant and postpartum women nationwide.

New York’s junior senator said amid high food prices and growing need, WIC funding levels fall far short of what is needed to serve the projected caseload for the upcoming year. If Congress does not increase these funding levels, up to 2 million children and pregnant and postpartum women could be turned away from the program, upending over 25 years of bipartisan support for this critical program. Senator Gillibrand is calling for $1.4 billion to remedy this shortfall and ensure that low-income families can continue to access the critical assistance that WIC provides.

“WIC provides a lifeline for moms, babies, and young children, including 424,000 New Yorkers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “And as food prices remain high, more and more families are turning to the program for help. But WIC is facing a critical funding shortfall, and unless Congress acts, it will be forced to turn away as many as 2 million participants and applicants by September. That is an unacceptable outcome and I am determined to prevent it. I am calling for $1.4 billion for WIC in the upcoming funding bill to make sure the program can continue to provide the services millions of Americans rely on.”

If Congress fails to fully fund WIC, eligible applicants and current participants, primarily postpartum women who are not breastfeeding and children, could be put on waiting lists — leaving them without the services they rely on indefinitely. States will also likely be forced to reduce outreach, limit clinic hours, and leave staff vacancies unfilled to reduce spending, which will reduce participation in the program and prevent low-income families from accessing critical WIC services.

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