As Prepared For Delivery:
Hello, everyone. Thanks so much for joining today’s call.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—better known as WIC—is a vital program.
It means everything to the families who rely on it.
Don’t ask me—ask Sarah Manasrah.
At the time, she was struggling to make ends meet. Her housing was unstable. So was her income. Her spouse had started the immigration process. She didn’t know where to turn for help.
A public hospital referred her to WIC.
“It was a life-saver,” Sarah said.
Thanks to WIC, she could afford fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, and other staples. She received support with breastfeeding. She was provided bloodwork and other critical health screenings.
“These are not luxuries,” Sarah said. “These are necessities that parents and families need to survive.”
That’s why fully funding WIC continues to be a top priority for President Biden.
The evidence is clear.
WIC means healthier babies who are more likely to survive infancy. Down the line, those babies are more likely to receive medical care. As toddlers and schoolchildren, children who were on WIC perform better on tests of mental development and reading.
So, fully funding WIC should be a no-brainer. In fact, for 25 years, it has been a no-brainer.
There has been bipartisan support from Congress to make WIC available to every eligible person who applies for it.
The Biden-Harris Administration has repeatedly requested that Congress fully fund WIC in Fiscal Year 2024, but Congress hasn’t yet done so.
If Congressional Republicans pass a budget without fully funding WIC, states will have no choice but to cut the number of people they serve. People like Sarah.
States would be forced to implement waiting lists or take other devastating measures.
A new analysis released Tuesday shows that 2 million parents and young children could be turned away from WIC by September 2024 if Congress fails to provide full funding.
This is simply unacceptable.
Depriving eligible families of WIC would worsen hunger and hardship. No one deserves that.
As Sarah said, “I just really hope that Congress does not let our babies go hungry because that would just be the worst thing I can imagine.”
I couldn’t say it better myself.
Thank you. With that, I will turn it over to Xochitl Torres Small, Deputy Secretary of USDA. Deputy Secretary, thank you so much for your tireless leadership to ensure food access for families across America.