WIC Open During Government Shutdown

Image: USDA

National WIC Association releases statement that while WIC remains open, a prolonged government shutdown could result in clinic closures and reduce participant resources.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of Congress and President Trump failed to reach an agreement on spending legislation. As a result, many federal agencies and programs, including the Department of Agriculture, which administers the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), are not funded to operate.

WIC provides nutrition assistance and education for more than 7 million low-income pregnant women, mothers and children. WIC state agencies have enough reserve funding to remain open during the shutdown if it does not become protracted.

Rev. Douglas Greenaway, the National WIC Association’s president and CEO, issued the following statement in response:

“The National WIC Association calls on Congress and the president to come to a quick agreement and take swift action to pass a spending bill that puts an end to uncertainty and re-opens the federal government before WIC funding runs out.

Editor’s Note: January 15, 2019. SNAP February payments to be released by January 20, 2019.

WIC remains open for business during the shutdown. WIC participants and retailers should be assured that WIC’s operations will continue normally for the time being. However, a prolonged shutdown will drain WIC agencies of critical resources, potentially resulting in clinic closures and other adverse consequences to participants. Over 7 million mothers, pregnant women, and children rely on WIC for access to nutritious food, infant formula, and breastfeeding support. The uncertainty and confusion that a shutdown causes is not only disruptive to people’s lives, but could also lead to significant health consequences if babies and young children lose access to nutritious foods and vital breastfeeding support. If the shutdown lasts for several weeks, families will be forced to make hard choices about how to feed their newborn babies.

WIC is a shining example of the federal government’s ability to efficiently address the nutrition and health needs of millions of people across the country. It is shameful that programs like WIC could be punished as the president spars with Congress about building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. We cannot allow children, moms and caregivers to receive the brunt of uncertainty over federal funding and from misplaced priorities. The National WIC Association urges Congress and the Administration to act responsibly and swiftly to ensure that vital federal programs like WIC are properly funded.”

About National WIC Association

NWA is the go-to voice of and for WIC staff at more than 12,000 WIC locations across the country who work to support more than 7 million mothers and young children. NWA provides member-driven advocacy; education, guidance, and support to WIC staff; and drives innovation to strengthen WIC as we work toward a nation of healthier women, children and their families.

Learn more about food stamps and food assistance trends in our previous coverage:

Government Shutdown: SNAP Food Assistance Payments Funded for February

Holidays on Food Stamps & Federal SNAP Trends

About the author

EfficientGov Staff

EfficientGov is an independent information service providing innovative solutions to fiscal and operational challenges facing cities and towns around the world.