WIC Food Assistance for Mothers and Children Faces Funding Shortfall

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The Agriculture Department has warned that millions of eligible pregnant and postpartum women and their children could risk missing out on nutrition assistance if Congress does not increase funding.

For the first time in decades, many states could begin turning away eligible applicants from an assistance program that provides low-income women and their children critical access to food.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, a federally funded program known as WIC, has traditionally received bipartisan support from lawmakers. But the broader push for spending cuts among some House Republicans has threatened the program’s ability to provide benefits to every eligible person who applies.

The Agriculture Department warned last month that the program could see a $1 billion shortfall and that millions of eligible pregnant and postpartum women and their children could risk missing out on nutrition assistance this year if Congress does not increase funding.

Some House Republicans have pushed for maintaining funding at roughly similar levels as the past few years, despite a recent surge in participants. The effort is part of a larger push among conservatives to rein in federal spending in an attempt to address the nation’s rising debt load.

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