Speaker Johnson’s Short-Term Funding Bill Leaves Out Needed Additional WIC Funds
We shouldn’t overlook an important issue in Speaker Johnson’s continuing resolution: his plan doesn’t provide additional funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) so that postpartum participants and young children aren’t turned away from vital food assistance.
It’s widely known that WIC needs more funding because of increased enrollment and higher food prices. Without a down payment in this continuing resolution on the funding WIC needs, states may start to cut enrollment by creating wait lists and halting outreach.
When stopgap funding measures drag on, more problems arise that policymakers need to address. Ensuring new parents, toddlers, and preschoolers have the healthy food they need should be at the top of the list of things to take care of.
And let’s remember why the appropriations process is in turmoil — turmoil that was unnecessary. The debt limit negotiations earlier this year reached a bipartisan agreement on topline funding levels that was designed to facilitate a bipartisan appropriations process, but House Republicans have refused to abide by that agreement. Instead, House Republicans have pursued partisan funding bills that deeply cut education, Head Start, the Social Security Administration, WIC, environmental protection, and other key services, in addition to including harmful riders.
Policymakers should pass a continuing resolution that addresses key urgent needs, like WIC. House Republicans should then abandon their partisan approach and work with the Senate to craft bipartisan bills that meet the nation’s needs without long delays that will cause increasingly difficult problems.