Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Women and children would be turned away from food-assistance program under proposal

Participation in a vital food-assistance program funded by the federal government could fall by up to 4,200 low-income women and children under a proposal in the U.S. House, our pals at the
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report.

The proposal, which passed the House Appropriations Committee last week, would force the WIC program to turn away 200,000 to 350,000 eligible low-income women and young children nationwide next year. The report includes estimates for every state and the District of Columbia.

"The appropriations bill reduces WIC funding from $6.73 billion this year to $6.05 billion in 2012 — a cut of more than $650 million below the fiscal year 2011 level, which obviously is much less than the continuing cost of the high-end Bush tax cuts, oil company tax breaks, and various other write-offs for well-to-do taxpayers or powerful corporations," the report says.

"WIC — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — provides nutritious foods, counseling on healthy eating, and health   care referrals to roughly 9 million low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children under age five who are at nutritional risk.  An   extensive body of research documents WIC’s high degree of effectiveness in improving birth outcomes, reducing child anemia, and improving participants’ nutrition and health."

Clearly, the House proposal sets the wrong priorities.

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