WIC is even more at risk today, which means a greater risk for moms, babies and children. The program needs additional funding to be passed for January, but meanwhile Republicans continue an inner-party war in the House and refuse to do their most basic job of funding the government.
Minutes before a White House press call focused on the urgent need for Congress to fund WIC began (in which we participated), Jake Sherman reported that Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) was going to back out of the funding deal made with Democrats, making him the second Republican Speaker to do so in the short time they’ve had the very slim majority in the U.S. House.
Sherman posted that Representative Ralph Norman said, having just emerged from a meeting with Johnson, that Speaker Johnson is “going to back out of his spending deal with Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and instead, there will once again be a CR. This hasn’t been confirmed, but since Republicans have shown an inability to govern, it would not be a surprise and there was a big hint of this war Wednesday, when far-right conservatives blocked three Republican bills over their outrage that Johnson had dared to make a deal with Democrats to fund the government, as is — again — their job.
That’s the top of the story getting the press, but in the corner there sits WIC, necessary funding for pregnant and nursing women, infants and children. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, aka WIC, leads to better health outcomes for mothers and children. You might be forgiven for then assuming that Republicans, who are forcing pregnant women to give birth, would be all for it. But you would be wrong.
The Biden Harris administration has again requested (they’ve been pushing this point hard since December) that Congress fully fund WIC in fiscal year 2024. In today’s call, Neera Tanden, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, highlighted the urgency as it relates to the looming budget deadline, “If congressional Republicans specific budget without fully funding WIC, states will have no choice but to cut the number of people they serve.”
“States would be forced to implement waiting lists or take other devastating measures. 2 million parents and young children could be turned away from WIC by September 2024 if Congress fails to provide full funding,” she explained. “That is simply unacceptable.”
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pointed out, “WIC serves nearly 40% of all infants in the US. Of the 6.7 million participants, which is up about 400,000 from a year ago, over 3.6 million of those are children. One and a half million infants, and one and a half million women are beneficiaries under this program… It is critical that Congress provide additional funding for WIC in January.”
Nearly 40% of infants in the U.S. stand to risk losing basic necessities because the very same people who are forcing women to give birth are denying infants nutrition and other vital care.
Republicans claim that they are against funding the government because of the deficit, and yet, when they had the power, they ran that deficit up to such an extent with their tax cuts that over time mainly benefit the wealthy and elite corporations that they are primarily responsible for the increasing debt ratio.
So really, it comes down to priorities. That is what a party’s funding bills represent. It is the best way to tell if they actually care about The People, or it’s just rhetoric. Look at what they do, not what they say.
Republicans talk a lot about “babies”. They use “babies” as an excuse to deny women and girls life saving healthcare. But when it comes down to actually putting their money where their mouths are, Republicans don’t help babies. They don’t help pregnant women or nursing moms. They don’t offer care in any tangible, measurable way for babies.
All Republicans have are empty words they use to justify controlling and endangering women and girls. The babies Republicans pretend to care about are on their own once born.
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