The program known as “Women, Infants and Children” (WIC) is officially the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Their web site can be found here. The site describes the program this way:
“The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”
The program serves approximately nine million people. As the sequester kicked in a few months ago, this is one of the programs whose funding will be impacted. It’s solvent through the end of the fiscal year (30 September 2013) but its future after that is not so certain. There are few examples more clear of how we expect the people who can least afford it to pay for our government’s irresponsibility.
The Center on Budget a Policy Priorities has released this report on the impact the cuts will have on this program. The cuts to the program’s budget come at a time when increases are needed to maintain it for the 8.9 million people who depend on it. While it appears, the United States’ economy is recovering, for too many people recovery is a long way off. WIC is an incredibly successful and effective program. To do anything but increase its funding will make it turn people who need the services away.
All of this because Congress can’t do its job. The sequester was supposed to be so bad that no one would let it actually be enacted but it was. Congress even passed “no budget, no pay” requiring both sides of Capitol Hill pass budget resolutions by 15 April or forfeit their salaries. Sounds good, right? Not so fast. Both chambers passed budgets — a big deal in some ways, the Senate has not passed one since 2009 but at the end of the day, it means almost nothing. While both chamber met the bar set to keep members getting their salaries, the next step — appoint conferees to work out the differences between the two budget– has not happened.
It’s time for Congress to stop wasting time passing bills to repeal Obamacare and do something to help people who need it.