Low-income families at danger from food assistance during a government shutdown.

The White House on Monday issued a warning that a program that assists millions of low-income families in purchasing healthful food might face significant cuts as Congress heads toward a partial government shutdown.

Government shutdown effect on army side analysis

Government Shutdown effect on low income group

According to a state-by-state analysis made public by the White House, nearly 7 million people who depend on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as WIC, may lose access to funds used to purchase certain foods and receive vouchers for fresh produce.

The program offers financial assistance to low-income women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as to children under the age of five.

WIC consumers may begin to see the effects of the shutdown in a matter of days, according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who spoke during a White House briefing on Monday.

Former governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack stated that some states had unused WIC funds and “could extend (WIC) for a week or so.”

The dietary assistance that is offered would not be available because “the vast majority of WIC participants would see an immediate reduction and elimination of those benefits,” he added.

For instance, around 112,000 WIC beneficiaries in Alabama and more than 421,000 in Florida might no longer get their benefits. More than 207,000 WIC consumers might lose their benefits in Michigan, and more than 268,000 WIC recipients could lose their benefits in North Carolina.

Additionally, there can be a backlog for newly qualified individuals.

The non-profit advocacy arm of WIC, the National WIC Association, said in a statement that “without the urgent investment of additional funds, state WIC offices could soon be forced to consider waiting lists for potential participants — a drastic step not seen in nearly 30 years.”

Government Shutdown agreement

President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck an agreement earlier this year to extend the debt ceiling, which led to the upcoming shutdown. In that agreement, the fiscal year’s upper expenditure limits were established.

However, the House has only approved one of the 12 appropriations bills, and a few far-right Republicans are pressing for even worse cutbacks, even if it means a longer government shutdown.

government shutdown

According to a press release from the White House, House Republicans “have abandoned the bipartisan budget agreement that a large majority of them voted for just a few months ago and proposed a continuing resolution (CR) that makes devastating cuts to programs that millions of hardworking Americans depend on.

In order to keep the government operating for a few weeks or months while the House and Senate complete drafting the 12 annual spending bills, a continuing resolution, or CR, is frequently utilized.

Without a CR by this Saturday, when the fiscal year ends, there would be a partial shutdown and programs like WIC that get discretionary money will expire.

WIC funding is not required spending, thus it won’t continue to be supported in the event of a government shutdown. It is supported by the Agriculture Appropriations Act, which Congress has not yet approved.

government shutdown

The House Agriculture Appropriations measure was criticized by the White House because it did not include the additional funds that the Biden administration desired.

The White House stated that without the requested cash, states could soon be compelled to implement WIC waiting lists, denying women and children access to crucial nutrition assistance.

The Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture distributes WIC funds to states according to a formula. States can differ in the percentage of eligible citizens that take part in WIC; for instance, California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have coverage rates for WIC that are above 60%.

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