Sequestration will cut food assistance to 600,000 low-income moms & children
Sequestration will cut the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children [WIC] by $333 million, taking away vital food assistance and health care services for 600,000 low-income mothers and their children.
If sequestration takes effect on March 1, states would have to cut back on health clinic hours and cut off food assistance for mothers who are not breastfeeding.
In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the USDA noted that “African-American women have the lowest breastfeeding rates so they are more likely to represent a significant portion of these women.”
The WIC program served 8.9 million Americans in 2012. About half of those receiving benefits are children under the age of 5; a quarter of the beneficiaries are infants; and a quarter are low-income mothers.
The program provides food vouchers for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, and their children under the age of 5. The program encourages women to breastfeed by providing them with greater variety and quantity of food, breast pumps, and one-on-one support with counselors. Women who are not able to breastfeed are provided rebates for infant formulas.
“WIC has been shown to provide important improvements in nutrition of women and children, lower health care costs, and improved cognitive development of children,” wrote USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
- Department of Agriculture: Letter from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to the Senate Appropriations Committee dated Feb. 5, 2013 (PDF)
- Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA: About WIC
- Food and Nutrition Service at the USDA:How WIC helps
- Senate Appropriations Committee: Video of the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the impacts of sequestration on Feb. 14, 2013
- Senate Appropriations Committee: Hearing on the impacts of sequestration on Feb. 14, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Meat and poultry industry will lose billions if sequestration takes effect on March 1st
- WhatTheFolly.com: Overview of Department of Agriculture sequester cuts
- WhatTheFolly.com: 5 key facts about sequestration
- WhatTheFolly.com: Analysis: Impact of sequestration on non-defense discretionary spending
Category: Analysis, Congress, Current Events, Economy, Government, Local, News, Politics, Social Services, State, Tax Dollars at Work, U.S. · Tags: African-American, agriculture, breastfeeding, children, Congress, Department of Agriculture, drastic budget cuts, food, food stamps, government spending, low-income, nutrition, nutritional assistance, Tom Vilsack, U.S., United States, women, women's health