Politics - News Analysis

GOP Wants To Cut Food Assistance For 5 Million On WIC — A Program for BABIES and Pregnant Women

If this seems heartless, you haven't been watching Republicans very closely.

In their new agriculture appropriations bill, which is as usual mostly written by lobbyists, there is a provision for cutting assistance to the “Women, Infants, and Children” program, or WIC.

If it were passed, millions of those now eligible for the program would have their benefits slashed. Worse yet, the cuts would mostly be to fruit and vegetable budgets — you know, the stuff they could best keep children and babies healthy with.

The nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, or CBPP, did an extensive study of the effects the meager $6 billion the GOP intends to allocate to WIC. The CBPP concluded that the allocation, which normally goes up as enrollment in the program goes up, would cost some 5.3 million infants, children, pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding parents dearly, including nearly a million turned away entirely.

Cuts of monthly allocations for fruits and vegetables and baby formula would cost most families half of what they now get for those things, despite the fact that food prices remain at historic highs and a baby formula shortage has led to price gouging in that market.

The White House’s Office of Budget Management released a statement following receipt of the GOP proposal:

The Administration is deeply concerned that the funding level provided in the bill for WIC would put the program at significant risk of being unable to serve all eligible women and children who seek assistance, which could result in waiting lists, greater hardship, and poorer health outcomes for this vulnerable population.

WIC is one of the very few bipartisan programs that neither side of the aisle has historically wanted to see go by the wayside. But that simply calls back to the takeover of the Republican Party by extremists.

Thankfully, the OMB has indicated that even if this somehow passed both chambers — which it won’t — the President would veto the bill. But it does show an alarming sense of misplaced priorities among members of the GOP, and their willingness to do anything to accommodate big business at the expense of those most vulnerable to the effects of their unwarranted cost-cutting measures

meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Central Washington, writing with the conviction of 18 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon — duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A girlfriend, a dog, two cats, and two birds round out the equation, and in his spare time, Drewbear likes to imagine what it must be like to have spare time.


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