Washington, D.C., May 25, 2023 – Today, Bread for the World released the following statement on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture’s passage of a funding bill that would freeze funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at $6 billion. This is the same funding amount as fiscal year 2023 and $800 million less than the president’s proposed budget.
The bill would also rescind the enhanced fruit and vegetable benefit (known as the “benefit bump”), cutting the benefit by 62 percent. The benefit bump provides funds to enable WIC participants to purchase more fruits and vegetables. If the legislation is passed, children will receive just $11 a month toward the purchase of nutritious fruits and vegetables, compared to the $25 they currently receive.
Most children in the U.S. do not eat the recommended daily amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Yet, since 2021, when the benefit bump was enacted, fruit and vegetable purchases have tripled among WIC participants.
The statement can be attributed to Rev. Eugene Cho, president and CEO of Bread for the World:
“Bread for the World is concerned by legislation recently passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture which would rescind the enhanced fruit and vegetable ‘benefit bump,’ making it more difficult for children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, to access nutritious fruits and vegetables.
“Dramatically cutting funding for a program that has helped so many low-income women and young children access the nutrition they need to lead healthy and productive lives will likely result in higher health care and social costs down the road.
“The agriculture appropriations bill would also freeze WIC funding at 2023 levels and rescind $500 million in unused funds – even as more women and children are expected to enroll in the program.
“These proposed cuts would unduly impact the health and well-being of the nearly five million women and children enrolled in WIC. We urge lawmakers to oppose this shortsighted legislation.”
Bread for the World is a Christian advocacy organization urging U.S. decision makers to do all they can to pursue a world without hunger