WIC cuts won’t hurt food program in Minnesota

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A federal program that helps poor mothers buy food took a hit in last week’s budget deal in Washington. In the deal that averted a government shutdown, federal lawmakers cut $504 million from the Women, Infants, and Children program.

But those cuts won’t affect the WIC program in Minnesota, said Betsy Clark, WIC progarm director for the state. She wants to make sure news of the deal doesn’t deter mothers from applying for benefits.

“We will continue to serve everyone who applies for WIC who is eligible,” Clark said. “We think the revised [funding] level will be adequate for the current fiscal year because the birthrate is dropping and our participation is somewhat reduced,” she said. “And we haven’t had much food inflation yet, though we’re execting that fairly soon.”

WIC provides food aid to pregnant women, new mothers and their children. This year, it will serve about 9.3 million people natiownwide and cost about $7.2 billion.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the cuts can be made to reserve funds.

Both the House and Senate are expected to vote Thursday on the last-minute deal. Overall, it cuts about $28 billion from the government for this fiscal year, ending on Sept. 30.

  • We have been following the WIC budget cuts closely at wicwoes.com and it is pretty clear at this point that the cut should have little effect on the program since about 500 million is expected to be a surplus for this fiscal year. What the news sources haven’t been reporting is that Food Stamps is being increased by BILLIONS this year. It is interesting that food stamps which helps pay for soda, potato chips, and cookies has increased in demand and dollars spent but participation and dollars spent on nutritional food and education for the WIC program is down. I don’t think this is the way America is going to solve the obesity epidemic.