Mothers and Young Children Face Potential Hunger with Looming, Partial Government Shutdown

7 million depend on sufficiently funded WIC program 

WASHINGTON, DC— UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, calls on lawmakers to work together to prevent a partial federal government shutdown on March 1. Like all Americans, Latinos want bipartisan cooperation to keep government agencies open, not gridlock caused by policy demands of extremists that don’t have the votes to pass Congress. Even a partial shutdown would block funding urgently needed for critical supports like Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs across the country, which could result in states having to turn away eligible families for the first time in a generation.

“Congress is yet again on the verge of causing an unnecessary and harmful partial shutdown of our government that would impact many areas. For example, we’re especially concerned that, without urgently needed investments in WIC, families including new mothers and young children will go hungry,” said Janet Murguía, UnidosUS President and CEO.For more than 25 consecutive years on a bipartisan basis WIC has had enough money to feed all young families who qualify for help. Denying essentials like healthy foods and infant formula harms all low-income families, but WIC’s funding shortfall will hit Latinos and members of other historically disadvantaged communities the most. More than two in five families who rely on WIC for food are Latino.” 

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Rising food costs and increased demand for WIC have raised WIC costs by $1 billion this year. Overall, nearly 7 million pregnant women and new moms, babies, toddlers, and other preschool children rely on WIC. Congress must put aside extreme policy demands, put the wellbeing of children and families first, and allow the bipartisan majority to vote to fully fund WIC and keep the government open.