Letters: Congress must protect food assistance | Opinions and Editorials

The federal Women, Infants and Children program provides healthy food and other vital services to nearly 100,000 low-income pregnant people, new parents, infants and young children who are at nutritional risk in Louisiana.

Participating in WIC is linked to improved birth outcomes, nutritious diets, stronger connections to preventive health care and improved childhood educational outcomes.

Unfortunately, WIC is facing a funding shortfall as food costs have soared and more low-income families are participating.

Current proposals in Congress fail to adequately fund WIC: Without additional funding, 8,100 low-income Louisianans — primarily new moms and preschoolers — would be turned away from WIC, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Under the House’s funding proposal, another 63,400 Louisianans would see their benefits slashed.

For over 25 years, Congress has maintained a bipartisan commitment to provide WIC sufficient funding to serve all eligible applicants in recognition of the program’s positive impacts on health and developmental outcomes.

Louisiana representatives in Congress must ensure this commitment is maintained.

Congress must act swiftly to provide a down payment of additional funding in the November temporary government funding bill.

Then Congress must fully fund the program in the final full-year spending bill to ensure WIC can continue to provide the full benefit to every eligible new parent and child who applies.

Last year, Louisiana had the fourth-highest rate of food insecurity in the country: 15.2% of households in our state didn’t have access to enough food at some point in 2022. Policymakers don’t have to put nutrition benefits for families at risk.

We urge our Louisiana Congressional representatives not to deny our families this vital support during the crucial stage of their child’s development.


Baton Rouge