More than two months into fiscal year 2024, Congress has yet to provide additional funding for hunger programs. Additional funding is for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program in 2024, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. WIC’s funding needs have grown due to higher-than-expected participation and food costs.
Congress has fully funded WIC for more than 25 years. If Congress fails to do so and continues WIC’s current funding level for the rest of the fiscal year, WIC will face a roughly $1 billion shortfall. The Center estimates that as a result, states would need to reduce WIC participation by about two million participants nationwide by September. If Congress extends the current funding level rather than fully funding WIC, USDA could take measures to protect the program. But the authority is limited and could only close roughly half of a $1 billion shortfall.
The Center adds, “Congress must fully fund WIC to avoid jeopardizing the health of about two million very young children and pregnant or postpartum adults.”