Support Full Funding for WIC

Senator Charles Schumer
Senate Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader
United States Senate
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
Representative Mike Johnson
Speaker of the House
United States House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Hakeem Jeffries
House Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

February 27, 2024

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and Minority Leader Jeffries,

For nearly 50 years, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has been a cost-effective investment in the next generation, delivering healthy food and nutrition and breastfeeding support to vulnerable moms, babies, and young children. Military families benefit from WIC, both within the United States and overseas.

With a proven record of improved maternal and child nutrition outcomes, WIC has long enjoyed strong, bipartisan support in Congress. For more than 25 years, there has been a bipartisan commitment from Congress to provide WIC with the resources to support every eligible individual who seeks WIC services. However, we are deeply concerned that some Members will turn their backs on this commitment—leaving families, including military families, without the critical resources they need. We urge you to support this crucial investment to fully fund WIC as Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations bills are finalized. Specifically, Congress should fully fund WIC to serve projected caseloads while protecting the program’s science-based food package.

There are numerous challenges associated with military life, such as frequent permanent change of station (PCS) moves and high spouse unemployment. In addition, military families usually live far from extended family or friends, so they have fewer resources and social support to rely on in times of need. Last year, the Cumberland County and Fort Liberty Departments of Public Health opened a WIC office on post at Fort Liberty— the largest United States Army base by population— to improve access to WIC resources for military families. At this post alone, servicemembers and their families can now access information on nutritious diets, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals.

Along with the benefits of purchasing healthy food options, WIC also provides supportive community groups. Along with individualized support, there are opportunities to connect with other families with children at the same developmental stages, facing similar nutrition education challenges, and share experiences and resources. This sense of community can be particularly valuable for military families who live far from their extended family and support networks, helping them thrive despite frequent relocations, deployments, and long bouts of separation for military missions.

Overall, WIC has experienced more than a 15% increase in child participation since 2020 and the program is expected to serve as many as 7 million pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children in fiscal year 2024. For decades, there has been a bipartisan commitment in Congress to provide necessary funding to serve all eligible participants. Should Congress fail to increase its investment in WIC in FY24 to reflect growing caseloads, state WIC agencies , and military bases, could be forced to turn eligible women and children away from the program for the first time since the 1990s, undermining years of progress in improving participation.

Likewise, a cut in funding could endanger WIC’s fruit and vegetable benefit, which was expanded in 2021 to provide families with access to a wider variety of produce and lead to a measurable increase in fruit and vegetable consumption among WIC-enrolled toddlers. Congress has maintained this modest, evidence-based expansion of the fruit and vegetable benefits in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 with bipartisan support and should do so again in Fiscal Year 2024. Disappointingly, the House Appropriations Committee proposed slashing these benefits, cutting the amount of fruits and vegetables provided by WIC by 56% for kids and approximately 70% for pregnant women and new moms. These cuts would reverse years of success in measurably improving fruit and vegetable intake among WIC-enrolled children.

The evidence-based increase in WIC’s fruit and vegetable benefit is also a core component of USDA’s proposed rule to update WIC’s broader food packages and bring the benefit into alignment with the latest nutrition science. The proposal promotes balance and enhances access to specific foods that deliver priority nutrients critical for growth and development at early life – stages, building the foundation for healthier lifelong eating habits. Congress should reject any policy riders that would interfere with this independent, science-based review.

All families should have access to the vital resources that WIC provides, and this is especially true of military families, who serve and sacrifice so much. We know WIC is working to help young military families thrive.

We urge you to support full funding for WIC to protect the program’s longstanding success in strengthening nutrition outcomes for women, infants and young children, including those in military families.



National WIC Association
National Military Family Association
Military Family Advisory Network
Military Officers Association of America

CC: Senate Committee on Appropriations
CC: House Committee on Appropriations