Earlier we mentioned how the government shutdown affects 800,000 workers, but the move also really puts a strain on low-income mothers.
Support for mothers and children does not qualify as a “mandatory expenditure,” absolving it of protection from the fallout.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will no longer issue payments for the duration of the shutdown.
Some states might be able “to continue operations for a week or so,” but “no additional federal funds would be available” to the program, according to the USDA memo on shutdown contingency planning. WIC provides more narrowly tailored assistance than the traditional food stamps program. At a cost of $6 billion per year, WIC targets pregnant women, women who recently gave birth, and children up to age 5 who have problems getting the proper early-childhood nutrition for economic or medical reasons.
The shutdown affects close to 9 million mothers, infants and children who rely on the program.
WIC contributes to poverty reduction in the country, and served 8.9 million people in 2012.
The program suffered from a massive cut earlier this year, when $500 million was sliced from its 2013 budget due to sequestration.