June 14, 2011
Dear Network Friends and Affiliates,
The House is expected to vote today on the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, legislation that slashes funding for critical nutrition assistance programs supporting hundreds of thousands of low-income families, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program.
Specifically, the bill would reduce WIC funding by $685.7 million compared to FY 2011, effectively denying assistance to up to 350,000 low-income women and children. Though food insecurity is on the rise – a record 21 million households are currently reliant on food stamps – the legislation would also reduce SNAP funding by $2 million compared to the President’s FY 2012 request. The bill would defund these and other programs for economically insecure Americans while simultaneously ensuring or even increasing funding for the maintenance of a national Azalea collection and wildlife damage management.
Communities of color would be disproportionately impacted by the proposed cuts. A 2010 Feeding America study found that 29 percent of all Latino children and 38 percent of all Black children in the U.S. received food assistance in 2009, compared to just 11 percent of white children. An even greater percentage of families of color utilize WIC, including 9 out of 10 Latino infants born in the U.S. in 2008. Cutting funds from WIC and SNAP cuts funds from millions of low-income, nutritionally at-risk women of color, their families, and communities.
The White House spoke out against the measure yesterday in a Statement of Administrative Policy expressing “serious concerns” over content of the bill and calling the allocated funds for government programs “insufficient.” Today, we ask you to do the same.
Please raise your voice for women, children, and families of color by calling 1-888-245-0215, asking the switchboard operator to connect you to your Representative, and urging him/her to reject harmful cuts to WIC and SNAP in the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Remind them that these essential programs provide nutrition assistance for millions of low-income families and critically support their economic and food security. Nutrition assistance programs have also been hailed by economists as a critical cost-savings measure. Every $1 invested in WIC, for example, is estimated to save between $1.77 and $3.13 in health care costs during the first sixty days of an infant’s life.
Thank you for your continued support,
C. Nicole Mason, PhD
Women of Color Policy Network
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service