Ag Chief Condemns Giving States Control Of Children’s Nutrition
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman denounced legislation that would turn a federal nutrition program for mothers and infants over to the states, calling the health of America’s children “a national security issue.”
“A hungry infant in Mississippi is no different than a hungry infant in Vermont,” Glickman told state directors of the Women, Infants and Children program Tuesday.
“If we alter WIC, we must keep in mind the possible consequence, which is the health of America’s next generation,” Glickman said. “That is one reason I consider this issue a national security issue, like defense.”
The Agriculture Department program gives food and infant formula, or vouchers to buy them, to low-income pregnant women and children up to age 5. WIC served 5.9 million people at a federal cost of $2.8 billion in 1993.
The Republican welfare bill passed by the House would replace the federal WIC program with grants to the states, to spend on similar nutrition programs. Supporters say the states could run the programs more efficiently.
The Senate will turn its attention to the bill when it returns from recess next month.
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