The National WIC Association, the advocacy arm of a nutritional food program for poor women, infants and children, strongly denounced a Republican-sponsored measure on Friday that would fund WIC while the rest of the government remains shut down.
The WIC Association called H J Res 75, the Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act, "a cynical ploy to use low-income nutritionally at-risk mothers and young children as political pawns for political ends."
"Funding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in this piecemeal, short-term, stop-gap manner is not an acceptable solution," the association said in a statement.
The WIC program, which provides healthy food, nutritional education and breastfeeding counseling for nearly 9 million low-income women and their children, is currently relying on state reserves and emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to keep its doors open in most states.
House Republicans introduced a joint resolution Thursday to fund WIC separately as part of their strategy to fund the government in a piecemeal approach, instead of passing a clean, comprehensive spending bill that would end the entire shutdown. The bill is up for a vote on Friday.
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), the sponsor of the WIC funding measure, blamed Democrats for blocking the WIC funds. "The House has passed a funding bill previously to keep the WIC program operational, and the Senate said no," he told The Huffington Post, referring to the House spending bill that would have defunded the Affordable Care Act as a price for keeping the government open. "We'll pass a [WIC] funding bill today, and the Senate should take yes for an answer."
House Republicans have also introduced a separate resolution to reopen the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., but veterans told HuffPost that they oppose that measure as well. Democratic leaders and President Obama have condemned the piecemeal approach, and have said they will not settle for anything but a comprehensive, clean spending bill that funds the entire government.
"These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said. "If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shutdown -- which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors -- they should do their job and pass a clean CR to reopen the government. The president and the Senate have been clear that they won’t accept this kind of game-playing, and if these bills were to come to the president’s desk he would veto them."