12/14/2011 10:36 am ET Updated Feb 12, 2012

Saving WIC and Protecting Struggling Families

The Super Committee's failure to come up with a plan to cut the deficit will be devastating for low-income pregnant women, infants and children. Without a bi-partisan deal there will be a 6% cut in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

This is absolutely unacceptable and it will be the first time in 15 years the program would face insufficient funding to support participation. Poor and working families shouldn't be punished for the dysfunction in Washington. In fact, WIC should never have even been on the table in the first place.

WIC helps women, infants and children get the nutritious foods needed to stay healthy. Families participating in this program receive milk, fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods. This means that families who struggle to make ends meet have an extra opportunity to bring healthy foods to their tables. Additionally, it provides breastfeeding promotion and nutrition counseling -- without which many families would be left without the tools to make the right food choices.

The purpose of WIC is to reduce malnutrition and poor health. In a time where food insecurity is high, we need to support families struggling -- not take assistance away. Even though Illinois is below the national average, 12.9% of Illinois residents face not having enough food on a daily basis.

And, single mothers raising their families have been the hardest hit in this recession. They face the highest food insecurity in our country. I know what its like to struggle as a single mother trying to make ends meet -- when I was raising my kids not only would our ends not meet, they didn't even know each other.

First Lady Michelle Obama has put good nutrition at the top of mind for families across the country. She understands that healthy habits start at a young age. But, not all families can afford those nutritious foods to make choosing healthy food a habit, which is exactly why WIC is so important.

Our Congressional leaders must stand up for our most vulnerable citizens -- low-income pregnant women, infants and children. I urge Congress to save WIC from these harmful cuts that will leave thousands of families with no access to the healthy foods they need. I have always been a fighter for working families and if elected to represent the 2nd Congressional District, I will fight each and every day to help create jobs in the district and fight for the programs on which so many local residents rely.