Keeping the Government Funded
As a reminder, after Congress was unable to make progress on passing a full year appropriations package by September 30, 2023, the end of the Federal Fiscal Year, Congress passed a short-term spending package called a Continuing Resolution (CR). This kept the government funded at last year’s funding levels until November 17.
Unfortunately, chaos in the House of Representatives has prevented Congress from making progress on a full year spending package. To keep the government open, Congress has passed a two-part CR. Funding for some programs has been extended until January 19, while funding for other programs has been extended until February 2. This gives Congress two deadlines by which they will need to reach a funding compromise, and it ensures that families will not be subject to the turmoil of a government shutdown during the holiday season.
We are happy that the government will remain funded through the new year, but this CR does not include additional funding for WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children), which, due to increased participation and food costs, will not be able to serve all eligible families at its current levels of funding through the fiscal year. While Congress works to reach a full-year budget deal, it is imperative that proven, science-based programs like WIC receive the funding necessary to cover their basic operations. Hard working American families and children cannot afford to miss out on needed benefits. We will continue to tell our legislators that WIC needs to be fully funded in the coming appropriations compromise, and we hope that you will join us in doing the same.
Food Insecurity Rates
Last month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released their report, Household Food Insecurity Rates in the United States in 2022. The results are sobering and show that food insecurity rates have increased significantly. 44.2 million individuals lived in households experiencing food insecurity in 2022. The overall food insecurity rate rose to 12.8%, up from 10.2% in 2021. Food insecurity among households with children also rose, and there continue to be stark racial disparities among households, with American Indian or Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic, or multiracial families experiencing substantially higher food insecurity.
These alarming trends are consistent with the poverty data released in September, which showed poverty rising sharply in 2022 compared to 2021. These trends are likely driven by the end of Pandemic-related policies and programs that helped families put food on the table including the expanded Child Tax Credit and flexibilities that allowed many schools to provide free meals for all students. Despite the enormous upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity remained steady in 2020 (10.5%) and 2021 (10.2%). This data shows us the effectiveness of programs enacted during the pandemic and the consequences of allowing them to expire. Poverty and food insecurity are policy choices.
Read our latest annual report to learn what we are doing to build food security and how you can help.