Call Your Rep About WIC Before It Gets Cut

Most of the cuts in President Trump's proposed budget affect some of the most vulnerable groups of people, like the suggested cut to Meals on Wheels and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Cutting federal funding that ensures elderly people or low income women can feed themselves and their families isn't the most popular idea among many Democrats and the budget will likely be discussed at length before it's passed. Which is why, if you're concerned about seeing programs like these ones go, it's good to know how to call your representative about WIC or any program close to your heart.

It's good to just call about one issue at a time, though. So you can call every morning with a different budget complaint, but with each call it's important to stay focused. The staffers in legislators' offices will make a note of the the purpose of your call. If it's just a general rant about the state of the world, your congressperson or senator will never get the message. You also want to make sure that you only call representatives in your own state, since politicians are more concerned about their own constituents (and knowing that they'll be reelected by them) than they are about out-of-state citizens hounding them about their budget vote.

To call your rep, you can look up your district on this website and use the contact information provided. To find your senators, you can look it up on this site. A staffer will answer the phone and you just have to tell them that you're calling to encourage their boss to fight for WIC when it comes to the budget discussions. Depending on their political allegiances, the staffer might tell you that the rep is already voting against the budget.

Which is good, if that's what you want. But just because your rep might vote a certain way, if you're really concerned about the program, you should call anyway. Let your voice be heard. If you're shy, you can always find a script to read that will help you stay on point and get your point across.

Cutting funding for WIC is a risky move and it would be troubling for many families, should enrollment numbers increase. (The National WIC Association, which advocates for WIC and educates employees, noted in a statement that, as it stands, Trump's budget might not hit the program as hard as expected, and that it "still may be adequate to meet caseload needs in FY 2018 as WIC caseloads have continued a steady decline from a high of 9.2 million in 2010 to a current participation level of 7.3 million.") The program provides states with funds to give families nutrition education and benefits to buy things like milk, formula, and nutritious groceries. They also send food packages that include healthy foodstuffs, like whole grain bread and yogurt.

Then-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in 2014, "The foods provided by the WIC program, along with education that focuses on the critical role of breastfeeding and proper nutrition, help to ensure that every American child has the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong."

When you put it that way, it's not all that hard to get riled up enough to make a phone call and leave a Leslie Knope-level message for your representative. Surely they can find a way to continue to support low-income families in keeping their children healthy, without slashing $150 million from WIC's budget.