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Sunday, December 3, 2023

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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

CA Anti-Poverty Groups Fight for Higher Food Benefits for Women, Children

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023   

Anti-hunger advocates are pressing Congress to fully fund WIC, the food benefit program for expectant mothers and children younger than 5. Conservatives in the House of Representatives have proposed a budget for WIC of $5.5 billion. The Senate proposal is $6.3.

Sarah Diaz, policy and media coordinator with the California WIC Association, explained the program would need a billion dollars more than that to be fully funded.

"We would love for the House to reconvene and try to work out a budget that fully funds WIC so that they're able to serve all eligible participants and one that accounts for the projected increase in WIC enrollment," she continued.

There is also the question of the Food and Vegetable benefit, which was raised to $25 to $49 per person per month during the pandemic in accordance with recommendations
from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The GOP proposal would drop it down sharply to $11 to $15 per person per month, which is slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

More than 930,000 mothers, infants and toddlers depend on WIC benefits in the Golden State. Diaz offered a report from the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities that found if the current GOP proposal passes - more than 100,000 Californians would wind up on a waiting list.

"In the '90s, there were waiting lists, and that had a major chilling effect. So people will choose not to go to WIC if they think they're taking somebody else's spot, even if they really need the program. And that means that we won't be serving everyone who needs it," she said.

Congress has to pass an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution by September 30th in order to avoid a government shutdown.


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