Brown pushes for WIC waiver extension

Published 1:39 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting the extension of existing flexibilities for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) through September 30, 2020, as authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

“We appreciate the Department’s actions to utilize administrative authorities as well as to implement temporary, emergency authorities provided by Congress in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to waive certain regulations in order to more effectively feed children during school closures and support social distancing,” wrote the Senators.

“WIC program flexibilities granted by the Department for the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, through state agencies, have helped eligible pregnant women, mothers, and their infants and young children access and use food benefits while navigating social-distancing protocols of their own, as well as those followed by state agencies, health providers, and vendors.”

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“Extending these existing state-based waivers through September 30, 2020, would provide certainty and availability to WIC participants, providers and vendors navigating variable phased re-opening procedures across public, private, and health sectors.”

The bipartisan letter was led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow D-Michigan. It was also signed by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Ohio, John Boozman, R-Arkansas, Mike Braun, R-Indiana, Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Michigan, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, Kelly Loeffler, R-Georgia, Tina Smith, D-Minneosta, and John Thune, R-South Dakota.