Radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed that the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program is "not doing anybody any good," despite considerable evidence to the contrary.
On the October 4 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh smeared the WIC program as useless as the government shutdown halted funding toward WIC benefits. Limbaugh alleged that the program is "not doing anybody any good" because "by definition, we talking about single mothers here" who "don't know what to do if a government program runs dry." Limbaugh added, "I don't think this is helping anybody. ... This is no way to live, and it isn't necessary in this country."
According to Forbes, about 9 million mothers and children under the age of 5 receive nutritional benefits through the program. These benefits include "healthy food, breastfeeding support, infant formula and other necessities dispensed at clinics nationwide," Forbes reported:
The USDA estimates that most states will be able to continue WIC operations as usual for "a week or so" before running out of money. The department's Food and Nutrition Service has a contingency fund of only $125 million available for this $7 billion annual appropriation.
So far the situation is most dire in Arkansas and Utah, according to Rev. Douglas Greenaway, who heads up nonprofit advocacy group the National WIC Association. Utah's WIC program, which already serves 65,000 moms and babies, has now stopped accepting new participants.
"There are health consequences when mothers cannot provide food and nutrition for their kids," said Rev. Greenaway. "There'll be no infant formula and no breastfeeding support. If the baby doesn't latch, that's it."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that most states will be able to fund some degree of benefits for a short period during the current government shutdown, but "should a lapse extend through late October, federal WIC funding may not be sufficient to cover benefits," according the USDA's contingency plan for the program.