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A federal shutdown could threaten WIC support for Virginians

The U.S. government faces a shutdown if Congress can't agree on a budget by Sept. 30th. With cuts looming, the future of programs such as WIC – a food benefit for pregnant people and children under five – is uncertain. WMRA's rural health care reporter Henry Brannan has more.

Note: Henry Brannon's reporting for WMRA is in partnership with VPM News and Report for America.

The White House, the House and Senate all have proposals for the nutrition program’s future, with the latter two including cuts.

Katie Bergh is a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She says program cuts would be disastrous for the six million Americans — including more than 100 thousand Virginians — who are served by it.

KATIE BERGH: If WIC experiences a funding shortfall, states will be forced to turn away eligible low income people who are seeking help from the program.

Jazmin Hightower is a mom of three in Harrisonburg. They use WIC to offset the increasingly high cost of fruits and vegetables.

JAZMIN HIGHTOWER: We try to stick with the fresher things, just so it's not so much sodium and processed stuff coming into the house.

Without those benefits, Hightower says her family will return to canned vegetables.

Henry Brannan covers rural health care in the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville area for WMRA and VPM News. The position is in partnership with Report for America.