June 6, 2012
Washington, DC, June 6, 2012 –Today the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies, Chaired by Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA, marked up and passed a Bill that provides $6.922 billion for WIC in FY 2013. This is $119 million short of the President’s budget request, but it may be sufficient to meet caseload if food costs and participation stabilizes. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, expressed concern about the shortfall in funding and expressed the need to closely monitor WIC caseload and food costs to assure an adequate and stable funding level.
However, the bill provides no set asides for breastfeeding peer counselors, MIS/EBT, or Infrastructure, all of which the Senate bill provided in addition to funding WIC at the level of the president’s budget request at $7.041 billion.
The failure of the House Subcommittee to fund breastfeeding peer counselors would mean an immediate loss of jobs and a reduction in breastfeeding rates as the PC's have helped to boost and sustain breastfeeding rates across the country, fight obesity, and a range of childhood diseases. The failure to fund MIS/EBT for a second year in a row means that we would not be on track to move all states to EBT by 2020, potentially undermining the mission and integrity of the program.
Additionally, the bill requests that the Secretary of Agriculture should submit a detailed spending plan by program, project, and activity for WIC to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. This is an effort to gather further information of the depth and breadth of WIC nutrition services and administration (NSA) costs. House Republicans have for sometime sought to cap WIC NSA funding, perhaps not fully appreciating the critical mission focus of those NSA resources.
Report language was not immediately available after the markup though NWA is aware that there are references to California’s recent program integrity challenges and a call for USDA/FNS to report back to Congress on a uniform income eligibility standard (taking a swipe at Medicaid Adjunctive Eligibility and varying state income guidelines while ignoring the important preventative public health value of linking WIC and Medicaid from WIC participants.)
The bill will now move to the full House Appropriations Committee for debate and amendment expected sometime later this month.