National WIC Association

House Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill Bad for WIC and Other Programs

April 22, 2016

The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN), introduced an extraordinarily bad child nutrition reauthorization bill, the ironically titled Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003), yesterday afternoon.

The pernicious provisions in the bill pertaining to WIC that did not change between a previously released confidential discussion draft and H.R. 5003 include:

  • The introduction of new restrictions on the competitive bidding process for infant foods other than infant formula;
  • The requirement for an impossibly short 18-month study to be conducted examining the impact of adjunctive eligibility on WIC participation;
  • A number of corporate giveaways for infant formula manufacturers complicating cost-containment contracting; and
  • A provision for food retailers making it increasingly challenging for states to put in place vendor moratoria.


Neither the discussion draft nor the House bill include NWA’s key priorities to provide states the option to extend certification of infants to two years and to extend enrollment for children until their sixth birthdays.

WIC-related revisions made to the discussion draft before the bill was introduced yesterday include:

  • An insidious provision requiring a study to be conducted examining the consumption and redemption rates of fluid milk by WIC participants – yet another example of Congress undermining the science-based WIC food packages and circumventing the scientific rigor of the IOM review process.
  • Modifications to language concerning competitive bidding for non-infant formula baby foods. Although making it somewhat easier to enter into contracts, these modifications significantly increase the burden on states to report on the costs and benefits of these contracts.


Overall, these revisions render the House bill worse than the discussion draft. H.R. 5003 is a partisan, ideologically-driven bill that, if passed, would weaken child nutrition programs—including WIC—by introducing additional barriers to enrollment and administrative hurdles and by undercutting nutrition science and standards.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Congressman John Kline (R-MN), is expected to markup H.R. 5003 Wednesday, May 17.