National WIC Association

Press Release: National WIC Association Applauds House Bill to Stop Relocation and Realignment of Key USDA Research Agency

December 20, 2018


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Stephen Padre, Media Manager

National WIC Association Applauds House Bill to Stop Relocation and Realignment of Key USDA Research Agency

Economic Research Service is Vital to Guiding WIC Program

WASHINGTON - The National WIC Association (NWA) is strongly supporting the introduction of the Agricultural Research Integrity Act of 2018 (H.R. 7330) today in the House of Representatives. The bill would halt the Department of Agriculture’s proposal to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside the Washington, D.C., area, and to realign ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE). NWA has joined national organizations across the nutrition, agriculture and economics fields and former USDA agency heads in opposing USDA’s relocation and realignment proposal since it was introduced in August. The proposed changes would harm the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

The bill was introduced by all Democrats on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee: Reps. Chellie Pingree (ME), Sanford Bishop (GA), Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Mark Pocan (WI). Other cosponsors are Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), incoming Chair of the Rules Committee, and Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Ann Kuster (D-NH) of the Agriculture Committee, as well as incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). The latter two represent the areas where the agencies are currently located.

USDA’s proposal for ERS would upend its operations, strip it of its independence as a statistical agency, undermine staff morale and instigate unnecessary and counterproductive staff loss and turnover.

“ERS’s analysis of food-security and nutrition-assistance programs serves as the foundation for a comprehensive body of research by public and nonprofit entities and helps to inform federal nutrition programs and policies,” said Rev. Douglas A. Greenaway, President and CEO of NWA, in a letter of support sent to the bill’s sponsors today. “ERS works collaboratively with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to evaluate the WIC program. Currently, ERS has eight active studies on WIC, several of which focus on cost containment, which saves taxpayer dollars and protects federal investments.”

“As an organization that advocates for the WIC program, we care deeply about people and are concerned for their health and well-being. So we are also very concerned about the employees of these agencies who would be affected by this relocation and the disruption to their careers and livelihoods careers that it would cause,” added Greenaway.

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