Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture released its funding bill for Fiscal Year 2019. The subcommittee is scheduled to mark up and vote on the bill this afternoon at 4 pm. The bill includes $6.00 billion in total budget authority for WIC, along with a $300 million rescission. This funding level is higher than what was provided in the President’s budget, but represents a further cut to WIC’s funding over FY2018. NWA is pleased that deeper cuts were not made, but remains concerned about the continued trend of decreased WIC funds, which is putting pressure on clinics to do more with less.
NWA was disappointed that funding for the breastfeeding peer counselor program has remained flat at $60 million.
NWA congratulates the subcommittee on including $12.297 million to support the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will include recommendations for pregnancy and birth through 24 months. This is the first designated appropriation for the Dietary Guidelines process, and will allow the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate the needed resources to ensure that the process is scientifically rigorous, inclusive, and transparent.
The Senate continues to work on its bill, which is expected to be released within the next month. NWA will continue its advocacy for WIC funding at $6.3 billion and full funding of set asides—including the breastfeeding peer counselor program at $90 million—in both the House and Senate. No funding will be finalized until a bill is passed through both chambers and signed by the President, which may not happen before the September 30 deadline, resulting in a Continuing Resolution to start the next fiscal year.