National WIC Association

Washington Update: Tax Plan Passes Both Houses of Congress

December 21, 2017

Both houses of Congress have approved a final tax bill, sending the legislation to the White House for the President’s signature. The U.S. Senate approved the bill this morning by a vote of 51-48. All Republicans supported the bill – with the exception of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is in Arizona while battling brain cancer and was recently hospitalized – whereas all Democrats stood opposed. The U.S. House of Representatives initially approved the bill on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 227-203. Twelve Republicans opposed the legislation, in addition to all Democrats. The House was forced to revote on the legislation Wednesday afternoon after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that several provisions violated Congressional budget rules.

Economists of all stripes have labeled this tax bill as a once-in-a-generation transfer of wealth to corporations and the billionaire class. The Joint Committee on Taxation analyzed the final bill and determined that low-income and middle-class families – especially families making under $75,000 – will pay more in taxes by 2027. Thirteen million people are also expected to lose access to health insurance – and millions more will face higher premiums – as this tax bill repeals the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act. While many of us will face higher taxes or premiums in the coming years, the corporate tax rate was permanently slashed by 40% and a wide-range of provisions were included to exclusively benefit corporations and the already wealthy.

Republican leaders have already stated that their next objective is to cut benefits – including Medicare, Medicaid, and nutrition assistance programs like SNAP and WIC. Ostensibly, these members of Congress – including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – are now concerned that the United States cannot continue to fund these programs given the enormous deficit. Let’s be clear: these members of Congress just passed legislation that adds $1.45 trillion in debt to the federal deficit. The National WIC Association will oppose any effort to balance the budget or curb the deficit on the backs of mothers and children in need of nutrition assistance.

House Disaster Relief Bill Fails to Boost WIC Infrastructure Funds

The House has released its disaster supplemental appropriations bill — the third round of disaster funding this year — which is expected to be attached to the Continuing Resolution that is expected to be voted on by Congress before this Friday. NWA is disappointed that our request for $14 million in additional funds for WIC infrastructure grants to be made available to WIC agencies impacted by presidentially declared emergencies was not included in the package. We were pleased to see that the House Appropriations Committee Minority Members highlighted the need for this funding in their press release on the package. We hope to see the provision included in a Senate version of the bill. Swift action to provide funding is critical for the communities that have been ravaged by disasters this year.