Congress is making progress on ironing out the details of a $1.012 trillion omnibus package to fund the government for the remainder of FY2014. It is expected to be passed by both chambers and be sent to the President sometime on Friday, January 17th. All 12 annual appropriations bills will be included in the package, and all programs will receive new funding allocations rather than operate under a year-long Continuing Resolution. The Agriculture Appropriations bill, which funds WIC and will become part of the omnibus package, has already been negotiated, and NWA will share details when they are released.
Because the current Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on Wednesday, January 15th, Congress is expected to pass another short-term CR that will keep the government running until Saturday, January 18th to provide a few more days to work on the omnibus bill and prevent another government shutdown. The House is scheduled to vote on the 3-day CR on Tuesday, January 14th. Appropriations leadership in both chambers have noted that the 3-day CR is not an indication that they are at a standstill but rather that their Committees just need a little more time to figure out all the details. A final package could be unveiled later today with House and Senate floor consideration as early as Tuesday and Wednesday.
WIC is funded at $6.522 billion until January 15th in the current continuing resolution. The Senate Appropriations Committee mark for WIC funding in FY2014 is $7.07 billion and the House Appropriations Committee mark is $6.655 billion. NWA recently sent a letter to appropriators requesting at least $6.79 billion in overall funding for WIC in FY2014, making specific funding requests for the program’s set-asides, and urging appropriators to oppose efforts to circumvent the science process for the WIC food package being pressed by the National Potato Council.
The President’s FY2015 budget proposal, which is usually released on the first Monday in February, is expected to be delayed, again in FY2013. The October government shutdown, delays in Congressional budget negotiations in 2013, and the delayed approval of the FY2014 appropriations bills has put the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) behind schedule. The President’s budget, therefore may not be unveiled until late February or early March.