Trump FY 2019 Budget Requests Funding for WIC to “Serve All Projected Participants”
The Trump Administration released its FY 2019 Budget, entitled Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget, on Monday, February 12. The $4.4 trillion budget would slash mandatory and discretionary spending on domestic programs while dramatically boosting spending on the military and immigration enforcement.
The budget calls for a topline funding level of $5.75 billion for WIC to serve all projected participants in FY 2019. The $5.75 billion would be coupled with a $215 million rescission of unspent funds, leaving WIC with a net funding level of $5.54 billion in FY 2019. While this topline funding level is significantly less than what was appropriated for WIC in FY 2017 ($6.35 billion) and what we expect WIC to receive in FY 2018 ($6.15 billion), it is likely to be sufficient to meet projected caseload needs in FY 2019. This is largely because food costs have remained relatively stable, cost containment strategies have helped reduce program costs, rebates are among their highest levels, and WIC participation continues to decline. Administration officials predict that WIC participation will drop to 6.9 million participants per month in FY 2019.
WIC set-asides in the budget include $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors, $13.6 million for infrastructure, and $5 million for program evaluation and monitoring. While breastfeeding peer counseling and infrastructure would receive the same amount in FY 2019 that they are set to receive in FY 2018, program evaluation and monitoring is facing a $10 million cut. NWA will continue to advocate for full authorized funding of $90 million for breastfeeding peer counselors and $25 million in enhanced program research and evaluation funding. In addition, NWA will advocate for increasing the WIC contingency fund to $250 million in light of uncertainties in economic projections and WIC caseload predictions.
To read more about the President’s budget and its implications for WIC and other nutrition programs, check out our blog post from February 12. We will keep you updated on the budget and appropriations process and the implications for WIC funding in FY 2019.
FY 2018 Spending Deal Still Being Negotiated
Congress returns to Washington, DC today following last week’s President’s Day recess to continue discussions on an FY 2018 spending package that would fund the government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. As a reminder, we are currently operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that expires March 23. Appropriators in the House and Senate are attempting to craft a spending package that aligns with the two-year budget agreement reached earlier this month.
Democrats hope to pair a number of policy provisions with the must-pass spending legislation, including protections for “Dreamers”, the nearly 1.8 million undocumented immigrants living in the US who came here as children. About 700,000 of these immigrants are currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), which is set to expire on March 5 under executive order from the Trump Administration. Fortunately, the administration is under court order not to revoke work permits or deport any DACA recipients.
The Senate was unable to reach consensus two weeks ago on legalizing the status of Dreamers when the issue was brought to the Senate floor in the form of four separate bills. House Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) has suggested that a temporary, short-term extension of DACA may be included in the spending measure if Congress cannot agree on a permanent solution in the next few weeks. Democrats are likely to continue pushing for a more permanent solution.