National WIC Association

Weekly WIC Policy Update

May 21, 2018

House Rejects Farm Bill
On Friday, the House of Representatives rejected the farm bill (H.R. 2) by a vote of 198-213. The bill – which provides agriculture subsidies and funds SNAP – failed to garner any Democratic support after Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) included harmful proposals to limit access to SNAP and impose stricter work requirements. Some moderate Republicans also balked at the bill’s significant changes to SNAP. The House Freedom Caucus played a consequential role in the outcome of the bill by withholding support for the farm bill until Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised a vote on a controversial hardline immigration measure. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story for the House Farm Bill, as a second vote may be taken later this week.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has consistently signaled that the Senate farm bill will be a more bipartisan process. NWA applauds the House on rejecting this damaging proposal and looks forward to a bipartisan farm bill in the Senate.

House Agriculture Appropriations Bill Cuts WIC, Passes Out of Committee
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee passed its FY 2019 agriculture appropriations bill, cutting WIC funding by $175 million in overall budget authority (providing $6 billion as compared to the $6.175 billion that was ultimately appropriated in FY 2018). The bill also rescinded $300 million - more than the President's Budget called for - and again underfunded the breastfeeding peer counselor program at $60 million out of the total authorized $90 million. The continued $60 million funding level is not adequate to provide the program in all clinics that would like to provide it, leaving states and local governments to make up the difference, or not provide the program at all. Further, by continuing to provide flat-funding at $60 million, Congress is effectively cutting the budget of the program by not increasing funding for inflation. NWA is deeply disappointed that despite our efforts to request an amendment to the House bill to fully fund the breastfeeding peer counselor program at the committee level, none was offered. NWA is working with House offices to support an amendment now that the bill will move to the full House for a vote.

Senate to Mark Up Appropriations Bill Twice this Week: Your Voice Needed Today!

The Senate is scheduled to mark up its FY 2019 appropriations bill on both Tuesday (Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee) and Thursday (full Appropriations Committee). NWA is asking for full funding for WIC at $6.3 billion, as well as full funding for set asides, including $90 million for the breastfeeding peer counselor program. Please contact members of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today to support full WIC funding!*

*Please Note: This is a lobbying action.
As a reminder, it is your democratic right to lobby. Lobbying is a particular type of advocacy involving an attempt to influence specific legislation by communicating directly with an elected official or his or her staff. Each state has specific laws for state employees about lobbying efforts while on the job. We recommend limiting lobbying efforts to coffee breaks, lunch breaks, after hours and other times not considered “work time.”