President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget is scheduled to be released next week. He is expected to ask for $2 billion more in funding compared with FY 2014, but will stick to the $1.014 billion discretionary cap for FY 2015 set by the budget agreement and require no across-the-board sequester cuts. His budget proposal will not attempt to suggest a grand bargain and does not include a proposal to overhaul mandatory government programs by shifting to a “chained consumer price index” nor a proposal for a tax overhaul. But, it will likely include penalties for multinational corporations that funnel their profits overseas through accounting practices to avoid taxes.
It is anticipated that the President will propose a straightforward budget request for WIC that will fully fund the Program to meet caseload and food cost expectations as well as request funding for EBT, Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, Infrastructure, and Research.
Congressman David Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee plans to release a draft of his tax overhaul plan sometime this week. It has been almost 30 years since there was large-scale tax reform. The plan is expected to be revenue-neutral, which will not appease Democrats’ desire to bring in new revenue. It will form the basis for what are expected to be ongoing discussions.
Now that the FARMM Bill has been signed into law, the WIC Community is eagerly awaiting the release of the Final WIC Food Package Rule. A final rule has been promised for well over a year now, so no one is holding their breath. While there is no clarity or certainty on the date of its release, it would not be unreasonable to expect a notice in the coming weeks. Release of the rule, will most likely provide USDA with the trigger mechanism to notify Congress regarding their intentions with white potatoes. The WIC Community remains hopeful that USDA will stand firm in protecting the scientific integrity of the WIC food package as well as the scientific process for selecting foods to be included in the food package. The next review of the food package, likely conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is anticipated the be initiated in the Summer of 2015. Stay tuned.