The House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chair, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking, completed its markup of the FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill last Wednesday, July 8. The draft bill was ordered to be reported favorably by a voice vote.
The full Appropriations Committee did not make any changes to the bill as marked up by the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration and Related Agencies, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Chair, Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Ranking. The spending bill funds WIC at $6.484 billion, including $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors, $55 million for management information systems (MIS), including WIC EBT systems and activities, and $14 million for WIC infrastructure. The Committee did not provide monies for the contingency fund.
The Committee’s funding level is $139 million below the FY2015 WIC funding level in recognition of WIC’s declining caseload, from a high of roughly 9 million participants in 2012 to just under 8 million as recently as March 2015. It is $200 million below NWA’s request which in addition to providing monies for a somewhat higher projected caseload, also included $30 million more for breastfeeding peer counselors, $25 million more for MIS/EBT, $5 million for rigorous health outcomes research, and an additional $6 million for cash value voucher (CVV) for fully breastfeeding women, bumping their CVV from $10 to $12.
There is also language in the bill stating that once a vender moratorium is lifted, states have the ability to request a waiver from the Secretary that would waive the requirement to conduct an on-site preauthorization prior to or at the time of a vendor’s initial authorization.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chair, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ranking, is expected to markup its Appropriations bill soon.