Last week, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee chaired by Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) passed the Agriculture Appropriations bill in a bipartisan vote of 28-2. The bill includes $6.513 billion for WIC in FY2016, which is $29 million more than the House bill’s proposed WIC funding allocation and likely enough funding to meet anticipated caseload needs. It also included $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors and other related activities, $13.6 million for infrastructure, and $55 million for MIS/EBT.
The bill will move to the full Senate floor for debate and amendment and vote by the entire Senate. Dates for floor action have yet to be set. Click here to view the bill text.
On Thursday, July 16th, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced a companion bill of the Wise Investment in Our Children (WIC) Act in the Senate. It gives states the option to extend WIC to children up to six years old and the option to extend infant certification to two years. Click here to view the bill text. Click here to view the one-pager from Senator Casey’s Office. NWA worked with Senator Casey on this bill and is pleased to see marker bills reflecting some of NWA’s priorities introduced in both the House and the Senate. As you may recall, Congresswoman DeLauro (D-CT) and Congresswoman Sanchez (D-CA) introduced a similar bill earlier this summer in the House. Marker bills are bills that are intended to formally introduce new policy proposals with the goal of getting them included in a larger bill, in this case the Child Nutrition Act. Therefore, this is the first positive step in a long process to extend WIC to age six and infant certification until two years old. To encourage your Senators and Representative to support NWA’s priorities, including the two outlined in these marker bills, click here to send a letter through NWA’s user-friendly online letter campaign website.