House and Senate appropriators are preparing to initiate the annual funding process for federal departments, agencies, and programs, including WIC. Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Rep. Harold Rodgers, R-KY, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, indicate that they intend to mark up fiscal year 2015 funding bills at the same overall spending levels (i.e., 302(b) allocations - $521.4 billion for domestic spending and $492.5 billion for defense spending) set by last December’s budget agreement PL 113-67. In contrast, President Obama has proposed an additional $56 billion in spending on both defense and non-defense priorities as a part of its “Opportunity, Growth, and Security” initiative expected to be spelled out more clearly this week by White House of Management & the Budget Office (OMB) Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell.
Chairs Mikulski and Rodgers have been meeting to coordinate how and when their 12 appropriations bills will be scheduled for action. The Senate Chair is anticipating Subcommittee markups in May and full Committee markups in June. The House Chair has not articulated a schedule, though hearings have begun on the House side.
The House Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chaired by Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-AL, has scheduled a hearing on FY 2015 Agriculture Appropriations including WIC funding for March 14. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is the scheduled witness.
Meanwhile, both the Senate Budget Committee, Chaired by Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, and the House Budget Committee Chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan, D-WI, will hold hearings on Revenue and Economic Policy in the President’s 2015 Budget on March 12 with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew the scheduled witness.