FY 2017 Budget and Appropriations: Last Wednesday, the House Budget Committee, chaired by Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) approved its FY 2017 budget resolution, known as “A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America” by a vote of 20-16. The overarching theme of the budget proposal is balancing the budget, reducing spending, and paying off the federal deficit. To achieve these goals, the resolution cuts non-defense discretionary spending (the spending category that WIC falls into) by $877 billion over ten years—a cut of 18.6%. While it maintains the FY 2017 non-defense discretionary spending cap set by the Balanced Budget Amendment of 2015, in FY 2018 it cuts non-defense discretionary spending from $516 billion to $472 billion, a cut of $44 billion, or 8.5%. Under this resolution, the budget then freezes non-defense discretionary spending at the $472 billion level for the next nine years. This spending cap, if passed into law, could have grave implications for WIC operations moving forward. In addition, the budget resolution promises a full repeal of Affordable Care Act.
The House will not consider the resolution until after the spring recess (March 24-April 11), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced last Thursday. Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have come out in opposition to the resolution, meaning it may be difficult for the resolution to pass the House.
The National WIC Association submitted testimony last Tuesday, March 15th to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, chaired by Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL), with NWA’s WIC funding request for FY 2017. The testimony reflected the funding asks from our 2017 Legislative Agenda.
In addition, a letter was sent from Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s office (D-WI) to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture last Tuesday. The letter includes 116 signatures of House members, who have signed on in support of NWA’s WIC funding request of $6.366 billion. A similar letter was sent out last Thursday from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s office (D-NY) to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, chaired by Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS). The Senate letter includes 22 signatures. We appreciate the leadership of these Senators and Congresspersons to ensure that WIC is adequately funded in 2017.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization: There is no planned movement on Child Nutrition Reauthorization this week.