National WIC Association

Weekly WIC Policy Update

May 16, 2016

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: The House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Congressman John Kline (R-MN), is now rumored to be preparing to mark up their child nutrition reauthorization legislation (H.R. 5003) this week, possibly Wednesday.

Chairman Kline issued a statement on Tuesday 3 May defending his committee’s bill, H.R. 5003, against “partisan attacks” from “organizations that championed a massive expansion in the federal government’s role in child nutrition” during the last Child Nutrition Reauthorization process in 2010.

The statement focuses heavily on criticisms of the bill’s proposed changes to the National School Lunch Program, particularly its proposal to increase the threshold for schools to be able to use the Community Eligibility Provision. The statement also briefly references WIC, insisting that H.R 5003 will strengthen Congress’s commitment to those in need of nutrition assistance by improving “the integrity and efficiency of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.”

The National WIC Association does not consider the changes to WIC proposed in H.R. 5003 as Congress’s attempts to strengthen WIC; rather, many of the provisions in the bill could potentially weaken the program. For our brief analysis of the bill, please see our blog post from April 25.

Now is your opportunity to weigh in on the House’s bill and tell your members of Congress, via Twitter and/or phone call, to oppose this bill. Organizations invited to sign this letter showing opposition for the bill.

Stop Infant Mortality and Recidivism Act of 2016: The National WIC Association (NWA) joined with other national group in offering strong support for H. R. 5130, the Stop Infant Mortality and Recidivism Reduction Act of 2016, otherwise known as SIMARRA, introduced last week by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX). Please see our letter from 11 May. This legislation permits the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Federal prison system for pregnant offenders by establishing a pilot program of critical-stage, developmental nurseries in Federal prisons for children born to inmates. WIC agencies in various parts of the nation currently provide support for incarcerated mothers through similar state prison system programs.