National WIC Association

Weekly WIC Policy Update: President's FY 2016 Budget

February 3, 2015

President Barack Obama sent his nearly $4 trillion budget request to Congress today. Both houses of Congress will review the president’s budget and offer their own budget proposals this spring. In order to move forward with the FY 2016 Budget process, members of Congress must vote to raise the federal debt limit, which has been extended through mid-March.

The president’s proposed budget calls for $3.99 trillion in spending and $3.53 trillion in revenue in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The budget aims to improve the nation’s infrastructure and invest in middle-class Americans, while increasing taxes on businesses and the wealthy and ending existing spending caps. With this budget request, the Obama administration makes a case for easing Washington’s emphasis on deficit-reduction measures, given the strengthening economy.

The 2,000-page plan calls for an end to the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect under sequestration four years ago. Lawmakers reached a bipartisan deal to ease some of the cuts two years ago, but that deal expires in October.
Mr. Obama said Monday that he hopes his budget is the beginning of negotiations with congressional Republicans.

The Office of Management and Budget has created an interactive budget graphic that allows users to explore what percentage of the Federal Budget would be dedicated to different programs under the president’s proposed budget. 

WIC Funding in President’s Budget:

The budget provides a total of $6.62 billion to the WIC program through the end of FY 2016 to serve the 8.5 million mothers and young children expected to participate in the program each month. The budget also increases the contingency reserve to $150 million “to support participation should cost or participation exceed budget estimates.” More specifically, the budget allocates $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors, $14 million for infrastructure, and $55 million for management information systems ($30 million for management information systems [MIS] and $25 million for electronic benefit transfer systems [EBT]).

NWA supports the president’s WIC budget request and believes that, unlike some criticisms of the overall budget that have surfaced in the past few weeks, the 2016 WIC budget is reasonable, feasible, and mirrors the FY 2015 WIC budget to a large extent.