Oregon WIC has made it a priority to support, work with, and hear from local WIC providers through the pandemic. Local WIC providers in Oregon have raised the importance of ensuring that decision-making in WIC be grounded in an equity framework, highlighting the need for Congress to extend USDA’s waiver authority for WIC. Tiare Sanna, Oregon’s WIC Director, says that Oregon WIC will "support implementation of remote service in order to prevent undue risk to participants and staff, as long as waivers are granted."
Over 60 national organizations and over 350 local service-provider agencies from all 50 states are calling on Congress to extend U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) waiver authority for WIC in the next COVID-response package.
After two months of delay and with continued unreasonably high levels of unemployment and rising COVID-19 infections across the country, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and a number of Senate Republicans have unveiled a series of proposals that – taken together – are wholly inadequate to address the needs of infants and young children. With one-in-six families with children struggling to afford food, it is unconscionable to advance another relief package without robust nutrition assistance.
Since March, WIC providers have been able to offer remote services to reduce exposure and minimize the risk of COVID-19 for participants and clinic staff. Nebraska is now moving toward its fourth phase of reopening, where social distancing is now considered a recommendation, not a requirement.
Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with National WIC Association! Every year around the world, individuals and organizations celebrate WBW from August 1-7. With this year’s theme of Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet!, learn about the affordability and sustainability of breastfeeding and how breastfeeding translates to responsible consumption.
With food insecurity on the rise, we are seeing an increased need for nutrition services, breastfeeding advocacy, and health equity work. WIC agencies and workers are addressing these challenges and public health threats with limited resources, making their jobs more challenging than ever. This year’s conference is focused on Feeding Families, Fueling the Future.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, WIC providers in New Mexico put their creativity to the test with the implementation of their new "curbside" clinic service. When stay-at-home orders were announced in New Mexico in March 2020, state WIC director Sarah Flores-Sievers had to quickly transition the way WIC provides nutrition and public health services to families
Earlier today, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) issued a comprehensive scientific report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is a significant step in the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
After several months of focusing on COVID-19 response, House appropriators returned to regular order and unveiled several spending bills for fiscal year 2021.
On June 29, the USDA announced the extension of all approved waivers for providers of WIC through September 30, 2020. These waivers have allowed state and local WIC agencies to offer remote services – including remote certification for new applicants, remote appointments, and remote benefit issuance. They also allow for expanded options for allowable WIC foods.
As federal, state, and local governments plan for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, WIC staff and participants alike have expressed concern about whether WIC services are ready to normalize operations. In recognition of these difficulties, NWA has created resources to assist state and local WIC providers in thinking through different elements of reopening.
We are thrilled to announce this year's opening keynote speaker at our Virtual Annual Conference: Kwame Onwuachi!
Chef Kwame Onwuachi is the James Beard Award-winning executive chef at Kith/Kin and was the Esquire Magazine 2019 Chef of the Year. He is the author of Notes from a Young Black Chef, published by Alfred A. Knopf.
George Floyd’s brutal death – in plain view for all Americans to see – is not an isolated circumstance. Countless others, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, James Scurlock, and Elijah McClain, have been taken from us too soon as a result of shameless and systemic violence targeted at the Black community. Too often, society looks away as figures of authority – including police – abuse the public trust and exert unnecessary force at the expense of Black lives. Our silence and avoidance are older than our nation’s history. To these, we say: no more.
I am in immense pain over what continues to be our great national stain, our great sins of omission and commission – the legacy of enslavement, the obliteration of the successes of Reconstruction, the tragedy of Jim Crow, and the perpetuation of disrespect, disdain, diminishment, and death that White America heaps upon Black bodies – either directly or by our silence – in our current era.
The National WIC Association’s Virtual Annual Conference 2020 is less than a month away! Join us June 23-25 for this exciting event. Have questions? Check out these FAQs to learn more.
As an attendee, you can access the conference from any screen, anywhere in the world. Our Virtual Conference will be an online destination for the WIC community to choose from more than 25 general and concurrent sessions. Expand your professional skills and knowledge base, and feel equipped to face the current and future changes within the WIC Program.
COVID-19 has changed everything about our lives. With an increased need for remote and online services, WIC agencies and workers have had to address new challenges and public health threats with limited resources, making their jobs more challenging than ever. This year, the National WIC Association’s Virtual Annual Conference is focused on Adapting to Change: Supporting the WIC Community.
A virtual event is a large, multi-session online event that features webinars, chat rooms, and more. Instead of meeting in a physical location, people interact in a virtual environment. The NWA Virtual Annual Conference will be highly interactive and have a similar feel to a physical event. You simply use the internet to connect with thousands of attendees from across the country!
Congress, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, vested the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the authority to approve waivers that permit providers of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to adapt services to ensure the safety of WIC moms, young children, and clinic staff throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. Rather than responding boldly and utilizing the full extent of that authority, USDA approved time-limited waivers that end on May 31, 2020.
On Tuesday afternoon, House Democrats introduced a fifth legislative package that would address the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act addresses a wide breadth of issues, including: additional aid for state and local governments, funding for testing and treatment, direct cash assistance for families, and a 15% increase in the maximum benefit levels for SNAP recipients.
Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Kim Schrier (D-WA), and Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) introduced the Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act) in the House of Representatives. The bill permits state agencies administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to: (1) extend child eligibility to age six or the beginning of kindergarten; (2) extend infant certification periods to two years; and (3) extend postpartum women’s eligibility to two years.
On May 5, 2020, Reps. Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Ron Wright (R-TX) introduced the WIC Benefit Flexibility During COVID-19 Act. This bill would temporarily increase the value of WIC’s Cash Value Benefit (CVB) – a monthly benefit for WIC families to purchase fruits and vegetables – to provide additional healthy options for WIC shoppers
The COVID-19 fund will advance every WIC agency's ability to respond to their community, so food and nutrition do not have to be worries during these challenging times.
On April 16, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that significantly weakens the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards – federal regulations that governs mercury and other air pollution produced by power plants. The MATS standards are an important step toward reducing mercury emissions, which have a disproportionate impact on fetal development and health. Even small amounts of mercury exposure can have significant health impacts on the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system. Fetal exposure to mercury can lead to brain damage and hearing/vision issues. NWA joined the American Lung Association and other major health groups in opposing this change and calling for appropriate regulation of power plant emissions.
Perhaps no contemporary event has shaken all humankind as significantly or dramatically as the current COVID-19 pandemic. It’s as if we were the good citizens of Troy – under siege, soon to be left in smoldering ruins, deriving consolation from our shared misery. Our common plea, like that of the Trojans, is that the siege be not long and our losses, but few. That was not to be Troy’s fate, and it may not be ours.
We know that black women are disproportionately impacted by our nation’s maternal mortality crisis, and early signs suggest it might worsen with COVID-19. The third annual Black Maternal Health Week, founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, is an opportune time for WIC and the nation to lift up black women and center their voices and experiences.
Each state issues benefits to participants at different times throughout the month. Rather than avoid the grocery store at certain dates, the National WIC Association encourages all shoppers to be mindful of their neighbors when shopping. We must all play our part to avoid hoarding key products - like infant formula - to ensure that all shoppers can purchase the products they need.
Today, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which the House passed early Saturday morning. Rev. Greenaway: “This legislation ensures that WIC stands ready to deliver throughout the public health emergency.”
Two studies released today demonstrate why WIC participation is so critical for young children. “The takeaway here is simple – WIC works,” said Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA).
For WIC, the President’s Budget recommends funding at $5.5 billion, a $500 million decrease from fiscal year 2020 levels. The White House justifies this decrease by citing reduced caseload, estimating that only 6.2 million participants will access WIC in 2021.
Congress places spotlight on maternal and infant health, the House will vote on disapproval for administration plans to block grant medicaid, a SNAP online pilot program expands in Washington State, and more in this week's WIC policy update.
On January 30, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidance that would allow states to apply for waivers of Medicaid funding rules, essentially permitting block grants for adults covered through the Medicaid expansion authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to lift the nationwide injunction that blocked public charge from going into effect. WIC is explicitly excluded from the public charge rule. That and more in this week's WIC policy update.
On January 17, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced two proposed rules, one of which will further alter the nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program.
Public charge injunction upheld in federal court, Congress to consider labor protections for pregnant workers, new legislation introduced to support breastfeeding workers, and more in this week's WIC policy update.
A new lawsuit challenges State Department public charge policies, FDA issues rolled-back vaping ban, plus more in this week's WIC policy update.
Last week, both houses of Congress passed two spending packages that appropriated approximately $1.4 trillion in federal spending for fiscal year 2020. The two measures were largely divided between defense and domestic programs. WIC funding was included in the domestic package, which funded WIC at $6 billion.
Congress unveils two spending packages to fund all federal agencies for fiscal year 2020, House advances expansion of home visiting programs, legislators request review of ERS relocation, and more in this week's WIC policy update.
Today, Congress reached a deal that would include 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal government workers in the National Defense Authorization Act. The United States is currently the only developed country in the world that does not guarantee paid leave for new parents.
The National WIC Association (NWA) recently released an official statement formalizing the organization’s commitment to health equity. NWA defines health equity as the ability of all individuals and families to achieve optimal health, irrespective of their identity, race, ability, or class.
USDA issues the first final rule to restrict SNAP access, congress is poised to pass paid parental leave for federal workers, and appropriators continue to negotiate FY 2020 bills.
This week, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that WIC participation is associated with lower preterm birth and infant mortality. Specifically, the study found that babies born to WIC participants are 33% less likely to die in the first year of life.
On December 4, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), restricting state waivers of the three-month time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). USDA estimates that the final rule will leave nearly 700,000 individuals without access to SNAP.
In this week's WIC policy update—Just one week left to weigh in on the latest proposal to limit SNAP, a CDC study demonstrates WIC's role in reducing childhood obesity, and more!
Last Thursday, Representatives David Trone (D-MD), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) introduced the bipartisan bill Supporting Healthy Outcomes for Mothers and Infants Act of 2019 to support mothers and their infants who are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
On November 22, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new study demonstrating statistically significant decreases in obesity prevalence among young children (aged 2-4) participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in 41 out of 56 WIC state or territorial agencies.
In this week's policy update—NWA leads a renewed call for full funding for breastfeeding peer counselors, appropriators suggest a spending deal could happen this week, NWA leads call for an end to the controversial relocation of USDA research agencies, and more.
The Senate passes WIC funding, a federal court delays a policy barring new immigrants on Medicaid, the White House nominates a new FDA commissioner, plus more in this week's WIC policy update.
This is the last week to weigh in on a harmful proposed rule to restrict access to SNAP and school meals. NWA has templates to assist you with crafting your own individual comment. Speak out today to safeguard child nutrition! Read more – including the latest on WIC funding – in this week’s legislative update.
The National WIC Association (NWA) has launched The WIC Hub—an innovative online tool—to streamline information for WIC staff, researchers, and advocates. The Hub is a centralized, regularly updated collection of resources covering a wide range of WIC-related topics.
Federal courts delayed public charge, USDA reopened comment period on SNAP rule, and a House Agriculture subcommittee held a hearing highlighting mass staff attrition at the Economic Research Service (ERS). This week, the Senate will consider WIC funding and the House will examine protections for pregnant workers.
This afternoon, a federal court in the Southern District of New York issued a nationwide injunction that prevents implementation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's final public charge rule. Without the injunction, the final public charge rule would have gone into effect on Tuesday, October 15.
USDA unveils a third effort to restrict SNAP access, Congress enters its final week of the October recess, and the White House bans immigrants who would rely on Medicaid and ACA subsidies.
Last week, President Trump signed a continuing resolution that continues funding for the federal government through November 21. The measure received bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, with the House voting 301-132 and the Senate voting 81-25 in favor. Read more in our weekly WIC policy update.
This afternoon, the Senate approved a continuing resolution that would extend government funding through November 21 by a vote of 82-15. The vote comes just a few days before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, and a continuing resolution was a necessary step to avert a government shutdown. The House approved a continuing resolution last week by a vote of 301-123, and the White House has indicated that the President will sign the measure.
Today is the last day to speak out on USDA’s proposal to restrict access to SNAP and school meals. Take a minute to add your voice in support of child nutrition!
Congress is back in session with only a few weeks before the September 30 deadline to pass new appropriations bills, and the White House is mulling over a massive reduction in the refugee program.
With the current fiscal year rapidly closing in and a September 30 deadline to negotiate new fiscal year 2020 funding, Congress is expected to resort to a stopgap spending bill buying negotiating time and averting a federal government shutdown.
This week's WIC policy update asks you to submit a public comment to preserve access to SNAP and school meals, provides insight on the public charge rule, suggests you connect with your member of congress, and mentions a new bill to protect children from ICE detention.
The final public charge rule is issued, USDA agrees to concessions in union negotiations with ERS researchers, and the United Nations publishes landmark report on climate change, including risks to global food supply.
Rev. Greenaway: “It is no wonder so many communities fear this Administration, when it has leveraged federal assistance to shut immigrants and their families out from the American dream.”
This week's update includes ways to support recent WIC legislation, a push for WIC clinics to connect with their elected officials, FY2020 appropriations update, USDA's harmful SNAP proposal, and more.
This afternoon, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act). The bipartisan legislation would empower states to enact common-sense reforms to streamline WIC services and enhance the program’s public health impact. The WIC Act would permit states to: (1) extend child eligibility to age six or the beginning of kindergarten; (2) extend postpartum eligibility to two years; and (3) extend infant certification periods to two years.
On July 31, 2019, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act). The bill permits state agencies administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to: (1) extend child eligibility to age six or the beginning of kindergarten; (2) extend infant certification periods to two years; and (3) extend postpartum women’s eligibility to two years.
In late April, the Rev. Douglas A. Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association, paid a visit to WIC clinics in South Carolina. He began his visit sharing remarks with the WIC leadership team at the team’s staff meeting at Saluda Shoals. At this visit, Douglas shared stories about past NWA and WIC successes, experiences with WIC leaders and participants across the country, and offered insights into the future of WIC. While at the meeting, he reminded staff that WIC is a “hand up, not a hand out.”
A budget deal is passed in the House, pro-breastfeeding legislation signed into law, and a harmful SNAP rule is open for public comment. Read more in our weekly WIC policy update.
This August, members of Congress will be back in their home districts for an entire month. However, before they leave they are hoping to secure a budget spending deal.
This week's WIC policy update highlights a report on the separation of migrant children, the status of the budget deal, the Census, and public charge.
From June 3 through 6, four staff from NWA traveled throughout Mississippi as part of a nationwide public health project funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Traveling to Northeast Mississippi (Tupelo and Pontotoc), the Mississippi Delta (Indianola and Greenwood), the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and Jackson, NWA staff visited six communities across the state in four days. Each regional convening was tailored to the needs and asks of each community thereby allowing attendees to establish or strengthen local partnerships.
The Senate Republicans are closer to finishing a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill, and the 2020 Census is printed without a citizenship question. Read how this impacts WIC in this week's WIC policy update.
Members of congress are in recess all this week, returning to work Monday, July 8. Learn about the House's second minibus that passed last week in our weekly WIC policy update.
NWA applauds the House for passing the Agriculture/FDA appropriations bill, which includes strong funding for WIC and record investments in WIC’s highly successful Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program
The House is in the final stages of considering FY 2020 funding for WIC, and national news outlets are spotlighting the treatment of migrant children in detention facilities.
This week's WIC policy update provides template comments on the OMB's plan to alter the Federal Poverty Guidelines, reports on the House's spending bill packages, covers USDA's ERS and NIFA relocation announcement, and more.
The National WIC Association strongly opposes Secretary Perdue’s crusade against independent research at USDA. Nutrition assistance programs rely on the independent research conducted by the Economic Research Service (ERS) to inform program administration and ensure efficient stewardship of federal resources. USDA’s plans undermine the very concept of good government.
New legislation was introduced that supports WIC local agency projects. Stay up to date with this week’s WIC policy update
The House has advanced WIC funding for FY 2020, including full funding for the BFPC Program for the first time. NWA applauds the bill's investments in WIC and looks forward to working with the Senate.
Several bills affecting WIC families were introduced before the Memorial Day recess. Stay up to date with this week’s Legislative Update, including an upcoming House hearing on WIC funding.
Between May 6th and 9th, four staff from the National WIC Association traveled throughout Ohio as part of a nationwide public health project funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. With a total of four convenings in four different cities on four different days, each convening began with a clinic visit, was followed by a working lunch collaborative led by Dyane Gogan Turner—State Director of the Ohio WIC Program—and Dana Mayer—Infant Vitality Program Administrator at the Bureau of Maternal, Child and Family Health—and ended with WIC specific presentations and listening sessions. Through this series of events, NWA was successful in building new relationships with local staff while strengthening its partnership with state partners in Ohio
This morning, the House Appropriations Committee released the text for its FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which governs WIC funding. The bill includes in total $155.3 billion in funding for agriculture and nutrition programs, which is a $3.2 billion increase above FY 2019 funding. Under the bill, WIC would be funded at $6 billion – a $75 million decrease from FY 2019 enacted levels. The House Bill would also rescind $800 million in unspent funds.
The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program has increased funding by $10 million, bringing to a total of $70 million. The House Bill officially blocks the USDA from relocating the Economic Research Service (ERS), and will also prohibit USDA from moving ERS outside of USDA’s research realm.
Tomorrow, the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will assemble to consider the bill and advance it to the full House Appropriations Committee. The Senate is expected to release a bill before the August recess.
The Appropriations process is not fully complete until Congress and the White House come to an agreement on the overall budget numbers. NWA will keep Its members updated as the process discloses.
This week's WIC policy update features information about the upcoming budget negotiations, the Census, and Washington State's public option for health insurance.
NWA is excited to share this new study from a research collaboration between the University of California in Los Angeles, PHFE WIC and the County of Los Angeles. This important study demonstrates how WIC participation positively impacts health outcomes and costs-savings.
This week's WIC policy update informs readers about a wide range of topics. Some include the national paid family leave policy, maternal mortality prevention on the federal level, and a new disaster relief bill.
In this week's WIC Policy Update: USDA has picked the finalists for the relocation of sites for ERS and NIFA; House appropriators will mark up the Labor-HHS-Military Construction-Legislative Branch bills; Tennessee is asking Trump to approve the first Medicaid block grant; and remembering Sen. Richard G. Lugar, a WIC champion
In this week's WIC Policy Update: the Black Maternal Health Caucus is founded; House appropriators to release their FY 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill; a relocation of USDA research divisions moves forward; the nutritional quality of USDA school lunches are increasing; and Medicaid and CHIP enrollment has dropped since March 2017
One of the WIC clinics in Houston recently hosted their representative to the US House of Representatives. Here's what they did, and you can do it too!
In this week's WIC Policy Update: Yet again, WIC has a stake, either directly or indirectly, in developments in more than one branch of government - the executive and judicial. We update you on developments happening in USDA and at the Supreme Court this week, as well as Congress.
This week's WIC policy update has information about the recent Child Nutrition Reauthorization hearing and more.
NWA's annual awards for work in WIC were presented.
In this week's WIC Policy Update, we share template comments opposing SNAP changes, updates on the appropriations process, provide an update on the relocation of ERS and NIFA, and more.
In this week's WIC Policy Update, there are developments scattered across a variety of fronts: adult access to SNAP assistance; the Senate has joined the budget game; a disaster-relief package is expected to move this week; and House appropriators will scrutinize a USDA research reorganization.
In this week's WIC Policy Update: Now that all of President Trump's budget has been released, we can get a full picture of what the White House is proposing for spending. As far as WIC is concerned, the president is calling for a reduction in resources. But Congress does not have to follow suit. We explain what's coming.
The biggest news in this week's WIC Policy Update is that the debate begins over the federal budget with the release today of President Trump's budget proposal. We explain where WIC stands in it. In other news, the House subcommittee that has jurisdiction over WIC will look at child nutrition programs tomorrow. Congressional leaders are signaling movement on budget caps and appropriations. All that and more.
In this week's WIC Policy Update, we report that the Senate is beginning consideration of a budget caps deal; fiscal year 2019 appropriations are complete; USDA is signaling another proposed rule on SNAP; and USDA and HHS have announced the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee members.
President Trump announced today that he would sign a bipartisan spending deal that will fund the nine federal departments that had gone without long-term funding since September 2018. This includes the US Department of Agriculture, which administers WIC. With this action, WIC funding is now assured through September 30, 2019. The current spending deal essentially mirrors the deal set before the President allowed a partial government shutdown in December.
Today and tomorrow are make-or-break days for Congress and the president to avoid another partial shutdown of the federal government. Congress will vote today on a spending package to fund several agencies, including the Agriculture Department, which runs WIC.
This week's WIC policy update discusses the impending spending vote, breastfeeding legislation, Puerto Rico, and more.
As is the case many times for our Weekly WIC Policy Update, there's a lot going on in the world of WIC policy: the State of the Union address this week; the president's delayed budget; a USDA proposal regarding SNAP; more relating to reuniting migrant families; and more.
Four staff members from the NWA national office visited Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands January 22 to 30 as part of a series of listening sessions with WIC staff in various parts of the country taking place from last fall through this spring. One of the staffers on that visit to the Caribbean, Stephen Padre, NWA’s communications manager, wrote this article as a glance into what the national office staff heard and saw during their time with Puerto Rico and US Virgin Island WIC staff.
This week's WIC policy update gives insight about the reopened government and how the shutdown affected WIC families.
President Trump announced this afternoon that he would support a short-term continuing resolution that would fund the federal government through February 15, restoring federal funding to programs like WIC that have been struggling to sustain services as the shutdown endured for 35 days.
NWA staff are in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands this week and next, part of a series of "listening sessions" with state WIC agencies in various parts of the US and its territories.
This afternoon, the Senate took two votes to end the shutdown, but both votes failed. See other shutdown related news here.
This week in the WIC Policy Update, we have an Action Alert - a request to contact your members of Congress to ask them to support the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program. We also provide a short update on WIC and the partial federal government shutdown.
As the partial shutdown of the federal government approaches the three-week mark, the National WIC Association (NWA) is expressing growing concern over funding and the government’s ability to keep the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program fully operational over the coming weeks if the shutdown continues.
Last night, President Trump and Democratic leaders - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) - gave remarks to the American public via televised addresses. Both speeches addressed the situation at the US southern border but did not provide any new perspectives or information with regards to resolving the current funding impasse. Today, congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle are scheduled to meet at the White House at 3 PM ET to continue budget negotiations.
In this week's WIC policy update we give insight on the partial government shutdown, announce our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Education Day on Capitol Hill, report on two House appropriations bills, and a few more pressing topics.
It appears the partial shutdown of the federal government may not end anytime soon. Here's an update.
This is an update on the partial shutdown of the federal government and the start of the new Congress today in Washington, DC. The House is expected to vote on a package of full appropriations for six of the seven expired bills, including Agriculture-Food and Drug Administration, which funds WIC.
NWA is urging action to end the government shutdown. Its President & CEO condemns the manufactured uncertainty and misplaced priorities that threaten the nutrition and health of America’s children.
Shutdown Likely as Trump Indicates He Won’t Sign Continuing Resolution
This afternoon, outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) confirmed that President Trump will not sign a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund parts of the federal government through February 8, 2019. The CR had passed in the Senate yesterday evening. This differs from Trump’s previous position, having indicated as recently as yesterday that he was willing to approve a CR without $5 billion in border-wall funding. As a result, it is increasingly likely that parts of the federal government, including the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers WIC, will shut down when funding expires at midnight tomorrow.
The National WIC Association (NWA) is strongly supporting the introduction of the Agricultural Research Integrity Act of 2018 (H.R. 7330) today in the House of Representatives. The bill would halt the Department of Agriculture’s proposal to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside the Washington, D.C., area, and to realign ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE).
Even though the holidays are fast approaching, Congress is showing no signs of slowing down. A possible shutdown, the farm bill, maternal mortality and premature birth legislation, and more have been on its agenda - just in the past week. And in other parts of the federal government and various states, there are other things happening that affect WIC.
Today the Senate passed, 87-13, H.R. 2, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, which is expected to pass the House later this week. NWA, through its president and CEO, issued a statement about its passage.
Today the two-month public comment period on the proposed public charge rule ends. The House will vote on the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act and a maternal mortality bill. A couple of legislatures in the Midwest are voting to reverse family-friendly policies. The farm bill may pass this week. And spending negotiations continue on a federal government budget. All in a week's work in Washington and elsewhere, reviewed for you in this week's WIC Policy Update!
NWA is speaking out against a proposed regulation that would expand the public charge test for people applying for legal residency or entry to the United States with the submission today of its official organizational comments. In October, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed the regulation, which would penalize immigrants who access a wide range of public assistance programs, including Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
As we report on in this week's WIC Policy Update, legislation and related happenings are getting re-arranged due to the funeral of President George H.W. Bush this week in Washington. And this update reminds you that this is the last week for the public to submit comments about the proposed changes to the public charge rule.
This week's WIC Policy Update seemingly covers the waterfront: appropriations, public charge, Democratic leadership elections, an abbreviated session for Congress, plus some big issues - asylum and climate change. All of which could impact WIC.
There are only 21 days left to leave comments during the public comment period for the proposed change to the public charge rule. We also look at what to expect for the coming weeks in Congress in this in-between period before the new Congress starts.
Here is our post-midterm election summary and what Tuesday's results mean for the WIC program.
This is it! Election Day is almost upon us! It's time to vote! While voting ends tomorrow, the time to have your say about WIC in the proposed public charge rule continues, and it's important to participate in the public comment process too.
The charge on public charge continues, with additional help, namely a webinar happening tomorrow, to help agencies and individuals submit comments on the proposed rule change. And, of course, we are counting down the days to the mid-term elections, which are important for a number of reasons, including WIC.
NWA joined 15 other health and medical organizations and more than two dozen medical professionals and health scientists in a statement issued today voicing concern about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) intent to weaken public health protections from coal power pollution. The EPA recently proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which would weaken limits on air pollution that can come from coal-burning power plants.
The newest and most important thing in this week's Weekly WIC Policy Update is the NWA-produced Template Comments Addressing Public Charge in various languages to enable non-English speakers who participate in WIC to submit comments on the proposed rule change.
In its October 18 broadcast, "PBS NewsHour" aired the story titled “Proposed immigration policy penalizes legal residents for use of public benefits,” which is about the public charge issue. The story featured a mother who is a former participant in WIC and what her future may hold with the proposed changes to the public charge rule.
This week's WIC Policy Update reminds us of the importance of voting in the upcoming midterm elections in general and for the sake of WIC as well as the importance of submitting comments during the public charge comment period.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formally proposed its rules change to public charge in the Federal Register on October 10. The comment period is now open until December 10, 2018.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will post the proposed public charge rule in the Federal Register on Wednesday, October 10. This will formally open the public comment period on the rule, which will last until December 10. Here's what WIC agencies can do now.
WIC plays a key role in helping families recover from disasters, which has happened recently in the wake of Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina.
It's been several days since the US Department of Homeland Security released its proposed regulation related to public charge. Where do we stand now? What happens next? Also, WIC funding was included in a continuing resolution through December 7.
Yesterday evening, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its long-rumored proposed regulation related to the public charge test. The proposed rule significantly expands the public charge test to punish immigrants for accessing a wide range of federal programs, including SNAP and Medicaid. However, WIC is not listed in the proposed rule. The proposed regulation is therefore narrower than the leaked drafts that were published in news outlets this past spring. While NWA staff continue to analyze the proposed rule, here are some key insights:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveiled a proposed regulation yesterday evening that would greatly expand the public charge test for those applying for legal residency or entry to the United States. The proposed regulation would penalize immigrants who access a wide range of public assistance programs, including Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
This op-ed was co-written by Rev. Douglas Greenaway, NWA’s President and CEO; Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus; and John Bouman, President of Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law on the occasion of the Census Bureau’s announcement last week that 17.5 percent of children were living in poverty in the US in 2017. The original purpose of the op-ed was to place it in the media to raise attention to this issue, and we are also sharing it here.
This news release reports on the September 14 event organized by NWA at which US Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA) announced that they plan to reintroduce the Wise Investment in our Children (WIC) Act.
This week’s WIC update reflects the busy-ness of the fall in our nation's capital. We recap an exciting event that NWA organized for the launch of a new piece of WIC-related legislation as well as another event in Washington, DC, that NWA participated in regarding maternal and infant health. Plus we provide an update on appropriations and more.
A new farmers market debuted this summer in Adams County, Colorado. The market is situated in a food desert and lower-income area of the City of Thornton. The market is located at the Anythink Library on Huron Street every Tuesday morning from July 10 through October 9. This area had no continuous seasonal farmers markets—only a produce booth at the three-day Thornton Harvest Festival.
WIC participants - pregnant women, infants, and children - are among the most vulnerable in natural or human-caused disasters. Although not an emergency-assistance program, WIC can play an important role in helping families impacted by disasters get back on their feet. NWA has compiled some key resources to help you be as prepared as possible in the event of a disaster.
This week’s WIC update provides an update on the Child Separation Policy, information regarding the spending packages making their way through Congress, and the reintroduction of the “WIC” Act that would improve WIC in several ways, including raising the age of WIC eligible children to six years old.
Pam Halbach is the Kenosha Director/WIC Director at Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency (RKCAA) in Kenosha, WI, where she has worked for the past 25 years. Pam looks for innovative ways to improve the health and nutrition of WIC families and the broader community. Some of these efforts include Dedicated Dads, the WIC father-involvement initiative; an onsite farm stand, a teaching kitchen, the Kenosha Senior Veggie Voucher program, and KHIP-the Kenosha Health Improvement Project. She and her team are ready to launch WIC on the Go, which will provide front-door service to WIC families. Pam actively participates in several community coalitions and boards relating to wellness, health disparities, food security and poverty. In this post, Pam talks about her Dedicated Dads program.
Yesterday, the news magazine Politico ran an article on the public charge issue and the chilling effect on WIC clinics that is resulting from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) rumored proposal to expand the public charge test, which would penalize immigrant families for accessing WIC services and other federal benefit programs. Politico’s reporting accurately reflects the concerns that NWA has heard from local agencies and participants for the past year.
This week's legislative update reports that last week, the Senate passed the Defense and Labor-HHS-Education spending package. The Labor-HHS bill includes funding for Title V Maternal and Child Health programs, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other vital public health programs.
This week's Washington Update talks mostly about the Senate, which is the only chamber in session at the moment, and its plans to move the next appropriations package, which will include funding for the military and domestic programs.
In this week's policy update, there isn't much to report because both houses of Congress adjourned for the summer recess last week. But now, while members of Congress are back at home in their states or districts, is one of the best times to engage with your member of Congress!
NWA says that including a question in the 2020 census on citizenship is political and would alienate many immigrants, potentially resulting in an inaccurate count of people living in the US. This, in turn, could impact the distribution of WIC funds to state agencies.
This week’s legislative update encourages you to engage with your members of Congress during the summer recess. It also includes information about WIC funding and breastfeeding resolutions that will be waiting for legislators when they return in September and HHS's move to allow cheaper, lower-quality health insurance plans.
August brings a slew of ways to recognize the importance of breastfeeding. WIC plays a vital role in the promotion and support of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding peer counselors, IBCLCs, lactation consultants, and other lactation professionals help WIC elevate the capacity of breastfeeding to improve health outcomes of moms and babies.
This afternoon, the Senate voted 92-6 to pass a four bill spending package that included funding for WIC. The bill included an amendment from Senator Casey (D-PA) with a $7.5 million increase for the WIC breastfeeding peer counselor program.
NWA is launching an Immigration Resources page on its website as a central location for all materials related to public charge, increased ICE enforcement, and other issues related to the intersection of WIC and immigration. NWA will post new resources to this page as they are available, including when the public charge regulation is made available for public comment.
This week’s legislative update includes information about the Agriculture appropriations bill, an amendment to increase funding for the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, and resumed risk adjustment payments.
This week’s legislative update explains the beginning stages of the Agriculture appropriations bill, which includes funding for WIC. NWA has advocated for full funding of WIC at $6.3 billion, along with full-funding of set-asides.
This week’s policy update explains the ups and downs in a recent report from the White House regarding work requirements, as well as the latest news in appropriations.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response to the administration’s recent actions:
“The National WIC Association stands with our public health and breastfeeding support partners in strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s actions. The administration is once again placing the interests of large corporations over the interests babies, mothers, and the public’s health. Instead of bullying other nations at the behest of corporate infant formula lobbyists, the administration should focus on supporting breastfeeding mothers and their babies by promoting secure safe, hygienic, and private spaces for mothers to breastfeed."
National WIC Association Condemns U.S. Opposition to Breastfeeding Resolution
A resolution to promote breastfeeding was proposed by Ecuador at the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in May. The United States surprised fellow delegations by asking for the removal of the statement “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding” from the resolution and threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions and withdrawal of military aid if the proposal was not dropped, according to a New York Times piece published over the weekend. A Health and Human Services spokesperson said “the resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children,” in an email to the New York Times. The otherwise widely popular resolution was approved after Russia stepped in and admonished the United States for pushing around a small country on “an issue that is really important for the rest of the world.”
Senate Passes Bipartisan Farm Bill, Setting Up Fight with the House
Last Thursday, the Senate passed their version of the farm bill by a vote of 86-11. The farm bill, which is under consideration every five years, authorizes agriculture subsidies and nutrition programs, including SNAP. The process has historically been bipartisan, balancing rural concerns with the need for robust nutrition support. Although WIC is authorized under separate legislation, changes to SNAP could have a significant impact on the families that we serve.
This week's WIC policy update highlights the farm bill, immigration, the Senate minibus, and more!
NWA statement on partisan House farm bill that undermines SNAP: “After an outpouring of concern about the treatment of families on the border, it is outrageous that the House now moves forward with a bill that will take food out of the mouths of children.”
WASHINGTON – On June 21, 2018, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a proposal to reform and reorganize federal agencies. One of OMB’s proposals is to move the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) non-commodity nutrition assistance programs – including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – into a renamed Department of Health and Public Welfare.
The Trump administration has released a proposal that would move WIC to the Department of Health and Human Services, rename the department, and impose work requirements on WIC. Meanwhile, the House has passed a partisan farm bill, threatening the SNAP program.
NWA issues statement on family separation policy and new executive order: “This shameful episode is just one chapter in a broader assault on the dignity and humanity of immigrant families and their children . . . When our neighbors fear heading to WIC clinics, schools, or shopping in a grocery store, can we truly say that we are the land of the free?”
Congress Considers Immigration Proposals as Child Separation Policy Raises Questions
This weekend, the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents drew criticism from both sides of the aisle. In the past six weeks, nearly 2,000 children were taken from their parents and housed in temporary detention centers, including one in an abandoned Walmart. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have been reported to separate even younger children from their parents, and there is at least one report of ICE separating a mother from her child while she was breastfeeding.
Appropriations Process Moves Forward
The House and Senate appropriations committees are moving forward with consideration of appropriations bills. Last week, the House took up its first “minibus” package of three appropriations bills on the floor, which passed, despite objections of Democratic leadership, who have raised concerns about the uneven distribution of resources across bills. The bill was originally anticipated to include agriculture alongside energy and water, but instead includes the military construction and VA, energy and water, and legislative branch bills. It is unclear what the next package of bills will include, and when it might be taken up, though both leadership in chambers have expressed interest in advancing the appropriations process rapidly this summer, to hopefully avoid the need for continuing resolutions and shutdown battles during election season. You can read NWA’s analyses of the House and Senate agriculture appropriations bills, both of which have passed out of committee.
Senate Releases Bipartisan Farm Bill
This afternoon, the Senate Agriculture Committee released the text of its proposed Farm Bill. The Senate’s bill is the result of bipartisan negotiations led by Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and it is expected to garner support from both parties. The Senate’s bill avoids the controversial and partisan provisions of the House farm bill. You can learn more about the Senate’s proposals in the Agriculture Committee’s section-by-section summaries (with any SNAP-related provisions being covered in Title IV – Nutrition).
New Public Charge Resources Available
Since March 29, the draft public charge rule has been under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Leaked drafts indicate that, if approved, the rule would punish immigrants for accessing WIC and other public benefits on behalf of themselves or their family (including US citizen children). OMB is still accepting meetings from elected officials and advocacy groups, all of whom object to the significant ramifications that this rule would have on the health and economic security of local communities. NWA met with OMB last month to express our concerns, and we are hopeful that these meetings will delay publication of the proposed rule.
House Rejects Farm Bill
On Friday, the House of Representatives rejected the farm bill (H.R. 2) by a vote of 198-213. The bill – which provides agriculture subsidies and funds SNAP – failed to garner any Democratic support after Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) included harmful proposals to limit access to SNAP and impose stricter work requirements. Some moderate Republicans also balked at the bill’s significant changes to SNAP. The House Freedom Caucus played a consequential role in the outcome of the bill by withholding support for the farm bill until Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised a vote on a controversial hardline immigration measure. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story for the House Farm Bill, as a second vote may be taken later this week.
The House of Representatives today rejected the farm bill (H.R. 2) by a vote of 198-213. The bill – which provides agriculture subsidies and funds SNAP – failed to garner any Democratic support after Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) included harmful proposals to limit access to SNAP and impose stricter work requirements. Some moderate Republicans also balked at the bill’s significant changes to SNAP. The House Freedom Caucus played a significant role in the outcome of the bill by withholding support for the farm bill until Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised a vote on a controversial hardline immigration measure. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story for the House Farm Bill, as a second vote may be taken before Tuesday.
House Moves Forward WIC Appropriations for FY 2019
Last Wednesday, the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee approved its funding for FY 2019. The bill includes $6.00 billion in total budget authority for WIC, along with a $300 million rescission of unspent funds. This funding level represents a cut of $175 million from WIC’s 2018 budget authority, although it is $250 million higher than what was proposed by the President’s FY 2019 budget. NWA is pleased that deeper cuts were not made, but remains concerned about the continued trend of decreased WIC funds – a reflection of declining caseload resulting from low unemployment rates, fertility rates and birth rates, heightened fear of immigrants, and shaming by policy makers of individuals and families participating in safety net programs - putting pressure on clinics to do more with less.
As we reported in late March, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent its draft public charge rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Under this proposed rule, an immigrant’s use of WIC and/or other benefit programs would affect that immigrant’s ability to obtain a visa, green card, or legal permanent residency. OMB has yet to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), but it is expected that it will be published within the next few weeks. Once this happens, there will be a comment period (likely 60 days), after which DHS will review comments and issue a final rule. As a reminder, until the rule is finalized, the public charge test remains unaltered, and WIC clinics should reassure immigrant families that WIC policy has not changed.
Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture released its funding bill for Fiscal Year 2019. The subcommittee is scheduled to mark up and vote on the bill this afternoon at 4 pm. The bill includes $6.00 billion in total budget authority for WIC, along with a $300 million rescission. This funding level is higher than what was provided in the President’s budget, but represents a further cut to WIC’s funding over FY2018. NWA is pleased that deeper cuts were not made, but remains concerned about the continued trend of decreased WIC funds, which is putting pressure on clinics to do more with less.
FY 2019 Appropriations Process Continues
As members of Congress return to DC this week, House appropriators will continue to work on their 12 FY 2019 spending bills. The full House Appropriations Committee is set tomorrow to start with the least controversial appropriations bills, including those funding military construction, veterans’ programs and congressional operations. Senate appropriators appear to be a bit further behind in the process.
FY 2019 Appropriations Process Continues
FY 2019 appropriations negotiations are now in full swing. On the House side, Republican leaders are proposing to bring small batches of appropriations bills to the floor, starting with non-controversial bills, rather than relying on a last-minute 12-bill omnibus. Republican appropriators in the House hope to pass all 12 bills before September 30, and expect the bills to be largely partisan, as they do not need votes from Democrats to pass the bills.
New Executive Order Pushes Work Requirements, Reviews Immigrant Eligibility
Last Tuesday, President Trump issued an executive order targeting public benefit programs. The executive order requires relevant federal departments (including USDA) to review programmatic regulations and submit a report to the White House identifying opportunities to strengthen work requirements and tighten eligibility criteria, particularly for immigrants. The executive order lays out a justification that is rooted in many misconceptions about poverty, taking aim at single mothers and declaring that public benefit programs create dependency on the federal government. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a statement echoing the White House’s language on dependency.
WASHINGTON – On April 12, 2018, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, unveiled a farm bill that includes reforms of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The bill’s provisions narrow SNAP eligibility, bolster existing work requirements, redirect SNAP funds from food assistance to job training programs, and impose new restrictions on reissuance of electronic-benefit transfer (EBT) cards. Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) has indicated that the SNAP provisions will prevent Democratic support and publicly cast doubt on whether House Republicans can muster enough votes to pass a partisan farm bill.
This afternoon, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, introduced the first version of the House farm bill. The farm bill is generally passed every five years to reauthorize both farm subsidies and certain nutrition programs, including SNAP. WIC is not included in the farm bill, as it is separately authorized through Child Nutrition Reauthorization (last attempted in 2016). However, the farm bill has implications for WIC participants, as we know that many WIC families also depend on SNAP to help feed their families.
Rev. Greenaway: “An administration that once pledged to fight for the ‘forgotten man’ continues to punish the Americans most in need.”
Last night, President Trump issued an executive order targeting public benefit programs. The executive order requires relevant federal departments (including USDA) to review programmatic regulations and submit a report to the White House identifying opportunities to strengthen work requirements and tighten eligibility criteria, particularly for immigrants. The executive order lays out a justification that is rooted in many misconceptions about poverty, taking aim at single mothers and declaring that public benefit programs create dependency on the federal government. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued a statement echoing the White House’s language on dependency.
Congress Now Focused on FY 2019 Appropriations
Returning to our nation's capital this week after a two week Spring recess, members of Congress will be focused primarily on FY 2019 appropriations. As a reminder, Congress passed an FY 2018 omnibus spending bill just before they left for recess on March 23, meaning that government funding for the next six months is set and Congress is now free to focus on how the government will be funded in FY 2019. Congress had begun to consider FY 2019 appropriations prior to the Spring recess, but negotiations were stymied by the need to pass a long term spending package for FY 2018.
Congress on Recess Until Next Week
After the passage of an omnibus spending bill that funds the government through September 30, both chambers of Congress have recessed for two weeks. Congress plans to resume legislative business on the week of April 9.
FY 2018 Omnibus Signed into Law, Providing Funding for the Next Six Months
Last Friday, March 23, President Trump signed the FY 2018 omnibus bill recently passed by Congress into law. With the passage and signing of the omnibus bill, Congress narrowly avoided a third government shutdown of the year. The $1.3 trillion spending bill will fund the government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. After both chambers had passed the omnibus bill late last week, members of Congress departed for their two-week spring recess. They return to Washington, DC on Monday, April 9.
Earlier this afternoon, President Trump signed the FY 2018 omnibus bill passed by Congress into law. After passage in the House yesterday afternoon, the bill was passed in the Senate in the wee hours of Friday morning
After months of negotiations, five continuing resolutions, and two government shutdowns, the House of Representatives finally released the text of its FY 2018 omnibus spending bill last night. The $1.3 trillion spending bill would fund the government for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. The House passed the spending bill this afternoon by a vote of 256-167, with opposition from conservative Republicans and some Democrats. The Senate now has only one day to pass their version of the omnibus before tomorrow’s midnight deadline, when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires. If Congress is not able to agree on a longer-term omnibus bill or a short-term spending fix before tomorrow’s deadline, we will be facing our third government shutdown of the calendar year.
Congress Nears Spending Deadline
Congress must pass FY 2018 spending legislation before midnight on Friday in order to avoid a third government shutdown this year. Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have said they are close to an agreement on an omnibus spending package for the rest of FY 2018, but some outstanding disagreements over key policy issues remain.
National WIC Association Congratulates Baby-Friendly USA Milestone of 500 Baby-Friendly Designated Facilities in the United States
Nearly 1 in 4 Births in the US Now Occur in Baby-Friendly Facilities
Two Weeks Left for Congress to Reach Spending Deal
Congress must pass a spending deal by March 23 to continue government funding, and Congressional leaders are optimistic that they will reach an omnibus agreement to complete the appropriations process for the 2018 fiscal year. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on an omnibus bill this week. The Senate is likely to proceed after passage in the House, but it must begin consideration of the bill this week to avoid procedural delays that could bring about a last-minute shutdown, as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was able to do in February. If Congress fails to reach an agreement by March 23, the government will shut down for the third time this year.
Trump FY 2019 Budget Requests Funding for WIC to “Serve All Projected Participants”
The Trump Administration released its FY 2019 Budget, entitled Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget, on Monday, February 12. The $4.4 trillion budget would slash mandatory and discretionary spending on domestic programs while dramatically boosting spending on the military and immigration enforcement.
In the past two weeks, in the wake of the leaked Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), NWA has developed some materials for our members concerning WIC and public charge.
WASHINGTON – On February 8, 2018, media published a leaked draft of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that suggests the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will expand the definition of public charge to punish immigrants who are using nutrition assistance and public health programs that they are legally permitted to use. Programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have never before been considered in immigration decisions. The leaked draft is unprecedented and deeply concerning.
The Trump Administration released its FY 2019 Budget, entitled Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget, at 11:30am Eastern Time today. The $4.4 trillion budget would slash mandatory and discretionary spending on domestic programs while dramatically boosting spending on the military and immigration enforcement.
President Trump has signed into law a bill appropriating $90 billion in disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. This legislation includes NWA’s requested $14 million in infrastructure funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. These grants will assist our WIC state agencies with much-needed repairs to building and other WIC related infrastructure as well as technology systems that were damaged as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our thoughts remain with the communities damaged by natural disasters and NWA hopes that these funds will deliver quick relief to WIC clinics, staff, and participants in the affected regions.
NWA Secures $14 Million for WIC Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands
This morning, Congress passed legislation that appropriated $90 billion in disaster relief for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. This legislation includes NWA’s requested $14 million in infrastructure funding for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. These grants will assist our WIC state agencies with much-needed repairs to building infrastructure and technology systems that were damaged as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Our thoughts remain with the communities damaged by natural disasters and NWA hopes that these funds will deliver quick relief to WIC clinics, staff, and participants in the affected regions.
The National WIC Association is excited to announce that the $14 million in additional infrastructure funds we have requested as part of disaster supplemental appropriations for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands has been included in the two-year budget deal introduced yesterday by Senate leadership. Along with other disaster assistance, the bill also includes a fifth continuing resolution to fund the government at FY 2017 levels through March 23, an agreement to raise budget caps for defense and non-defense discretionary spending, ten-year funding for the CHIP program, a suspension of the federal debt ceiling until March 2019, funding for Community Health Centers and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), and other provisions. Importantly, the bill does not include an agreement on “DREAMers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. The bill is expected to pass both the House and Senate today, averting a government shutdown which would occur at midnight without congressional action.
This week's update entails information about the continued funding drama, the State of te Union Address, and the White House Budget.
This week's update is about the approaching spending deadline, the State of the Union Address, the USDA Farm Bill, and more.
After a three-day shutdown, the federal government reopened on Tuesday when Congress passed another continuing resolution (CR) that authorizes funding through February 8. The compromise between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was approved by the Senate by a vote of 81-18 Monday afternoon. The House of Representatives authorized the measure by a vote of 266-150 a few hours later, and the President signed the legislation late Monday evening.
This week's update entails the most current status of the government shutdown.
On Friday, the US Senate rejected a continuing resolution passed by the US House of Representatives that would have kept the government funded through February 16. The House bill had passed by a vote of 230-197, with only six Democrats voting in favor. In the Senate, the vote was 50-49 (with 60 votes needed for passage). Five Democrats joined most of the Republican caucus to support what would have been the fourth continuing resolution of this fiscal year. Four Republicans joined most of the Democratic caucus in rejecting the short-term fix and opting to continue negotiations on a wide range of issues, including the status of nearly two million immigrants. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is battling brain cancer, did not vote.
“Funding the government is the paramount responsibility of Congress, and Congress has abdicated this responsibility. We cannot accept using children as political pawns. The National WIC Association condemns this failure to reach a spending agreement and urges Congress and the Administration to act immediately to fund vital federal programs like WIC.”
Budget Caps: Two Year Deal Likely, but Divisions Remain
Congressional leaders are negotiating a two-year deal to lift spending caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 that would force automatic spending cuts unless Congress acts to raise them. Republicans want to allocate most of the extra funding from raising the caps to defense, while Democrats are demanding parity between any increases for defense with increases for domestic programs, including WIC. Democrats are unlikely to vote for another CR without a deal to increase the budget caps.
Last night, Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government through January 19, 2018. This temporarily averts a government shutdown and ensures that WIC will continue to be funded at FY 2017 levels, less a small cut to comply with sequestration requirements. The Senate voted for the measure 66-32, and the House approved the bill by a vote of 231-188. Numerous Democrats opposed the legislation because several important priorities were not addressed, whereas several Republicans voted against the bill because it left non-defense discretionary spending at current levels while neglecting to fully appropriate defense spending.
Both houses of Congress have approved a final tax bill, sending the legislation to the White House for the President’s signature. The U.S. Senate approved the bill this morning by a vote of 51-48. All Republicans supported the bill – with the exception of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who is in Arizona while battling brain cancer and was recently hospitalized – whereas all Democrats stood opposed. The U.S. House of Representatives initially approved the bill on Tuesday afternoon by a vote of 227-203. Twelve Republicans opposed the legislation, in addition to all Democrats. The House was forced to revote on the legislation Wednesday afternoon after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that several provisions violated Congressional budget rules.
This week's update covers information regarding the potential CR, the Tax Proposal, and the certain words the CDC has been prohibited to use.
This week's update includes information about the recent CR, tax plan, and more.
NWA applauds the inclusion of $14 million to supplement WIC infrastructure funding in disaster relief legislation for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and other members of the US Senate.
This week's update covers the tax plan, continuing resolution, and disaster funding for WIC.
This blog post will discuss millennial moms, their social media habits, and how WIC employees can use this information to connect with these potential participants.
This blog post will provide insight on the three main factors that contribute to the size and weight of a box of cereal.
This week's update covers the upcoming Continuing Resolution, Nestlé leaving the GMA, and the Tax Bill.
Thanksgiving Recess this Week
Both chambers of Congress are on recess this week and will return to Washington, DC next week.
Tax Reform Bill Passes House, Fate Uncertain in Senate
Last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed its tax reform bill by a vote of 227-205. 13 Republican representatives voted against the proposal, in addition to the entire Democratic caucus. Senate Republicans introduced their own competing tax reform bill two weeks ago. The Senate proposal contains several key differences from the recently passed House bill, including the elimination of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would result in 13 million people losing health coverage by 2027. Both proposals significantly decrease federal revenues and add to the federal budget deficit, which can impact the funding for programs that serve low-income families, including WIC.
This week's blog covers the potential Continuing Resolution, Tax Bills in Both Chambers, and the new Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Nominee.
This week's update covers how WIC will be impacted by the House Republican Tax Plan, CHIP reauthorization bill update, FY 2018 appropriations status, and more.
This week's post covers recent updates on CHIP funding, the disaster relief bill, health care proposal, and the budget resolution.
This week's update comprises of information regarding the 2018 Budget Resolution, 2018 Appropriations, Bipartisan Healthcare Legislation, Children's Health Insurance Program, Disaster Relief Funding, and USDA's Nomination for Chief Scientist.
Budget Resolution Vote Today
The Senate will take up a budget resolution bill on the floor today, beginning at 3 PM. The budget resolution will include reconciliation instructions making way for a tax reform process that will result in significant tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of decreased spending on programs serving low-income Americans, such as WIC.
This week's update covers recent healthcare actions, disaster relief action, the budget resolution and tax plan, and CHIP updates.
This week's update covers everything happening about healthcare, Tom Price, EPA Nominee, and Budget Resolution and Tax Reform.
This afternoon, the Senate Finance Committee—one of two committees responsible for healthcare in the Senate—is holding a hearing on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare proposal. Yesterday, Senators circulated a new version of the bill, designed to appeal to key legislators, such as Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). This updated bill retains they key components of Graham-Cassidy, threatening both government and employer-based health insurance coverage. It would cut Medicaid spending, eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and do away with requirements to cover benefits such as maternity care. The bill would also remove penalties for employers that fail to provide affordable health insurance to employees. Last week, the other committee overseeing healthcare—the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions or Senate HELP—announced that their bipartisan efforts to stabilize healthcare markets under the existing Affordable Care Act system had come to an end. Leaders of the HELP Committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), were informed that Republican leadership is unwilling to put their bipartisan proposal to a vote. This action increases the likelihood of Graham-Cassidy moving forward. However, Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) announcement that he will vote against the bill, and Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) statement yesterday that “it’s very difficult for [her] to envision a scenario where [she] would end up voting for this bill," both decrease the bill’s likelihood of passage. Congress has until this Saturday, September 30th, to pass the bill using the FY2017 budget reconciliation process, which allows them to do so with a simple majority (50 votes + the Vice President).
Take Action to Save the Affordable Care Act!
Last Thursday, the House passed a $1.2 trillion FY 2018 omnibus bill, H.R. 3354, by a vote of 211-198. The House spending package has prompted debates over topline spending numbers as well as the inclusion of policy riders (i.e. policies that are attached to spending bills that do not relate to spending). Much to Democrats’ chagrin, the House omnibus bill would block funds for Planned Parenthood, cut funding for non-defense agencies such as USDA and EPA and provide funding for portions of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
This week's update covers everything happening with FY 2018 Funding, Debt Ceiling, and Harvey Relief, DACA, ACA Developments, Regulatory Outlook, and USDA Chief Scientist Nomination.
What to Expect when Congress Returns Next Week
As members of Congress return to Washington DC next Tuesday, there are two upcoming budget deadlines that NWA will be monitoring.
Although both chambers of Congress are on summer recess for the next few weeks, now is a great time to raise your voice for WIC with your Senators and Representatives. This update includes ways to advocate for WIC.
As an organization that envisions a nation of healthy women and children, the National WIC Association (NWA) is strongly opposed to H.R. 3529, the WIC Improvement Act, which mandates the inclusion of vitamin supplements in WIC. This legislation, which was introduced by Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) last Friday, would override the sound scientific judgment of our nation’s leading nutrition science experts.
This week's update discusses the congressional schedule, the ACA repeal update, and more!
This week's update includes updates on FY 2018 Appropriations, House Budget Resolution, and Affordable Care Act replacement.
A significant advocacy success for NWA is the Senate Committee’s decision to fund WIC breastfeeding peer counseling at $80 million compared to $60 million in the House Bill. The breastfeeding peer counseling program has been funded at a level of $60 million for the last several years, so the $20 million increase is a notable improvement and victory for NWA. The full authorized amount for breastfeeding peer counselors is $90 million.
House Republicans released their FY 2018 budget resolution earlier today. This plan, introduced by House Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-TN), would pave the way for ambitious tax reform legislation alongside a package of drastic spending cuts.
This feature is part of a series highlighting NWA’s Business Council Partners - private and public companies that have chosen to join forces with NWA to ensure the success of the WIC Program. Each of our Business Council Partners values the WIC Program and is an essential part of our community. To find out more about these vital partners, please visit our website.
FY 2018 Budget and Appropriations Update
The House Budget Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN), is expected to proceed with a markup this week of its FY 2018 budget resolution. Members of the House Republican Caucus continue to clash over the resolution, as conservative members call for deeper cuts over the next 10 years, and moderate members object to deep cuts in mandatory spending. House leaders will also be working this week to determine if there is support to bring an omnibus spending package to the floor before the August recess.
Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill today after their one-week July 4th recess.
A draft of the FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill was released today by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Chair.
The bill calls for a funding level of $6.15 billion for WIC including $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors and $13.6 million for infrastructure. The appropriations bill requests a rescission of $600 million of unspent funds from WIC (the President’s budget included a $1 billion rescission). This would leave WIC with a net funding level of $5.55 billion in FY 2018.
ACA Replacement Update
Senate Republicans released a discussion draft of their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last Thursday morning. Although the draft, entitled “the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA),” differs somewhat from the House-passed healthcare bill, it takes many of its key provisions from the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA), which the House passed in May.
Senate Republicans released a discussion draft of their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this morning. Although the draft differs from the House-passed healthcare bill in a number of ways, it does take many of its key provisions from the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was passed in May.
This week's WIC policy udpdate includes information about the FY 2018 Appropriations and the status of the Affordable Care Act Repeal
Tomorrow, June 13, 2017, the process to initiate the first of the fiscal 2018 spending bills will begin with the Chairs of three Senate Appropriations subcommittees convening hearings for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (Chair, Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Chair, John Hoeven (R-ND); and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (Chair, Richard Shelby (R-AL).
This monthly feature is part of a series highlighting NWA’s Business Council Partners; private and public companies who have chosen to join forces with NWA to ensure the success of the WIC Program. Each of our Business Council Partners values the WIC Program and is an essential part of our community. To find out more about these vital partners, please visit our website.
This week's blog has everything you need to know about the most recent news about the FY 2018 Budget Appropriations and the Affordable Care Act Repeal.
The Trump Administration released its FY 2018 Budget, "A New Foundation for American Greatness", at 11am Eastern Time today.
This week's update includes information about the Affordable Care Act Repeal, FY 2018 Appropriations, the potential implications of the leaked budget documents, and more!
FY 2018 Budget
The Trump administration plans to release its FY 2018 Budget next Tuesday, May 23. The budget is expected to show balance within 10 years, in part through sweeping cuts to mandatory spending, including to Medicaid and other public health programs. Public health agencies are bracing for the largest cuts to federal funding in more than a decade and fear that many programs aimed at curbing disease outbreaks and reducing health costs will be completely zeroed out. The cuts expected in Trump’s budget, when combined with the spending reductions in the House Republicans’ healthcare bill, would likely mean a loss of $1-2 billion per year for state programs that ensure access to vaccines for poor children and flag disease outbreaks. This funding loss could potentially force states to trim programs or divert local funds. We will keep you updated on the FY 2018 Budget and Appropriations process in the coming weeks.
Many of you received NWA’s Association Update on Tuesday afternoon with a link to the Guardian article, Undocumented immigrants avoid vital nutrition services for fear of deportation. In the Update, NWA described the article, provided a link to our survey asking about the effects of the current political climate on caseload, and included links to our previous blog posts on the issue of WIC and immigration.
NWA has received numerous responses to the survey, the vast majority of them appreciative of our leadership on this issue and grateful for the opportunity to share stories about how recent political actions and rhetoric have affected WIC staff and participants. We have also received a handful of critical responses.
FY 2017 Funding Update:
Last Friday, the President signed into law a $1 trillion omnibus spending bill that will keep the government running through September. The bill had passed the Senate earlier by a vote of 79-18 and the House by a vote of 309-118. You can read more about the spending bill by visiting our Weekly WIC Policy Update from Monday.
Read about the House's passage of the ACA replacement and the Senate's passage of the FY 2017 Omnibus.
FY 2017 Funding Update
Late last night, US House and Senate negotiators reached a bipartisan deal on a $1.1 trillion spending bill for the remaining five months of FY 2017. The 1,665-page legislation comprises the 11 unfinished FY 2017 appropriations bills, including the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which sets funding for WIC. While Republicans control the House, Senate, and the White House, congressional Democrats held some leverage in the spending negotiations as their votes will be needed in the Senate, and likely the House, for passage of the bill. The Senate needs 60 votes to advance legislation, meaning the 52 Republicans will need help from at least eight Democrats.
The Senate voted yesterday evening to confirm former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture. The vote was 87 to 11 with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) voting against the nomination. Perdue is the first agriculture secretary nominee in 31 years to receive even a single no vote from the floor. He is expected to be sworn in later today.
Federal Government Funding for Remainder of FY 2017 in the Crosshairs
Members of Congress must agree by this Friday, April 28 on how to fund the federal government for the remaining 5 months of FY 2017 to avoid a government shutdown. A funding bill will come in the form of another Continuing Resolution (CR), an omnibus appropriations bill, or some combination of the two (a so-called “Cromnibus”).
Budget negotiations have been made all the more contentious by President Trump’s threat to withhold payments used to subsidize insurance costs for poor Americans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if Democrats do not agree to fund the border wall between the US and Mexico. The White House has offered a dollar-for-dollar trade with Democrats of border wall money in return for the ACA Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies. Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) agree that CSR payments are must-haves in the omnibus spending bill. However, Democrats are unlikely to budge when it comes to providing federal funds for building the border wall.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: WIC staff run tests unnecessarily such as drawing infant blood. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
Are you looking for a document to share with participants who have expressed concerns about participating in WIC because of their immigration status? If so, please feel free to adopt and use the following flyers developed by Michigan WIC. These flyers use simple language to let participants know that WIC welcomes everyone, that WIC does not ask for or keep information about visa status or citizenship, and that all participant responses are kept confidential. The flyers are available in English, Spanish, and Arabic. They can be printed on 8 ½ x 11 paper or on larger poster paper, and can be handed out or hung up in your WIC clinics.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: The nutrition education provided by WIC staff is condescending. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
FY 2017 Budget:
Policymakers have yet to arrive at an agreement on how to fund the government for the remaining 5 months of FY 2017. The deadline of the current Continuing Resolution (CR) is April 28, meaning that Congress will have only five days after returning from recess to reach an agreement in order to avoid a government shutdown. This will be a daunting task, as there are still 115 outstanding issues on which House and Senate appropriators have not reached agreement.
Healthcare Replacement Bill
Last Friday afternoon, House Republican leaders pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration on the House floor. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) provided remarks just after 4 p.m. Eastern Time Friday, in which he conceded, “We’re going to be living with Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act (ACA)], for the foreseeable future.” There is no indication at this early date whether or not the Republican effort to “repeal” and “replace” will be resurrected.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on a revised version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Among the provisions negatively impacting public health in your community and state, AHCA eliminates the critical Prevention and Public Health Fund starting in Fiscal Year 2019, cutting more than $16 billion in federal funding for public health over the following ten years.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: The WIC shopping experience is a nightmare. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
President’s Budget Blueprint:
Last Thursday, President Trump released his FY 2018 Budget Blueprint. The budget blueprint, also known as the “skinny budget,” includes top-level funding requests and some basic economic projections, though far less information and detail than the previous five administrations. The Trump administration’s full budget is expected to be released in mid-May.
President Trump’s skinny budget cuts $54 billion of non-defense discretionary spending—representing the largest domestic spending cut to the US budget in more than four decades—while increasing funding for the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.
On Monday night, Republican leaders from two House committees—the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), and the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)—released long-awaited draft bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Both committees are marking up their respective bills today.
For information about the bills, please see:
This morning, President Trump released his FY 2018 Budget Blueprint. The budget blueprint, also known as the “skinny budget”, includes top-level funding requests and some basic economic projections, though far less information and detail than the previous five administrations. The Trump administration’s full budget is expected to be released in mid-May.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: WIC participants purchase over half of the formula sold in the U.S. which means formula companies make a lot of money off of the program. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
Senate Democrats today warned their Republican colleagues that they would not support appropriations bills unless they included essential spending priorities, raising the risks of a potential federal government shutdown after April 28, 2017.
The warning is no idle threat as passage of Senate spending bills will require a 60-vote threshold.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: The WIC program shouldn’t promote breastfeeding because low-income working women probably have life circumstances the least conducive to breastfeeding. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
Sample Talking Points:
Appropriations Limbo Continues
The current Continuing Resolution (CR) is set to expire in less than 8 weeks, piling on pressure for Congressional leaders to hop to it with passage of appropriations (funding) bills for the remainder of the current 2017 fiscal year or stare down the risks of a federal government shutdown.
This morning at the Washington Leadership Conference, Douglas Besharov discussed WIC eligibility. We invite you to read his recent R Street article.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: The WIC program overstates the benefits of breastfeeding. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: The WIC food package is too restrictive and should be more like SNAP. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
Budget Update: As previously expected for most first year, new administrations President Donald Trump’s administration will likely forgo submitting to Congress a budget outline this month. The administration will more likely wait until April or even May to release its full FY 2018 budget. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 requires that the President submit their budget request for the upcoming fiscal year no later than the first Monday of February. Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who served as Appropriations chairman for the last three Congresses, urged the administration not to skip the budget outline because doing so would push back the appropriations process. Rogers said such a delay would run the risk of having Congress adopt a continuing resolution (CR) next fall.
The National WIC Association (NWA) has received comments and stories from across the country expressing anxiety about recent immigration pronouncements from the White House.
First, despite the uncertainty, it is important to keep in mind that WIC policy has not changed. Our doors remain open to all vulnerable mothers and young children who meet WIC income guidelines and who are at nutrition risk.
Affordable Care Act Update: This week, House Republicans are expected to mark up three Affordable Care Act (ACA) bills discussed in hearings last week. The more conservative members of the House Republican Caucus, concerned about recent discussions of "repairing" the law instead of full repeal, are pushing to have as much of the ACA repealed as possible. At the same time, members of the House and Senate are receiving correspondence and telephone calls from constituents expressing concerns about repeal without replacement.
Many of you have likely seen or are aware of media reports that the White House may issue an Executive Order relating to public charge rules for immigrants, both legal and undocumented, who use federal public benefits.
You may encounter the following criticism of WIC: WIC food package restrictions do not lead to better health, and the program’s nutritional and health benefits are hard to prove. Here are some suggestions for how to respond if and when you encounter this claim:
Supreme Court Nominee:
President Trump is expected to announce his nominee to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court vacancy on Tuesday evening and will likely choose someone who would become a core member of the conservative wing of the Supreme Court. Senate Democrats have promised to filibuster any pick that is not Merrick Garland, whom former President Obama had nominated to fill the vacancy last year. Unlike all other executive and judicial nominees, Supreme Court nominees can still be blocked by the Senate minority.
Following Wednesday’s immigration-focused Executive Orders signed by President Donald Trump, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement underscoring the Academy’s continued support for immigrant children and their families.
New President: Last Friday, Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. In his 16-minute Inaugural Address, the billionaire hotelier and former reality TV star promised that “America will start winning again, and winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.” It remains to be seen how the new President will fulfill these promises.
Loudoun County Health Department, located in Leesburg, Virginia, is one of the local agencies participating in the Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children (CPHMC) project, through NWA’s cooperative agreement with the CDC.
For Immediate Release
January 5, 2017
Contact: Hannah Shultz
WASHINGTON – The National WIC Association (NWA) is thrilled that key recommendations from the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) released today in their Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice: Final Report reflect recommendations made by NWA, available here. We are delighted that the NASEM recommendations provide WIC families with options and flexibility to meet their dietary and nutrient needs, opportunities for increased consumption and choice in whole grains and fruits and vegetables, decreased certain foods that were found to be offered in too large a quantity or were burdensome to WIC families, and encourage continued and improved support for breastfeeding moms.
Congressional Schedule: The 114th congressional session officially ended last Friday, December 16. Lawmakers will be on recess until Tuesday, January 3, 2017, when the 115th Congress is scheduled to convene its first session.
Priorities for the 115th Congress: House Republican leaders are hoping to use the Republican control of the House, Senate, and Presidency to fulfill long-standing conservative goals in 2017. These goals include reducing domestic discretionary spending (disproportionately affecting human needs and social justice programs), dismantling the Affordable Care Act, passing sweeping tax cuts, and repealing a host of Obama administration regulations.
Congressional Schedule: Many lawmakers have already left Capitol Hill for the holiday recess. The 114th congressional session officially ends this Friday, December 16th. The 115th Congress is scheduled to convene its first session on 3 January 2017.
FY 2017 Funding: The Senate passed a FY 2017 continuing resolution (CR) last Friday evening by a vote of 63 to 36, narrowly averting a government shutdown. The Senate also passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation bill (WIIN, formerly known as WRDA) on Friday by a vote of 78 to 21. WIIN authorizes $170 million in aid for Flint, Michigan to address its water pollution crisis.
The House released their continuing resolution (CR) yesterday evening to fund the government past this Friday. It runs through April 28th at the same funding levels of FY 2016 – $1.07 trillion – which keeps the budget below the federal government’s strict spending caps. This means WIC will continue to operate at an annual funding level of $6.32 billion until the end of the CR.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) said yesterday afternoon that efforts to complete the bill to reauthorize child nutrition programs have come to an end.
Appropriations: Legislators have just five days left to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government beyond December 9th, 2016. The CR that is currently being considered will now likely last through mid-April 2017 and will give the Republican Majority in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump the final say in how the government is funded for the remaining six months of FY 2017.
It is anticipated that the House will vote on the CR on Thursday, with the Senate to follow shortly after. House Republicans are hoping to wrap up the 114th Congressional session on Thursday after passing the CR and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill, which includes $170 million to help Flint, Michigan rid its water supply of lead pollution.
There is so much happening in WIC! What have you been up to? Have you been involved in a great WIC project that you’d like to share with the WIC community? Please consider submitting an abstract for an oral or poster presentation at the NWA 2017 Annual Education and Training Conference and Exhibits in Philadelphia, PA, April 2 – 5 2017. The Annual Conference is an important forum for sharing new ideas and learning from each other.
Appropriations: Congress is back in session this week after last week’s Thanksgiving recess. Legislators now have less than two weeks to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government beyond December 9th. The CR that is currently being considered will likely last through March 31, 2017 and will give the Republican Majority in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump the final say in how the government is funded for the remaining six months of FY 2017. The text of the CR is unlikely to be filed until next week.
Lifting Up Your WIC Voice During this Uncertain Time
Three weeks after the November 8th election, many of us are still feeling shocked, anxious, uncertain, and even fearful about the future of our country. The new political landscape that we will face in 2017 is likely to have significant implications for WIC, but we do not know at this point exactly what those implications will be.
Federal Election Outcome: Last Wednesday, Donald J. Trump was declared 45th President-Elect of the United States. He will take office on January 20, 2017. In addition, Republicans have maintained control of both the House and Senate by a margin of 46 seats in the House and 3 seats in the Senate.
Election Day – tomorrow, November 8, 2016: This is a reminder to please go out and vote tomorrow if you have not already done so! There are important races throughout the US, not to mention the federal elections for President, US Senate, and US House of Representatives. Please be sure that your voice is heard by helping to elect policymakers that will support and strengthen WIC. You can read about key Senate races and House races on www.270towin.com.
Election Day – November 8, 2016: This is a reminder to please mark your calendars for Election Day, just one week from tomorrow! There are important races throughout the US, not to mention the Federal elections for President, US Senate, and US House of Representatives. Please be sure that your voice is heard by helping to elect policymakers that will support and strengthen WIC. You can read about key Senate races and House races on www.270towin.com. If you are unable to vote on Election day or would just prefer to vote early, you can learn about how to do so using this handy google tool.
Congressional Schedule: Members of Congress are currently on recess until after the November 8th election.
Appropriations Update: Congress’s biggest task when they return the week of November 14th will be to negotiate 11 appropriations measures to fund government agencies and programs, including WIC, for the remainder of FY 2017. There is a commitment from both chambers to complete all remaining appropriations bills by December 9th. When members return the week of November 14th, the Senate will have just 15 working days and the House 12 working days to complete appropriations. The goal is for the full Appropriations Committee to be finished with their work by December 2nd in order to provide enough time for passage on the floor of both the House and Senate.
Congressional Schedule: Members of Congress are currently on recess until after the November 8th election.
Congressional Schedule: Members of Congress are currently on recess until after the November 8th election
The House approved a 10-week continuing resolution (CR) late last night which will fund the government at 2016 funding levels until early December.
NWA's policy on relationships with infant formula and dietary supplement manufacturers.
For Immediate Release
September 10, 2016
Contact: Hannah Shultz
Denver, CO: This morning, National WIC Association (NWA) Board of Directors Chair, Donna Bister, announced during NWA’s 2016 Nutrition Education & Breastfeeding Promotion Conference the Association is ending its relationships with infant formula manufacturers, putting into effect a resolution passed in May 2015 and reaffirmed in May 2016 by voting members of the Association.
Effective immediately, NWA will no longer invite infant formula manufacturers to be members, exhibitors at conferences, advertisers or sponsors of events and activities.
The NWA 2016 Nutrition Education and Breastfeeding Conference Planning Committee Co-chairs are calling for presentation and poster abstracts until COB Tuesday, June 28th. We plan to begin contacting selected presenters during the week of July 18th. If your presentation was not selected, we hope you will consider creating a poster around your topic.
The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN), introduced an extraordinarily bad child nutrition reauthorization bill, the ironically titled Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003), yesterday afternoon.
Please join us in tweeting about the Child Nutrition Act. The House of Representative dropped a bill that is bad news for WIC and other child nutrition programs.
It takes less than 30 tweets to get the attention of most congressmen. Let them know what you think of this bill!
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.
Recess: Both chambers of Congress are out this week and will be back in session early next week.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization: The House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, chaired by Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN), introduced an unfortunate child nutrition reauthorization bill, the ironically titled Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003), last Wednesday.
The early registration ends tomorrow Friday, April 22nd. After the 22nd, the price increases. Save more by taking advantage of this rate and register today!
The room block at the conference hotel Is filling up quickly. Please book your hotel today.
View the agenda to see what you can expect to learn!
Crescent City WIC Services Inc. (CC WIC) in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana is one of the local agencies participating in the Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children project, through our cooperative agreement with the CDC.
Many of the residents of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana don’t live close to grocery stores. When shopping for groceries locally, there are very few healthy, affordable options to choose. This 2,567 square mile area has only 2 grocery stores and 4 year-round farmers’ markets. Figures show that over 41% of the adults living in this parish have high blood cholesterol, 31% are diagnosed with high blood pressure, and 33% of adults ages 20 and over are considered to be obese. A lack of access to fresh, healthy foods are contributing to poor diets and higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases. To overcome the access obstacles, this project will need to transform local policies, systems, beliefs and practices within cultural norms so that healthier choices become real, feasible options for people living in Plaquemines Parish.
CCI is one of the local agencies participating in the Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children project, through our cooperative agreement with the CDC.
CCI Health and Wellness Services and the Healthy Jumpstart Coalition (HJC) are dedicated to improving community health by providing residents of Montgomery County, Maryland comprehensive access to preventative health services and chronic disease management. According to the CDC, most Americans underuse preventive services and individuals experiencing social, economic, or environmental disadvantages are even less likely to use these services. By integrating a resource navigator at the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) centers, families will be guided through a seamless process in which they receive one on one referral assistance. This innovative program will provide more than 30,000 residents the opportunity to access more than 20 services throughout the county.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization: Last Tuesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee, chaired by Congressman John Kline (R-MN), sent a confidential discussion draft of their Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill to partners. It has since been leaked to the media allowing us to share it with our members. This draft has not yet passed the Committee, and changes to the draft may be made before the bill is considered. No markup on Child Nutrition Reauthorization has yet been scheduled in the House, but it may take place soon.
The committee's discussion draft differs significantly from the bipartisan Senate Child Nutrition Bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee in January. With regard to WIC, the House discussion draft does not include a provision to give states the option to enroll children in WIC until their sixth birthday or until they enter full day kindergarten, as the Senate bill does. The discussion draft also departs from the Senate bill by excluding the Senate Agriculture Committee’s provision to give states the option to certify infants for up two years.
The Senate returns to Washington today after a two week recess, while the House remains in recess until next week. Senate Appropriations subcommittees have several hearings scheduled for this week to take testimony from agency directors on their FY 2017 requests. However, the Agriculture subcommittee, which sets funding for WIC, has not scheduled any further hearings as of yet.
Anna Bondy, MPH, RD, LDN and Susan Gross, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN write this piece about what's going on in Baltimore.
The theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” This brings up an important point that we need to remember to enjoy our food and help people with limited food access and budgets to do the same. The most enjoyable foods are foods fresh from the farm, seasoned well, and cooked with skill. So, if we want our communities to eat right, (and enjoy it) we need to help them access fresh foods and herbs, and teach them how to prepare these foods.
Both chambers of Congress are on recess this week. Members of the Senate will return April 4th, while the House of Representatives will not return until April 12th.
The House FY 2017 Budget Resolution, which was approved by the House Budget Committee, chaired by Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) on March 18, has faced opposition among some Republicans during the past couple of weeks. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said that the budget resolution will not come to the House floor for a vote until it has the 218 Republican votes it needs in the face of united Democratic opposition. Under the 1974 Budget Act, both houses of Congress are supposed to agree on a budget by April 15, but this deadline is now looking harder to meet.
Check out this information that was put together by the East Side Health District in East St. Louis. The East Side Health District is one of the local agencies participating in the Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children project, through our cooperative agreement with the CDC.
March, known as “National Nutrition Month,” is a month-long celebration emphasizing the importance of making healthy choices about eating and physical activity.
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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Community Health (CDC/DCH) has funded 47 new community organizations, including 15 local WIC agencies, to improve healthy eating, increase opportunities for physical activity, promote tobacco-free/smoke free environments, and/or improve access to chronic disease prevention, risk reduction, and disease management at the community level. These awards, which are part of CDC's Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) National Organizations program, have been provided to chapters or affiliates of the American Heart Association, American Planning Association, and National WIC Association to use sound, evidence-based strategies that reduce the risks of costly chronic disease and promote healthier lifestyles. The 47 new chapters/affiliates can be viewed here. With this second round of funding, there are now 97 unique communities that have been supported since April 2015.
FY 2017 Budget and Appropriations: Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, chaired a hearing last Wednesday to review the FY 2017 budget request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Witnesses at this hearing included The Honorable Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, as well as Robert Johansson, Chief Economist at USDA, and Michael Young, USDA Budget Officer. Secretary Vilsack stressed the importance of WIC in his testimony, and assured the Subcommittee that the administration’s desired funding for 2017 will be adequate to meet WIC caseload needs.
As you are aware, the WIC food package is currently being reviewed by an Institute of Medicine expert committee. In January 2015, NWA submitted more than a dozen recommendations to the Committee. Earlier this month, NWA submitted an additional recommendation to support infants aged 9-11 months. Specifically, NWA requests that States be allowed the option to offer the older infants the same forms of fruits and vegetables currently offered to their children and women participants. Read the comments here.
NWA Legislative Agenda: We at the National WIC Association are proud to share our 2017 Legislative Agenda. Here are some highlights from the agenda:
Total Funding Request of $6.37 billion + contingency fund
Set Aside for Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program of $90 million
Set Aside for Management Information Systems (MIS) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) of $75 million
Set Aside for WIC Infrastructure of $14 million
Set Aside for Program Initiatives and Evaluation of $26 million
$2/month increase in fruit and vegetable vouchers for fully breastfeeding women adding up to a total of $6.02 million
Maintaining the Contingency Fund at $150 million
NWA’s WIC funding request differs from the President’s 2017 Budget in two ways: 1. An additional $10 million for Breastfeeding Peer Counselors and 2. An additional $6.02 million for increasing fruit and vegetable CVVs for fully breastfeeding women. The president’s budget asked for a total of $6.35 billion for the WIC program, versus NWA’s $6.37 billion.
We will be launching a letter campaign supporting our legislative asks very soon, which you can sign onto using our website’s Advocacy Central page. Please be on the lookout for this letter as well as instructions for how to sign-on.
Dr. Kathryn Wilson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services today announced that USDA “will temporarily allow Michigan to use WIC funds to conduct lead testing for WIC participants,” affecting potentially 3,800 participants.
Today, the President released a proposed budget for FY 2017. The budget includes $6.35 billion for WIC which is sufficient to meet current caseload of 8.1 million participants. The budget also includes $80 million for breastfeeding peer counseling, a $20 million increase from recent years, and $10 million more for research.
In the face of the water contamination crisis currently afflicting the city of Flint, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a $28 million appropriations bill last Friday to provide Flint with the resources needed to address the public health crisis. The House and Senate unanimously approved the measure earlier last week. The $28 million appropriation, an additional allocation out of the 2016 fiscal year, includes: $2.7 million for the Michigan Department of Education to provide additional school nurses, “Early On” monitoring for kids 0-3, and nutritious snacks for elementary school children; $5.8 million for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for testing and other costs; and $15.5 million to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources for field operations, nutrition support (including WIC services) and the purchase of bottled water and filters.
We are in the midst of planning a 3 year campaign to help with recruitment and retention in the WIC program. We've been working closely with partners at Meredith and are confident this campaign will help address declining caseload experienced across the country, and increase positive perceptions of WIC. Take a look at this presentation to get more information.
The campaign has three guiding goals:
Within WIC, there are three main policy areas: the appropriations process, Child Nutrition Reauthorization, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Review of the WIC Food Packages. Each process involves examining the latest research and data on WIC; however, the process for reviewing the WIC food package is, perhaps, the most scientific as it involves looking at the science behind the nutritional needs of the WIC population and the evidence on the impacts of the current package. The WIC food package is reviewed every 10 years by an IOM expert committee. Central to the review is that recommendations are “grounded in the most recently available science” and meet the nutritional needs of the WIC population.
The National WIC Association applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Stabenow (D-MI) for their leadership and teamwork with Members of both parties on the Committee to create a strong, bi-partisan Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization bill. Scheduled for mark-up tomorrow morning, the bill, if passed, would set policies to strengthen the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other child nutrition programs for 5 years.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics 2014 (PC 2014) report. This biennial report provides nationwide demographic information on WIC program participants as well as information on participant income and nutrition risk characteristics. Both a summary and full report can be accessed here. Below are some frequently asked questions about the PC 2014.
Today, the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The Guidelines are based on the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Guidelines translate much of the Committee’s Scientific Report into “succinct, food-based guidance that can be relied upon to help Americans choose foods that provide a healthy and enjoyable diet.
Budget Reconciliation: House leaders are preparing this week to send budget reconciliation legislation to the President that would eliminate key provisions of the Affordable Care Act and withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood. Republican leaders have elected to use the reconciliation process as a way to force President Obama to veto the bill, since reconciliation means the bill will make it to the president’s desk without being subject to a Democratic filibuster. The reconciliation bill, H.R. 3762, passed in the House last October and was later amended in the Senate. The House will now vote on the revised Senate version, which eliminates the penalties in the Affordable Care Act for individuals who don’t purchase medical insurance and for companies with more than 50 workers that fail to provide health-care coverage. The Senate version also includes language to repeal additional taxes and financing mechanisms from the 2010 healthcare law
Local WIC Agencies Encourage Restaurants to Highlight Healthy Menu Items
The Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children (CPHMC) project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), places local WIC agencies at the forefront of public health work by bolstering WIC’s direct service model with policy, systems, and environmental change approaches. Coordinated by local WIC agencies with support from a multi-sector coalition, CPHMC supports innovative community health initiatives at the local level to improve access to healthy food environments and strengthen community-clinical linkages. Four local projects in Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, and Michigan are working to energize their communities through restaurant menu labeling initiatives. These projects—Por Vida, Eat Fit Northshore, Healthy Options, and Healthy Families of Oceana County (HFOC) Food Labeling Initiative—are working with local restaurant owners to highlight healthy and flavorful options on the menu.
Over the last several months, NWA has been collecting stories from WIC participants and staff around the country. We received thousands of stories in the mail from the East Coast, West Coast and in between. We also received stories online and by email. The message is clear: people appreciate WIC enormously. As one participant from Florida told us, “WIC means hope."
2016 Budget Update: Last Friday, Congress passed H.R. 2250, a 5-day Continuing Resolution (CR), to provide lawmakers with a bit of extra time to negotiate the details of the 2016 omnibus spending package. Members of Congress now have until midnight Wednesday to pass the omnibus bill.
We are each reminded this and every Thanksgiving Holiday of the great mystery that unites us one to another and from generation to generation, in gratitude for the return of seed time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits.
Much has changed since early humankind gave thanks for the bounty of the harvest. The foods that many of us will be fortunate to share this weekend will in many cases have traveled halfway across the nation, even halfway around the world to our tables.
Budget Update: Congress is currently on a 10-day Thanksgiving recess. Upon their return to Capitol Hill next Monday, November 30, members of the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate will continue to negotiate what will likely be an omnibus spending package, a single legislative document that will set the budget of nearly all government departments for FY2016. The deadline for the federal spending package is December 11, at which time we will face another government shutdown if an agreement has not been reached. Disputes over funding distribution among the 12 separate spending bills as well as the inclusion of policy riders (i.e. policies that are attached to spending bills that do not relate to spending) continue to delay a final agreement. The funding level for the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which sets spending levels for WIC, has yet to be finalized
Paris is an iconic city for the world – a witness to freedom and democracy – the city of light. It is a culturally diverse city as are many American cities and is a beacon of tolerance in an increasingly intolerant world. The United States, and particularly New York, knows the experience of terror that Paris has once again witnessed. It is a blessing to see the people of the United States stand in solidarity with the people of France.
Last Friday, the Senate passed H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. H.R. 1314 suspends the U.S. debt limit through March 2017 and increases federal spending for domestic and defense programs by more than $80 billion over the next two years. This measure effectively prevents the U.S. from defaulting on our federal loans and significantly lowers the risk of a government shutdown in December. The Act also gives Treasury the authority to shift accounts, essentially deferring a potential default until near fiscal year 2018.
A two-year bipartisan budget agreement was reached late Monday night by leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the White House. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she hopes to bring this to a vote in the House this week. If passed, this agreement would avert a government shutdown, at least for the next two years.
Affordable Care Act and Budget Reconciliation
The House voted along party lines last Friday to approve a budget reconciliation bill, H.R. 3762, that would repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year. The final vote was 240-189, with one Democrat voting in favor (Congressman Collin Peterson, D-MN) and seven Republicans voting against (Congressmen Ken Buck, R-CO; Bob Dold, R-IL; Richard Hanna, R-NY; Walter Jones, R-NC; Mark Meadows, R-NC; Matt Salmon, R-AZ; and Mark Walker, R-NC). It is suspected that Congressman Peterson voted in favor due to his strong opposition to abortion, while the Republicans voting against likely felt that the bill does not go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Courtney Jung’s article ‘Overselling Breast-Feeding’ on October 16th mischaracterizes the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children known as WIC, our country's most important science-based public health nutrition program for mothers and young children.
WIC serves more than 8 million members, including more than half of all babies born in the United States. As a short-term, evidence-based intervention program, WIC is designed to influence lifetime nutrition and health behaviors in a targeted, high-risk population. WIC is well documented to improve health outcomes for many of America’s most vulnerable families.
Budget Update: The Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), plans a hearing Wednesday on the need to revamp the federal budget process. Senate Republicans are currently in discussions with the White House on plans for a budget deal that would raise discretionary spending. This deal could include changes to the budget process.
“You have to care about your job and you have to care about what you do. You can’t fake that.” -- Martha Meza
Recruiting and retaining participants for any study can be challenging. Martha Meza, Executive Assistant to Special Projects at PHFE WIC, spoke with us about her experience in data collection for a study taking place in California. The study, titled Online Nutrition Education: WIC in the 21st Century evaluates the impact of online nutrition education vs. in person nutrition education. The research is a collaboration between UC Berkeley and Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE) WIC. Martha collected data from WIC participants in the form of telephone interviews in both English and Spanish. The return rate for participant engagement was around 98%. We had the pleasure of speaking with Martha about her approach to this type of data collection and her techniques to getting such impressive return rates.
A recent article published in USDA’s Amber Waves, considers the factors that have influenced national WIC caseload decline. Specifically, the article considers the macro level issues, attributing caseload decrease to the declining birthrate and upturn in the economy. The decline is significant: Recent preliminary numbers from FNS show that earlier this year, national caseload dropped below 8 million for the first time in over a decade. A key theme within the issue of caseload is ‘retention’ – why are eligible people either not entering the program or choosing to exit the program?
Legislative Update: No Government Shutdown…For Now
Last Wednesday, in the final hours before the end of the fiscal year, Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown today and keep the government running until December 11th. In recent weeks, it was unclear whether Congress would be able to come to agreement on the measure. In the Senate, the CR passed with a vote of 78 to 20. The measure passed the House with bi-partisan support and a divided Republican party in a vote of 277 to 151, with 186 Democrats and 91 Republicans in favor and 141 Republicans opposing.
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.
We have extended our story collection campaign!
Both Houses of Congress are currently on August recess and will return to Capitol Hill on September 8, 2015. During this time, when members of Congress will be in their home districts, the National WIC Association would like to encourage you to reach out to your Senators, Representative, and their staff to give them a tour of a WIC clinic in your district. Providing legislators with an inside-look into what WIC does and who WIC serves will help to emphasize how important the program is and show policy-makers that WIC is worth protecting.
will markup the reauthorization<span 1.6em;"=""> of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.
Leading up to the markup, NWA is collecting stories from WIC participants, service providers and anyone else who has been impacted by WIC.
Child Nutrition Reauthorization Update: Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry announced last Monday that the Committee will markup the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 on September 17, 2015.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is recognizing state and local agencies of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (more commonly known as WIC) that excel in offering education and support for breastfeeding mothers. As part of World Breastfeeding Week activities, Vilsack has also proclaimed this week, Aug. 1-7, as National WIC Breastfeeding Week, “in appreciation of breastfeeding mothers and of all the dedicated volunteers, professionals, communities, and organizations who support their efforts.”
WIC 2016 Funding Update: This timeline covers WIC Appropriations progress for the last six months, as well as what we can expect in the next few months:
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 House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Chair, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking, completed its markup of the FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill last Wednesday, July 8. The draft bill was ordered to be reported favorably by a voice vote.
Click here to write a letter telling Congress to Protect and Improve the WIC Program through Child Nutrition Reauthorization! The customizable text of our letter is below:
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has been instrumental in improving at-risk women and children’s health, growth and development, and preventing health problems for 41 years. WIC serves approximately 8 million mothers and young children through 10,000 clinics nationwide.
Quality nutrition services are the centerpiece of WIC: nutrition and breastfeeding counseling and education, nutritious foods, and improved healthcare access for low and moderate income women and children with, or at risk of developing, nutrition-related health problems including overweight, obesity, and type-2 diabetes. WIC’s committed, results-oriented, entrepreneurial staffs stretch resources to serve the maximum numbers of women, infants, and children and ensure program effectiveness and integrity.
The House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), advanced its FY 2016 Health and Human Services, Education and Labor Appropriations bill last Wednesday. Committee members approved the bill in a 30-21 vote (along party lines) after a nearly seven-hour markup.
The bill has the potential to harm the nation’s health in a number of ways. First, despite the Supreme Court’s recent ruling protecting subsidies for access to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the federal exchange, it blocks discretionary funding for the ACA. If signed into law, this would mean that the nearly 16 million people who depend on federal subsidies to purchase health insurance would be denied coverage.
Supreme Court Decision on ACA Subsidies: In a major decision, the Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that the federal subsidies that help nearly 6.4 million people pay for their HealthCare.gov health insurance plans are legal under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The 6-3 ruling on King v. Burwell means that the 34 states being considered in this case will avoid skyrocketing prices on individual plan insurance and will prevent the loss of health coverage for nearly 8 million people in those states.
The House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Chair, Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Ranking, completed its markup and released a draft of its FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill last Thursday, June 18.
The draft bill funds WIC at $6.484 billion, including $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors, $55 million for management information systems (MIS), including WIC EBT systems and activities, and $14 million for WIC infrastructure. The Subcommittee did not provide monies for the contingency fund.
17 June 2015 – The House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Chair, Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Ranking, will markup their version of the FY2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill, including funding for the WIC Program tomorrow 18 June.
FY 2016 Budget Controversy
The FY 2016 Budget continues to be a contentious issue here in Washington. Senate Republicans, lead by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would like to approve HR 2685, the House-passed Defense Appropriations bill, as early as this week. This bill includes language that would protect defense spending from budget sequestration. Senate Republicans want the bill to be approved first among the 12 Appropriations bills for the same reason, so that it is not subject to sequestration cuts. They would prefer that non-defense discretionary programs such as WIC, which will be negotiated later in the process, be exposed to deep cuts.
President Obama and Democrats in both chambers want the caps lifted for both domestic and military programs.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Please read about an exciting marker bill dropped today by Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) which would extend eligibility for children to participate in WIC until their 6th birthdays.
Read Reverend Douglas Greenaway's letter to the editor in response to last week's Wall Street Journal article about WIC, infant formula rebates, and program eligibility.
Read about the 50 local communities being funded by the CDC's National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention Program.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
The National WIC Association (NWA) is pleased to share that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee submitted its recommendations to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for the 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Read NWA's recommendations for the WIC food packages.
This statement was released today by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National WIC Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest, First Focus and March of Dimes in response to the release of the Institute of Medicine’s report, Review of WIC Food Packages: An Evaluation of White Potatoes in the Cash Value Voucher.
President Obama released his 2016 Budget request yesterday. Read more about the president's budget in this week's WIC Policy Update.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Latest WIC Funding Update.
Learn about our 2015 theme: Reach Them, Teach Them, Keep Them!
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Read the latest WIC policy news.
NWA celebrated WIC's 40th Anniversary with the USDA.
NWA makes statement on WIC Food Package review.
Watch our WIC Anniversary Healthcare Referrals video!
Learn more about this exciting initiative.
See tips on how to get WIC PSAs aired.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
Celebrate WIC during National Breastfeeding Month!
Read the latest WIC policy info.
Read the latest WIC policy update.
See our new infographic about the WIC potato issue!
Read the latest WIC policy update.
Read the latest WIC policy updates.
WIC potato issue gets attention in the House.
The First Lady talks potatoes in WIC.
The scientific process of the WIC food package shouldn't be compromised.
Latest on the Potato issue.
Don't let Congress pick WIC foods!
See our Healthy Food WIC anniversary video!
Read the latest WIC budget info.
Register for the WIC: Let's Move! 5K Walk/Run!
Learn about Cooking Matters grocery store tours for WIC!
Partner orgs - sign on our WIC funding letter!
Weekly update on WIC budget news.
You can feel reassured about using our website.
Sign on to protect the integrity of the WIC Food Package.
Read the latest WIC funding updates.
Read the latest WIC funding news.
Read the latest WIC funding info.
Watch our latest video on WIC nutrition education!
Read the latest WIC funding news.
Read what the President's budget means for WIC.
See our statement on the USDA Final WIC Rule.
Read the latest legislative update on WIC.
Read the latest legislative update on WIC.
Read up on the latest WIC policy updates.
Watch our infographic videos created to celebrate WIC's 40th anniversary!
The latest developments for WIC's funding & the potato issue.
Read the latest legislative update on WIC.
Tell Congress to stop meddling in the science of the WIC food package.
See Q&A from our recent Affordable Care Act webinar.
Giving thanks to WIC participants willing to share their voices.
Urge Congress to support a budget plan that puts the nation on a sustainable fiscal path without taking funding from WIC.
See how we created new website features to better meet your needs.
Learn what journey maps are and how they can identify opportunities for making improvements in your clients’ experiences.
Families using SNAP will face benefit decreases starting November 1.
Finally, the government is re-open (for now), but WIC isn't out of the woods yet.
Funding ceased for WIC following the government shutdown.
Latest update on WIC and the government shutdown.
Urge Congress to oppose H J Res 75, the “Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act."
WIC Programs should be able to stay open through at least October 31.
White potatoes are not currently an allowed food in WIC and the potato industry has taken issue with this.
WIC was underfunded last week in the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee’s passed FY2014 funding bill.