National WIC Association

June 27, 2017

House Committee Releases FY 2018 Agriculture Spending Bill and Senate Postpones Healthcare Vote

FY 2018 Appropriations Bill in House

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.

While this funding level is significantly less than FY 2016 and 2017, we expect that it will be sufficient to meet projected caseload needs in FY 2018. This is largely because average monthly food costs are relatively flat, food cost inflation is low, cost containment strategies have helped reduce program costs, rebates are among their highest levels, and WIC participation continues to lag.

Beyond WIC, the House Agriculture Appropriations bill diverges from the President’s budget request in a number of additional areas.

The bill would provide $1.8 billion for international food aid, including the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program that the Trump budget would have eliminated. Rural water and waste program loans would be funded at $1.25 billion—the same as the FY 2017 funding level and $473 million above the Trump budget request.

The committee plans to mark up their bill tomorrow morning.

Senate Postpones Healthcare Vote in the Wake of CBO Score

Earlier this afternoon, Senate Republican leaders announced that they would be postponing a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) until after the July 4th recess. The decision came after five Senate Republicans said they could not support a move to bring up the bill this week in the wake of yesterday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of its impacts.

CBO concluded that the Senate bill would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured by 2026 while reducing federal spending by $321 billion. This means the bill would result in nearly the same number of people losing their health insurance coverage as under the House-passed American Health Care Act. It also means that the bill would reverse all of the historic coverage gains achieved since the ACA was enacted in 2010.

The bill has come under attack from both the left and right. The Republican Senators who said they could not vote on the bill this week included Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rand Paul (R-KY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Dean Heller (R-NV). You can read our analysis of the Senate bill in our policy update from yesterday. Senate Republicans will continue to work on passing their bill when they return from recess on July 10th.