National WIC Association

June 11, 2014

White House Threatens to Veto Potatoes

The White House recently released a Statement of Administration Policy threatening to veto the FY2015 House Agriculture appropriations bill (HR 4800) because it “injects political decision-making into science-based nutrition standards, and includes objectionable language riders."

The White House is referring to the language that would mandate potatoes into the WIC food packages and language that would require USDA to provide waivers of nutrition standards to school. A presidential veto is one of two ways that WIC can avert the potato mandate. The other way is a Continuing Resolution (CR) of current law into FY2015.

Here's the WIC language from the Statement:

"The Administration is strongly opposed to language in the bill that would require the inclusion of white potatoes in the WIC food package, while taking the unprecedented step of overriding the science-based review process used to determine which foods should be included in the WIC food package. The Administration appreciates that the Committee provides sufficient funding to serve all projected WIC participants for FY 2015, but urges the Congress to fully fund the FY 2015 Budget request for $150 million in contingency funds to ensure that the program has sufficient resources to meet unexpected changes in participation."

Read First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent Op-Ed on the issue of policy interference in nutrition science.

The House will debate the bill on the floor Wednesday.