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House Committee Approves Agriculture, FDA Spending Bill

On July 8, the House Appropriations Committee approved, by voice vote, the FY2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Related Agencies spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The subcommittee approved its version on June 18 (see The Source, 6/19/15).

According to the committee report, the bill would allocate $20.65 billion for FY2016, which is $175 million below FY2015 and $1.136 billion below President Obama’s request.

With regard to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the committee expressed concern “that some individuals are selling WIC benefits or WIC-purchased infant formula or food items on social media sites and by other means, which is a violation of Federal WIC regulations…[and] directs [the Food and Nutrition Service] to provide a report within 60 days of enactment of this Act describing how the agency is addressing this abuse and coordinating with state and local officials to prevent these activities” (p. 55).

Furthermore, “the Committee encourages USDA to explore the use of income verification mechanisms already in use by state Medicaid programs, TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] and SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] to enroll in the program those with household incomes consistent with the low-income, nutritionally at risk enrollment goals of the WIC program” (p. 55).

The bill would allow “continuation of the breastfeeding peer counselor program, infrastructure, and investments in management information systems, including WIC EBT [Electronic Benefit Transfer] systems” (p. 54). In addition, the committee urges the FDA to implement changes to mammography patient and physician reports to include information on an individual’s breast density (p. 67).

The following chart details funding for programs important to women and their families.

Program/Agency FY2015 President’s FY2015 Request FY2016
Department of Agriculture – Domestic Food Programs
Food and Nutrition Service $110.19 billion $112.347 billion $110.074 billion
Child Nutrition Programs $21.3 billion $21.587 billion $21.507 billion
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) $6.623 billion $6.623 billion $6.484 billion
Special Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) $81.838 billion $83.693 billion $81.653 billion
Commodity Assistance Program $278.501 million $288.317 million $288.317 million
Department of Agriculture – Foreign Assistance
P.L. 480 Title II Food for Peace $1.466 billion $1.4 billion $1.417 billion
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition $191.626 million $191.626 million $191.626 million
Food and Drug Administration
FDA $2.589 billion $2.735 billion $2.619 billion
User Fees $1.845 billion $1.931 billion $1.931 billion
Mammography User Fees $19.705 million $20.109 million $20.109 million
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