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Senate Approves FY2002 Agriculture Spending Bill

On October 26, the Senate passed the FY2002 agriculture spending bill (S. 1191) by a vote of 91-5. The House passed its bill (H.R. 2330) on July 11 (see The Source, 7/13/01, p. 1).

Under the Senate bill, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) would receive a $200 million increase to $4.25 billion in FY2002, $110 million more than the President’s request. The House-passed bill would provide $4.14 billion.

Committee report language accompanying the Senate-passed bill states that “while WIC plays an important role in screening and referral to other health care services, it was never the Committee’s intention that WIC should perform aggressive screening, referral and assessment functions in such a manner that supplants the responsibilities of other programs.”

Additionally, the report expresses concern that the Agriculture Department has not revised the WIC food prescription to respond to the “needs of the culturally sensitive populations WIC serves,” and urges the department to “move expeditiously.”

Child nutrition programs would receive $10.087 billion, an increase over the $9.541 billion appropriated in FY2001. The House-passed bill would provide $10.089 billion.

The Senate committee report also includes language expressing concern that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has paid “insufficient attention to gender-based research.” The committee directs the FDA to “continue piloting the drug application database to collect demographic information.” Additionally, the committee urges the FDA to study the feasibility of developing an agency-wide database that would review clinical trial databases, coordinate data collection, and identify areas in which gaps exist.

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