CHN: Final Conference Agreement on WIC Spending Approved In House
The House of Representatives on October 28 adopted the agriculture appropriations conference report by a vote of 318-63. This came a day after the House and Senate conferees reported the bill, which includes $17.1 billion in discretionary spending (money that Congress has to approve each year). The bill appropriates $5.3 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), including a $125 million reserve. The total for WIC is about a 1.25 percent increase over the fiscal 2005 level, less than the rate of inflation. WIC serves an average of about 8 million women, infants and children every month.
The summer food program is funded at $300.2 million and includes an expansion of the programs to Arizona, Maine, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
The final bill puts a moratorium on WIC-only stores. Unlike an earlier version of the bill, the final bill does not include a cap on Medicaid adjunctive eligibility for WIC. The cap (as proposed in the President’s budget) would have prevented Medicaid recipients eligible individuals who had incomes above 250 percent of poverty from being automatically eligible for WIC. The cap would have affected families in six states.
The next step is for the Senate to approve the conference report before it goes to the President for his signature.
FRAC side-by-side comparison of Agriculture appropriations bill: http://www.frac.org/Legislative/Budget_06/07.01.05AgApprops.html