CHN: House Committee Approves FY 2003 Agriculture Appropriations
Food and Nutrition Services Receive Funding Increase
On Thursday, July 11, the House Agriculture Appropriations Committee approved a $74.3 billion fiscal year 2003 appropriations bill by voice vote. The FY 2003 appropriation marks an overall increase of $908 million from the government’s current agricultural spending. The bill also calls for a $4.1 billion increase in spending on domestic food programs, for a total of $42 billion for FY 03.
Nearly one quarter of the agriculture appropriation bill is designated for discretionary spending, largely for domestic food programs. Appropriators explained that the increase in food program allocation is a reaction to the slumping economy and the subsequent growth in the number of Americans dependent on food stamps and other aid. Among the domestic food programs in line to receive increases are the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Food For Peace Program. The WIC program provides necessary nutrition to low-income young children and pregnant women, and is slated to receive $4.8 billion for FY 03, an overall increase of $428 million from FY 02 and $25 million above President Bush’s request. In addition, the Food Stamp Program will receive $26.3 billion in mandatory funding, up from last year’s $22.9 billion, and Child Nutrition Programs will receive a mandatory $10.6 billion, an increase of $489 from last year.
Programs like the School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), and food and nutrition research programs will feel positive fiscal effects from the increases in FY 03 agriculture appropriations and overall increased discretionary domestic food program spending. The House is expected to vote on the FY 03 bill next week, while the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee is slated to mark up their version of the bill on Tuesday, July 23.