WIC Funding and the 6 month Continuing Resolution (CR) for FY 2013
Congress has funded WIC until March 27, 2013 under a stopgap spending measure called a Continuing Resolution until a final agreement is made on the new fiscal year (FY) appropriations. With passage of this CR, WIC received a 0.6% increase from FY 2012 of $6.657 billion. After March, if the House and Senate don’t negotiate a compromise on budget priorities, then another CR may be required to fund WIC for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Sequestration and the WIC Program
After the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to reach an agreement last November it set in motion a process called sequestration. Sequestration means automatic $1.2 trillion across-the-board budget cuts starting January, 2, 2013. For WIC that amounts to an 8.2% cut or $554 million, eliminating 750,000 mothers and children from the program. In Washington State that is the equivalent of a reduction by 16,200 in caseload. In addition there are likely cuts going to be made to the WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program, MIS/EBT and Infrastructure funding. The sequestration cuts as determined under the Budget Control Act will impact both defense and non-defense programs, including discretionary spending and some entitlement spending. The caps under the sequestration process will likely continue to impact discretionary spending and impose across-the-board cuts on entitlement programs until 2021. Exempt from automatic cuts are Medicaid, Social Security, spending on veterans and a range of entitlement programs targeting low-income Americans. If Congress can come to an agreement on a long-term deficit reduction strategy before January 2013 then sequestration will be avoided. According to the National WIC Association lawmakers need to hear how “WIC is indeed a deficit reduction program that improves the overall health and nutritional well-being of Americans preparing them to compete in the 21st century’s global economy.”