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 Legislative Corner

AMCHP Opposes Major Funding Reduction to WIC Program
The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee marked up a FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill last week and included an $832 million funding reduction to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Coupled with the $523 million reduction in FY 2011, the WIC program is now facing a devastating $1.355 billion loss. Sources estimate that potentially up to 500,000 low-income women and young children would be denied the benefits and services from this critical program with the FY 2012 reductions alone.

“WIC food costs, like all families’ food costs, are sensitive to food cost inflation and should food cost inflation spike during the 2012 fiscal year as many economists suggest,” said the Rev. Douglas A. Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association, “WIC could take a serious hit and WIC Agencies will be forced to turn mothers and young children away!”

Approximately one out of four pregnant women and roughly 50 percent of all infants born in the United States participate in WIC. Almost 51 percent of pregnant women enroll in WIC during their first trimester of pregnancy and at certification, 25 percent of pregnant women have three or more nutrition risk factors.

AMCHP sent a letter in opposition to the proposed cuts to leadership in the House of Representatives and joined the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and other affiliates on a joint letter raising the issue. 

HHS Announces Additional Funding Opportunities Related to the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation Program
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that up to additional $99 million in additional competitive grants would be available to states to enhance existing Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visitation Programs through the Affordable Care Act. The press release can be found here. Eligible entities include the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and the District of Columbia. Applications will be due on July 1. Please also see the July 1 Funding Opportunity announcement for a more detailed description.