Friday, December 18, 2015
SPENDING & TAX BILLS ADDRESS HUNGER & POVERTY
House and Senate leaders have reached agreement on a FY 16 Omnibus Appropriations bill and a Tax Extender package. The tax bill will come to a vote in the House on Thursday (12/17), the spending bill on Friday. The Senate is expected to combine the two bills into a single vote, presumably on Friday. The appropriations bill addresses three food-related issues:
• $6.350 billion for the WIC: This is expected to support the anticipated caseload but falls short of the $6.623 billion in the President’s proposed budget, which was the same amount appropriated last year.
• School Nutrition Standards: The bill maintains the language from prior appropriations legislation that allows waivers of the whole grain requirement and postpones full implementation of the sodium requirement
• $23 million for the summer EBT program: This is $7 million more than the 2015 enacted level. Participation is not limited to certain communities as it was last year.
Reauthorization for the Child Nutrition Act is not included in this bill. It will probably be considered early next year.
The Tax Extender bill makes permanent the Child Care, Earned Income, and American Opportunity (college expenses) tax credits.