WASHINGTON, February 9, 2016 — Today, President Obama released his FY2017 budget. The priorities outlined in this year’s budget reflect the Administration’s ongoing commitment to supporting strong federal nutrition programs. As the economy continues to recover, there is still a great need to provide tens of millions of Americans access to these programs, which serve as the first line of defense against hunger and economic insecurity. Here are key provisions:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- $81.690 billion for SNAP, which is estimated to serve an average caseload of 44.5 million individuals and support the current 85 percent participation rate among eligible people. SNAP initiatives include proposals for:
- $10 million for the first year of implementing state options to streamline application processes for the elderly;
- $7 million more for states for Employment & Training (E&T) technical assistance and data reporting systems;
- $3.8 million additional funds to better ensure a high level of compliance with quality control and data reporting procedures;
- $2 million to continue the SNAP Nutrition Education Center for Excellence;
- $1.2 million for technical assistance for states implementing Nutrition Education programs; and
- Modify SNAP simplified reporting requirements to include out-of-state moves.
Child Nutrition Programs
- $12 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to address childhood hunger in the summer by expanding the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children Program permanently and nationally, through SNAP authorized retailers. This program would be phased in over 10 years with 10 percent of the states participating in the first year, 25 percent by the fifth year, and all states in the tenth year. The proposal would provide $45 per month to 1 million children in the summer of 2017;
- $26 million to continue the Summer EBT Demonstration Projects;
- $6.350 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to support an anticipated caseload of 8.1 million women, infants, and children in WIC (slightly higher than the recent caseload); $80 million for WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counseling, $75 million for WIC MIS/EBT systems, $14 million for WIC infrastructure and technical assistance, $26 million for WIC program initiatives and evaluation;
- $21 million for the Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program;
- $17 million for the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program;
- $10 million for a non-congregate meals summer demonstration pilot;
- $10 million for school meals direct certification grant expansion; and
- $35 million in school equipment grants to enable school districts to build their capacity to prepare meals on-site that are healthier and more cost-effective to produce.
- $850 million for HHS Administration on Aging Nutrition Services programs, a $14 million increase over the FY2016 enacted level.
- The budget also includes a new proposal to invest in evidence-based innovations to help ensure that funding for Nutrition Services programs is spent as efficiently as possible to maximize the impact.
- $236 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which is an almost $14 million increase to support the current number of elderly individuals served and expands caseloads in states by 20,000;
- $299 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities; and
- $59 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Storage and Transportation Grants.
Congressional Hunger Center
- $2 million for the Congressional Hunger Center fellowship program.
Outside of the nutrition programs, the President makes a series of positive budget proposals that will help make work pay, reduce hunger and poverty, and increase opportunity. They include improved investments in preschool education and child care, housing assistance, a new Emergency Aid and Service Connection Fund to help the poorest families, TANF, unemployment insurance, and the Earned Income Tax Credit for working adults not raising children.
In addition to the budget proposals, the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on January 27th a new initiative to increase access to school meals by helping up to 20 states over the next several years implement use of Medicaid data to directly certify students for free and reduced-price school meals.
This budget marks the beginning of the budget and appropriations process for FY2017. Responsibility now moves to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers will draft their own budgets, as well as appropriations bills that reflect the priorities of the House and Senate. FRAC will continue to push the leadership on both sides of the aisle to do their part to ensure that low-income families and struggling households will have continued and improved access to federal nutrition programs and other low-income supports.
We also will continue to actively engage with our network of anti-hunger advocates across the country and provide details and analysis throughout this process. To learn more, visit FRAC.org.
Statement attributable to James D. Weill, president, Food Research & Action Center.