Nutrition and Health Program Funding Increases in Omnibus Bill Passed by U.S. House of Representatives

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03/22/2018 - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 2018 federal omnibus appropriations bill, which would increase funding for the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture where many nutrition and health programs are administered. The bill will now go to the Senate floor. Congress must pass a spending bill by March 23 to avert a government shutdown.

Investments in public health infrastructure and nutrition programs are critical to Americans' health and well-being and have been the target of the Academy's advocacy efforts with Congress. The Academy's priorities fared well in the year-end spending bill and the Academy was pleased to see many nutrition and health programs receive increases in funding. The bill would provide $88.1 billion for HHS and $23.2 billion in discretionary funding for USDA.

These increases were possible in large part because of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which Congress passed in February to increase the federal caps on discretionary spending.

The Academy applauds Congress for investing in the critical programs and services that provide access to food and nutrition services, and will continue to advocate for nutrition and public health programs where registered dietitian nutritionists are contributing to the improved health people across the nation.

Key Takeaways

  • For our public health, diabetes and SCAN members, critical public health and wellness initiatives that work to address diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes would see an increase in allocations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • For our nutrition educators, there would be an increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education funding.
  • For our members working with older adults, congregate and home delivered meals would have an increase in funding.
  • For our school meals directors, there would be an increase in funding for the purchase of food service equipment.
  • For our researchers, the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service each would receive increased funding.

Agriculture, Rural Development and FDA

Key Provisions for Nutrition Services and Programs

  • The bill would provide a $25 million increase for National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
  • The Agricultural Research Service would receive a $32.5 million increase. Congress rejected the president's budget request to terminate the research programs or research locations.
  • Child Nutrition Programs including School Meals programs would be fully funded as a mandatory program.
  • The summer Electronic Benefits Transfer program would receive $28 million, which is $5 million more than the 2017 enacted level.
  • School Nutrition Directors would have an increase of $5 million dollars to a total of $30 million for the year for kitchen equipment grants and loans.
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children funding would be $6.2 billion and includes $60 million for breastfeeding support initiatives. This funding is highly likely to meet caseloads.
  • SNAP-Ed funding would increase to $421 million.
  • Food safety and inspection responsible for ensuring meat, poultry and egg products are safe and correctly labeled and packaged would increase by $24.8 million.
  • Food for Peace, a famine relief program, would receive $1.7 billion, which includes a $116 million one-time increase.
  • Team Nutrition would receive steady funding at $15.5 million.
  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which provides funding options to grocery stores to build in food deserts, would be funded at $1 million.

Labor, Education, Health and Human Services

Key Provisions for Nutrition Services and Programs

The National Institutes of Health:

  • The bill would provide a total funding of $37 billion. This would be an increase of $3 billion including a $50 million increase for antibiotic resistance research and a $60 million increase for the All of Us Research initiative.
  • The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Health Information Center would receive $2.1 billion funding, an increase of $100 million, which includes the Special Diabetes Program funding.

Administration on Children and Families:

  • Head Start would see an increase of $610 million to include a cost-of-living adjustment.

Administration on Community Living:

  • The Older Americans Act IIIC Nutrition Programs would receive a $59 million increase, which includes a $40 million increase to congregate nutrition services and $19 million for home-delivered meals.
  • The Home and Community-Based Supportive Services would have a $59 million increase and the Preventive Health Services would have a $5 million increase.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Total funding of $8.3 billion, which would be an increase of $1.1 billion or 16 percent of prior years' funding.
  • Several programs would maintained level funding:
    • Million Hearts Initiative at $4 million.
    • Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program at $50.9 million, which is now run by the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. This also would include $16 million for the Good Health and Wellness in Indian County program at CDC.
    • Hospitals promoting breastfeeding initiative at $8 million.
    • Prevention Research Centers at $25.5 million.
  • The High Obesity Rate Counties grant program would receive an increase in funding to total $15 million.
  • The National Diabetes Prevention Program would receive an increase in funding to $25.3 million.

Health Resources and Services Administration:

  • The Maternal & Child Health Service Block Grant would have an increase of $10 million, totaling $651.7 million.
  • The Ryan White Part B programs would maintain level funding at $1.3 billion.
  • The bill would provide $290.8 million for rural health initiatives, including $2 million to support collaboration with the Delta Regional Authority, and $23.5 million for telehealth initiatives.