President’s Budget Proposal Would Drastically Cut Funding for Food, Nutrition and Health Programs

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02/13/2018 - Vital food, nutrition and health programs and services would face severe reductions in funding under President Trump’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The Academy urgesCongress to fully fund those programs and services, and we will continue to advocate for nutrition and public health programs where registered dietitian nutritionists are improving patient health.

Investments in public health infrastructure and the nutrition safety net are critical to Americans' health and well-being. The president’s budget proposal includes large funding cuts and changes to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which would harm the country’s most vulnerable populations. Eliminating or underfunding nutrition programs will risk people's access to nutritious food, which is critical to prevent and treat chronic disease.

The president’s budget reflects his vision. However, legislative changes and adjustments to funding levels must ultimately be written and approved by Congress, and therefore, the Academy urges Congress to continue to fund these vital programs. The Academy is encouraged by the most recent bipartisan budget agreement passed by Congress on February 9. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 is a two-year budget bill that raises the debt limit, provides two years of relief from cuts to discretionary funding and provides short-term funding through March 23. The budget deal raises defense and nondefense spending levels by nearly $300 billion for two years.

The Academy applauds the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed by the president, which contains Academy-supported federal nutrition programs and public health, including emergency spending of $24 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program and $14 million for WIC clinics in areas impacted by hurricanes. The budget agreement also has provisions of the Senate Passes CHRONIC Care Act, which expanded supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage to allow meal delivery for seniors with diabetes, arthritis and other chronic conditions.

Affect on Individual Programs Critical to Academy Members

Below is a summary of how the president’s budget proposal would affect programs that are critical to Academy members. It is important to note that the president’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019 was written before the Fiscal Year 2018 budget is complete and does not fully incorporate the newly increased budget caps, and therefore, the proposed funding levels are not completely accurate.  

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services*

Programs and Services That Would be Eliminated

  • The president’s budget again proposes a $500 million block grant, the America’s Health Block Grant, which would use funds from the Prevention and Public Health Fund for state-based chronic disease programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Elimination of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant
  • Elimination of the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant
  • Proposes the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Programs and Services That Would Receive Funding Reductions

  • CDC funding for chronic disease prevention and health promotion activities: a $138 million reduction from the Fiscal Year 2018 Continuing Resolution
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program education: $7 million reduction.

Programs and Services That Would Receive Funding Increases

  • Head Start: provides $9.3 billion, including a $22 million cost-of-living adjustment
  • National Institutes of Health:  $699 million increase from Fiscal Year 2018 Continuing Resolution
    • Also reorganizes the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH
  • Older American Act nutrition programs: increases funding by $6 million from the Fiscal Year 2018 Continuing Resolution. Home and community-based services increased by $2 million and Preventive Health Services increased by $5 million.

*Based on HHS Budget in Brief, not specific agency budget justifications.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Programs and Services That Would Receive Funding Reductions

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: $17 billion reduction immediately and $213.5 billion reduction over 10 years
  • The budget also proposes to replace a portion of the current SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer system with a commodity distribution system for families receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits; restrict broad based categorical eligibility; increase the age limit for able-bodied adults without dependents from 49 to 62; cap SNAP benefits at six-people per household; and limit the use of waivers for states that have chosen to extend SNAP benefits that exempt able-bodied adults without dependents from work requirements.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children: $380 million reduction from $6.313 billion to $5.75 billion and would cancel $215 million in unspent funds. This would likely be sufficient to meet the projected caseload needs.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program: $5 million reduction, an 8.5 percent decrease in funding, from $59 million to $54 million.
  • Child Nutrition Programs: $1.1 billion reduction
  • Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program: $12 million reduction, an 18 percent decrease from $67 million to $55 million.
  • Agricultural Research Service Human Nutrition: $42 million reduction, a 48 percent decrease in funding, from $87 million to $45 million.
  • Economic Research Service: $41 million reduction, a 48 percent decrease in funding, from $86 million to $45 million. 

Programs and Services That Would Be Eliminated

  • SNAP Nutrition Education
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program
  • Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
  • Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program.