On Wednesday May 17, 2023, the House Appropriations began marking up some of the appropriations bills for FY2024. Although the House Majority has not released a budget resolution, the House-passed Limit, Save Grow Act on the debt ceiling has proposed overall discretionary spending be capped at FY2022 levels; it is widely accepted that Defense spending will not be reduced, so other discretionary spending will see reductions between 22-30%. The subcommittees are moving forward under this framework.
Subcommittee markups were held for the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, the Legislative Branch bill, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Agriculture) bill and the Department of Homeland Security bill. The Agriculture appropriations bill includes vital nutrition programs that serve families with low incomes like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The bill text that was released and marked up by the Agriculture Subcommittee provides funding of $17.2 billion – a level so low that it was last seen in 2006 – which is $9 billion below what was provided in 2023, according to the House Appropriations Democrats’ press release. The bill makes significant cuts to both WIC and SNAP, taking food assistance away from people who need it. It also rescinds funding for rural communities and small farms that was extended in the Inflation Reduction Act last year.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report on May 18th titled “House Republicans’ Agriculture Appropriations Bill Would Cut WIC Benefits for 5 Million Participants, Put SNAP Benefits at Risk for 1 Million Older Adults.” The report found that the proposed WIC funding would “cut benefits for nearly 1.5 million pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding participants and roughly 3.5 million children aged 1 through 4.” The bill also puts SNAP benefits at risk for 1 million older adults by including the same policy from their debt ceiling bill that takes food assistance away from people aged 50 to 55 who can’t meet a work-reporting requirement.
The full Appropriations Committee will hold their mark up for the bill on May 24, 2023.