Bipartisan WIC Healthy Beginnings Act cosponsored by Miller-Meeks

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) on April 27 cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would establish a publicly available federal database of bid solicitations for infant formula under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as the WIC program.  

“Improving the transparency and availability of WIC contracts will give mothers the best options available to feed their children. Making this contract data readily available will increase competition and give better options to mothers,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “I am proud to join this bicameral and bipartisan group to ensure the health and well-being of America’s families.”

The database authorized under the proposed WIC Healthy Beginnings Act of 2022, H.R. 7603, which Rep. Miller-Meeks cosponsored alongside bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), aims to encourage competition, reduce costs and improve the quality of infant formula options available through the state WIC programs.

H.R. 7603 is the companion bill to the same-named S. 3216, introduced in November 2021 by U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

“Our bipartisan legislation will lead to improved access to infant formula for America’s mothers and their children, as well as level the playing field for small and large formula manufacturers,” said Sen. Marshall. “I’m proud to partner with my colleagues in the House to streamline the WIC public-private partnership to more closely align with regular contracting norms to ensure transparency and access to high quality and safe products.”

WIC provides half of the infants born in the U.S. with access to breastfeeding education, counseling and supplemental nutritious food. While WIC is primarily a breastfeeding promotion program, it does offer iron-fortified infant formula for partially breastfed and fully formula-fed infants.

The measure would require WIC state agencies to submit an open solicitation description to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would use the information to maintain a fully searchable database that includes myriad information, including the title of the bid solicitation and the WIC state agency administering the bid solicitation.

The measure has been endorsed by the National WIC Association, the Infant Nutrition Council of America, the National Milk Producers Federation, and the March of Dimes.