Washington, D.C.- As members from of both houses of Congress prepare to negotiate a final version of the US farm bill, a bipartisan group of more than 50 members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees expressing strong support for reforms contained in the Senate version of the bill. The letter urged the conference committee to modernize U.S. international food aid programs by including broadly supported reforms that passed the Senate earlier this year.
The members’ letter strongly supports the goals of US international food assistance programs saying they, “play a vital role in preventing famines, reversing acute and chronic child malnutrition, assisting those uprooted by conflict or natural disaster, and enabling vulnerable populations to build resilience against future food price shocks.” Achieving these goals requires that, “in a time of constrained budgets and increasing needs, more must be done to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our food aid system.”
Efforts to modernize food aid have been proposed by both parties over the years, including by the Bush and Obama administrations. The letter reveals that there is a strong base of support in the House for the Senate-passed reforms that would increase the amount of food allowed to be purchased closer to where it’s needed and reduce reliance on the inefficient practice of monetization, or shipping and selling commodities overseas to fund food security programs.
In response to the letter, a coalition of leading humanitarian and relief organizations congratulated the letter’s authors, Representative’s Ander Crenshaw (R- FL) and Adam Smith (D-WA), for their leadership to gather support for the Senate proposals:
“Reforming our food aid system could enable millions more people to be reached with lifesaving aid without costing taxpayers one extra penny. Representatives Smith and Crenshaw and the dozens of leaders in Congress who are standing up to fight for these common sense reforms deserve our thanks and our support.”
Coalition members: American Jewish World Service, The Borgen Project, Bread for the World, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, InterAction, Mercy Corps, Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network, Oxfam America, Save the Children, World Food Program USA