Congress Protects Most Global Hunger Programs from Budget Cuts

Statement from Rick Leach, president and CEO, WFP USA

Today, with the enactment of H.R. 1473, the United States has reaffirmed its longstanding, bipartisan commitment to address global hunger. This commitment dates back to the Marshall Plan, when the United States helped prevent hunger among a generation of Europeans. 

Earlier in the legislative process, when it appeared that this might be the first Congress in U.S. history to drastically cut global hunger programs, countless Americans, non-profit organizations, companies, military leaders and others raised their voices in opposition. They did this not only because millions of lives were at stake, but because these programs support our national security and economic interests.

The legislation maintains funding for the McGovern-Dole School Meals program, ensuring that 4 to 5 million of the world’s poorest children will continue to receive a meal in school and hope for a brighter future. It maintains funding for Feed the Future, which will enable 18 million small-scale farmers to rise out of poverty and ensure that 7 million children receive the nutrition assistance needed to develop properly. It also provides support for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which is leveraging resources from international donors to implement long-term solutions to hunger and poverty.

Unfortunately, this legislation cuts approximately $200 million in emergency food aid. These cuts will eliminate emergency food assistance for more than 4 million people. With record food prices pushing 44 million more people into extreme poverty (defined as people living on less than$1.25 per day), the World Food Programme and the NGO community will be forced to make difficult choices about where to cut feeding operations for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Though Congress adopted this painful cut to food aid, it continued its overall commitment to the world’s hungry people. However, the threat of additional devastating cuts to global hunger programs still looms. As Congress now turns its attention to the next funding cycle, we must ensure that the U.S. commitment to the world’s hungry people does not wane. We must not relent.   

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About WFP USA

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance last year. World Food Program USA builds support for WFP through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.