Corker, Coons reintroduce bill to change food aid |

Corker, Coons reintroduce bill to change food aid

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., have reintroduced their bill to make changes to the food aid program. They propose to transfer the food aid programs from the farm bill to foreign assistance programs.

The bill would also allow more procurement of foodstuffs in countries outside the United States, remove the cargo preference requirement for shipping in U.S. vessels and eliminate monetization (the sale of food aid and the use of the proceeds for development programs).

The bill would “free up as much as $440 million annually through greater efficiencies in delivering aid, allowing the U.S. to reach an estimated 8 to 12 million more people, in a shorter time period,” the senators said in a news release.

“With limited aid available, it is our responsibility to ensure American resources are used in the most effective manner possible,” Corker said. “These necessary reforms will allow us to better promote stability around the world by delivering lifesaving food to those in need more quickly and at a lower cost. Reorganizing this vital food aid program in a more sensible way also will help further U.S. interests.”

“More than anything else, the mission of America’s food aid program is to save lives,” said Coons, former chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs. “Our current system for acquiring and distributing food aid is inefficient, and often hurts the very communities it is trying to help. This bill will modernize America’s food aid program and help it to reach as many as nine million more people each year. It will also help get food aid to where it is needed months sooner. The reforms in this bill build on reforms in the FY14 omnibus appropriations bill and 2014 farm bill, and have broad and bipartisan support from policy experts and humanitarian organizations.”

Farm and some humanitarian leaders in the past have said that shifting food from the Agriculture to the Foreign Affairs committees could reduce political support for food aid programs that has been organized since the 1950s. F

–The Hagstrom Report

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