Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Urge Your Senator to Cosponsor Food-Aid Reform Measure (S2421)

Last week, the House of Representatives took a positive step to reform our government’s food-aid programs and bring hope and help to millions of people in need. The House overwhelmingly approved a vital amendment to provide funding for the USDA Local and Regional Purchase (LRP) program. This would help more people receive U.S. food aid at no additional cost. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.-39), who has been a champion in the House for food-aid reform, led the bipartisan amendment.

Now we have a great opportunity in the Senate. Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) recently introduced a bill that provides needed flexibility to deliver food aid, making the program more efficient.  We need to urge our senators to co-sponsor S. 2421 and help build momentum to pass the bill.

(For those of us who live in New Mexico, here are the numbers for our senators)
Senate Bill 2421 would modernize U.S. food aid by:
  • Increasing flexibility to deliver food aid in the best way possible. In many cases, that means delivering food purchased in the United States, while in other cases buying food locally would be more effective and timely. In still others, the best way to meet the nutritional needs of hungry people would be through the provision of cash transfers or food vouchers.
  • Increasing long-term resilience by ending monetization– the practice of selling food to support development programs, which is incredibly inefficient, often distorts local markets, and can undermine longer-term food-security objectives.
  • Increasing efficiency by removing cargo-preference requirements on food aid. Food aid shipped under cargo preference costs taxpayers 46 percent more, on average, than competitively awarded ocean freight shipments. This legislation will save money and provide the flexibility to ship food without anti-competitive restrictions.
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