Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252).  Without increasing spending, this bipartisan legislation ensures that current disaster relief funding will be spent more efficiently and transparently.  The Global Food Security Act, which is critical to U.S. efforts to respond to desperate humanitarian situations in the Middle East and Africa, now heads to President Obama’s desk.

On the House floor last night, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks in support of the bill (as prepared for delivery):

The Global Food Security Act, led by Representatives Smith and McCollum, establishes clear priorities for and enhances the transparency of existing yet unauthorized food security and disaster assistance programs.

  • It authorizes, for the first time in 30 years, International Disaster Assistance – the essential humanitarian account that provides everything from tents and sheeting to water and medicine for people affected by conflict and natural disasters.
  • It authorizes, for the first time, the Emergency Food Security Program – the flexible, efficient, and effective food aid program that helps refugees when and where they need it most, so they won’t be forced to seek refuge in Europe or beyond.
  • Finally, with an eye toward the future, it advances policies that will improve food security, stimulate economic growth, and better enable people to grow their own way out of poverty, so they will no longer have to depend upon U.S. foreign assistance.

And it does this all without increasing spending.

The legislation before us is the product of more than three years of careful deliberation and inclusive negotiations.  The Foreign Affairs Committee has held multiple hearings on food security.  We marked and reported not one, but two earlier versions, H.R. 5656 and H.R. 1567.  The House passed each of those bills with broad bipartisan support.

 S. 1252 maintains all of the provisions the House previously approved while filling a critical gap.  By adding International Disaster Assistance and the Emergency Food Security Program, S. 1252 brings the bill full circle and enables Congress to conduct effective oversight of the full range of international food security programs: from disaster, to resilience, to development, to trade. At the same time, it adds even more transparency requirements so we can eliminate duplication and waste.

I want to thank Mr. Smith for his leadership on this important legislation, and urge Members to help get it to the President’s desk without further delay.