Support for Bipartisan Food Aid Reform Escalates

National Farmers Union, NGOs, Think Tanks, Editorial Boards Speak Out

Washington, D.C. U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, along with Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), is leading the bipartisan effort to reform food aid to feed more people, more quickly, at a lower cost.  Following a reform proposal by President Obama, Royce and Bass introduced food aid reform legislationThis week, Royce and Engel intend to offer a food aid reform amendment to the farm bill to be considered by the House.  The National Farmers Union, NGOs, think tanks, editorial boards, and others across the country are speaking out in support of these reform initiatives:

“If ever there was an issue on which big-hearted humanitarians and tightfisted fiscal hawks should find common purpose, food-aid reform is it. Millions around the world are counting on us.” – Wall Street Journal – Josh Bolten and John Podesta

“At a time of such urgent human need and budget constraint, reforms that enable us to reach more hungry people while saving taxpayer dollars … are the right choice.” – National Farmers Union

“[I]t is a reform that encourages free market principles, improves government efficiency, saving lives, and lower costs while still providing expanding services to those in need. Opposition to the reforms comes from special interests. – Andrew Natsios, former USAID administrator (at June 12 Foreign Affairs Committee hearing) 

“Greater flexibility in our food aid system would allow the U.S. to employ the right tool at the right time when responding to crises…Greater efficiency in our food aid system would enable the U.S. to reach more people in a time of fiscal constraints…[G]reater impact is achieved by ultimately reaching more people with nutritious food assistance.” – Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture (at June 12 Foreign Affairs Committee hearing)

“Overall, the administration estimates that the proposal would allow roughly the same level of funds for food aid to reach an additional 4 million people, and do so more quickly in emergencies…” – Center for Global Development

“Congress should support and expand the reforms directed at improving the efficiency of America’s food aid programs, while rejecting the proposed retention of purchase requirements for U.S. food and subsidies for U.S. shipping.” – The Heritage Foundation

“The bottom line: If we are going to try to help the poor through government programs, let’s make sure those programs are designed to help the poor, not special interest groups.” – Cato Institute

“These smart policy reforms will not only save the US taxpayer money, but also ensure that when millions of lives are on the line due to a shortage of food, the generosity of the American people will reach more people, more quickly, at lower cost. Representatives Royce and Bass have submitted a timely and welcome proposal to address current inefficiencies in our nation’s food assistance program, and we urge Congress to enact these reforms.” – ONE Campaign

“Let’s take a stand and make sure US citizens encourage their members of Congress to support modernizing America’s food aid system to provide maximum value for taxpayers while feeding as many hungry people as possible.” – CARE USA

“The proposed reforms can help get food aid to hungry people faster, cheaper, and more efficiently without sacrificing the important benefits US aid provides to people in need – we can save millions more lives, without spending a dime. It’s a no-brainer.” – Oxfam America

“Chairman Royce and Representative Bass’s plan is a balanced approach to delivering food assistance and maximizing efficiencies.” – The American Jewish World Service, Bread for the World, CARE, MFAN, Oxfam America, Save the Children

“MFAN applauds the introduction of this strong reform legislation by Chairman Royce and Rep. Bass and urges other members of Congress to work with them in passing needed changes to our food aid system. When budgets are under severe strain and global hunger afflicts so many, we cannot afford to delay these important reforms.” – Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“Anyone who has taken a serious look at the issue seems to agree that the current system for delivering food aid is just this side of crazy …In a nutshell, these reforms would make food aid more flexible and efficient by purchasing a higher percentage of food aid closer to where it is actually needed.” – Center for American Progress

“Food aid can help to lift developing nations out of poverty, promote political stability and economic growth. It must be structured efficiently to achieve its objective. … Reforming food aid would enable America to do justice to a large taxpayer outlay — and to save lives.” – Chicago Tribune – Editorial Board

“The United States is the only donor that still gives food rather than cash… Mr. Obama’s proposed reforms will feed more people for the same amount the United States spends now. There is no excuse for not putting them into effect.” – New York Times – Editorial Board

“Too many dollars ostensibly devoted to helping the poor overseas are instead subsidizing special interests in this country…The people who have a legitimate claim on the American taxpayer’s aid are the hungry millions overseas.” – Washington Post – Editorial Board