U.S.-based NGOs Applaud Passage of Coast Guard Legislation that Maintains Efficiencies in U.S. International Food Aid Program

The organizations listed below strongly support the exclusion of harmful provisions for U.S. international food aid programs from the recently passed Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014. The amended legislation sustains recent efficiency gains in U.S. international food aid programs. Provisions included in the original legislation would have negatively impacted crucial U.S. international food aid programs and their beneficiaries.  Thankfully, these provisions were not included in the bill that ultimately passed the House and Senate.

Section 318 of the original bill, H.R. 4005, would have increased from 50 to 75 percent the portion of U.S.-sourced food aid commodities that must be transported on privately owned, U.S.-flagged commercial vessels, increasing transportation costs by $75 million. Sections 316 of H.R. 4005 and 321 of H.R. 5769 would have allowed the Secretary of Transportation to apply cargo preference rules on international food aid programs run by other departments and agencies without their expert consultation, severely limiting transparency and oversight of cargo preference enforcement.

The exclusion of these harmful provisions from final legislation preserves recent improvements in U.S. international food aid programs, ensuring at least 2 million vulnerable people will not lose access to life-saving food aid from the United States. Additionally, it ensures departments and organizations implementing food aid programs will continue to be consulted on application of cargo preference rules and allowed to provide valuable insight on how those rules might impact program implementation.

The organizations listed below thank all members of Congress who worked to exclude those provisions that would have been harmful to international food aid programs. We thank the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees for moving forward with legislation that does not negatively impact lifesaving food aid programs.

We extend a special thank you to food aid champions Senators Corker and Coons, and Representatives Royce and Engel, for their continued, tireless work to ensure international food aid programs reach the maximum number of people in need in the most effective way possible.

With 805 million people around the world going hungry every day, every dollar of food aid must be used responsibly and effectively. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to strengthen U.S. food aid, sustaining the United States’ leading role as a compassionate provider of international food assistance to those in need around the world.

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