The endorsing organizations listed above applaud bi-partisan legislation introduced yesterday by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA). The Food Aid Reform Act (HR 1983) offers long overdue reforms to the U.S. food assistance program, similar to what was included in the Administration’s FY2014 budget submission to Congress. These reforms—if enacted—mean the U.S. would be able to deliver lifesaving food assistance more quickly, more efficiently and to millions of more hungry people every year with the same taxpayer resources.
Modernizing the FAA is a founding principle of our coalition, and we continue to believe this legislation will make our foreign assistance programs more responsive to current and future challenges and help to ensure that the important steps the Obama Administration has taken to implement these reforms are protected.
This budget reflects a strong commitment to helping the hungry in times of crisis as well as securing long-term food security for the world’s most vulnerable. The reforms the President proposes would make these critical programs more effective and efficient while expanding their reach to millions more people.
This progress could not have come at a better time; budget pressures demand better results, and the Agency will bear greater responsibility at the leading edge of U.S. foreign policy as our military leverage decreases in places like Afghanistan and the greater Middle East.
When 870 million people around the world go hungry every day, making every food aid dollar count is not only a responsible use of taxpayer money, it is a moral imperative. For that reason, it is critical that any reforms seek efficiencies rather than cuts, and do not alter the basic programmatic focus of the U.S. food aid program. These programs help to feed 55 million people in need around the world, supporting both emergency responses and addressing chronic hunger.
The current approach to delivering food aid is outdated and in need of reform. In an era of decreasing budgets, policymakers simply can’t afford not to consider any credible proposal to maximize the impact of taxpayer dollars. We urge the Administration to make its proposal public and include it in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, and we urge Congress to give it careful and complete consideration.
Once given these facts, people quickly moved from being skeptical to supportive and even glad to hear that their tax dollars were helping to bring about such positive change.
Because the bill came so close to becoming law, we are optimistic about its prospects in the 113th Congress and we plan to redouble our efforts to support its passage. We remain grateful for Texas Rep. Ted Poe’s leadership in introducing the bill, and for the support of original co-sponsor Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) and 55 other Members of the House who endorsed the legislation.
In order for this bill to become law, the Senate must act before the end of the 112th Congress. We urge them to pass the bill immediately, and send it to the President for his signature.
We are concerned, however, that the continued consolidation of power over health and development programs in the State Department threatens to undermine our overall efforts to achieve greater impact in alleviating poverty, eradicating disease, and fostering inclusive economic growth. MFAN’s position has been, and remains, that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) should be the lead agency on global health policy and implementation in the field when the programs being implemented have a significant development impact.