April 22, 2016

Bread for the World Statement on House Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C. – Today, Bread for the World expressed concern about the House of Representatives’ the fiscal year 2017 (FY 17) Agriculture Appropriations bill. The legislation would restrict flexibility in providing food aid and includes inaccurate and misleading language about food aid reform. However, Bread believes most of the funding levels in the bill are adequate.                                                                                                       

“While Bread for the World appreciates that appropriators provided adequate levels of funding for both domestic and international food aid programs, we do have some concerns,” said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The bill restricts flexibility in providing food aid assistance, which will undoubtedly cost taxpayers money while putting those we are supposed to be helping at greater risk. We should be increasing the flexibility of food aid, not restricting it.”                                                                                  

Bread believes the committee’s allocations of $1.466 billion for the Food for Peace program, $6.35 billion for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and $21 million for Summer EBT Demonstration Projects are adequate to meet the programs’ needs.

However, Bread is concerned about the lack of flexibility given to USAID as part of funding from Food for Peace. Bread is also concerned about the committee’s refusal to fund the Local and Regional Purchase program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. Also of concern is that language in the bill contains a number of factual inaccuracies about the benefits of food aid reform.

“Numerous studies have found that flexibility in procuring food aid, including purchasing food locally and regionally, significantly reduces costs, increases the number of people reached, and speeds up delivery,” Beckmann said. “Statements to the contrary in the legislation are counterproductive to our country’s interests and only serve to negate the undeniable benefits of food aid reform.”

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