Catalyzing U.S. Leadership on Hunger
By David Beckman on March 1, 2012
© Foreign Service Journal
It was a political development that seemed to come out of left field. In the summer of 2011, just as grim details about the famine in the Horn of Africa began to show up on newsfeeds in industrialized countries, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make significant cuts to international food aid fudning. Perhaps even more surprising was the sizable contingent of House members, 25 percent, who voted to eliminate all funding to provide basic food rations to some of the poorest people in the world.
It's an understatement to say that the past year has been an eventful one in the U.S. Congress and in national politics generally, full of deals, brinksmanship, rhetoric and rumors. At Bread for the World, the grassroots hunger advocacy organization of which I am president, we keep reminding ourselves to keep our eyes on the prize: ending the widespread but unnecessary human suffering that hunger inflicts.
Along with other nongovernmental advocacy groups, we have been urging the 112th Congress to adopt legislation that protects and strengthens what the United States is alreay doing to address the root causes of hunger -- and to break new ground. For instance, funding under Public Law 480 (Food for Peace) literally saves lives. Its impact is much more immediate and direct than much of our other federal spending.
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