Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
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Foreign aid is important

By Beth Reilly on August 22, 2009
© Frederick News-Post

In a letter to the editor in Sunday's Washington Post, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., expressed concern for inefficiency and lack of coordination in American foreign assistance programs. The Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act, which he and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., recently introduced with bipartisan co-sponsors, including our own Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., is an effort to improve our foreign aid.

Supporters of this legislation understand that while we face our challenges here in the United States, we cannot forget the devastating effects of the global food crisis on the world's poor people. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, an estimated 100 million more people than last year have been pushed into chronic hunger and poverty. Furthermore, Director-General Jacques Diouf has described this "silent hunger crisis" as a threat to peace and security.

Because effective foreign assistance is critical in both reducing poverty and in bringing greater stability to our world, reform to improve U.S. assistance should be a priority. There is also a foreign aid reform bill in the House, HR 2139, the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009.

I hope that our Rep. Roscoe Bartlett will also see the significant value in foreign assistance reform and will add his name to the 100 co-sponsors of HR 2139.

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