Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today released the following statement regarding the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 introduced by the Senate Agriculture Committee. The statement can be attributed to Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World:
“We are grateful to the Senate Agriculture Committee for their continued bipartisan support of U.S. international food assistance programs, both for emergency relief and long-term development. We are also thankful the committee rejected the broad, sweeping cuts to domestic nutrition assistance that would harm kids, families, the elderly, people with disabilities, and hard-working individuals.
“While the economy is getting better for some, millions of working families are still not able to make ends meet. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that food prices will likely rise over the next ten years, meaning it will become more challenging for low-income families to purchase healthy food. We are disappointed this bill did not strengthen SNAP benefits to reflect the rising cost of a healthy diet. However, we are pleased to see the inclusion of grants for the produce prescription program, a program Bread for the World highlighted in our 2016 Hunger Report, ‘The Nourishing Effect: Ending Hunger, Improving Health, Reducing Inequality.’
“We also welcome the strong funding provided for vital international programs that signify Congress’ continued commitment to addressing global hunger and malnutrition, along with the positive steps toward making food aid programs more efficient and expanding their reach to more people. The bill makes key reforms to eliminate the requirement to sell U.S. food commodities overseas to pay for life-saving food and nutrition security programs. It also allows the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program more flexibility to purchase from local farmers and food markets. We are very encouraged by these efforts and look forward to further modernizing assistance to ensure U.S. food aid reaches recipients faster and is a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”
“We thank Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow and their staff for working together to draft a bipartisan farm bill. We hope the House will follow the Senate’s lead and draft a bipartisan bill that will help end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.”
Bread for the World’s 2018 Hunger Report, ‘The Jobs Challenge: Working to End Hunger by 2030,’ provides lawmakers with a menu of policies that would improve job opportunities for low-income workers so they can earn enough to no longer need nutrition assistance. Some of the recommendations in this report have bipartisan support and could become law in the next Congress.