Washington Update: Week of March 7

Washington Update

Global Food Security Act/Feed the Future

  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider S. 1252, The Global Food Security Act, this Thursday, March 10.
  • The bill is different from the House version in that it authorizes the continued use of the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account to respond to emergency food needs by creating the Emergency Food Response Fund. This fund supports the continued use of response tools, such as cash transfers, food vouchers, and local and regional procurement, to meet the needs of communities effected by human-caused or natural disasters in places like Syria, Yemen, and Nepal. Bread has long argued for more flexibility to use these types of tools. These types of food assistance are used when USAID’s in-kind food aid cannot arrive in time or other forms of assistance are more appropriate due to local market conditions. The program reinforces market linkages in recipient and neighboring countries and can often reach more people faster, more efficiently, and can provide more nutritious value. The bill also maintains IDA’s existing flexibility to ensure the U.S. government can respond appropriately to the challenging and changing needs of vulnerable people affected by disasters. Bread supports this addition.
  •  In the House, GFSA now has 121 co-sponsors. The last co-sponsors added were Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.-02) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.-03). We expect the bill to be filed in the House soon. The earliest we expect the bill to come to the floor for a vote is mid-March. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is still hoping the bill will pass under suspension of the rules, meaning there will be fewer obstacles to the bill passing once it comes to the floor for a vote. The Foreign Affairs Committee is close to agreeing on a final text with the House Agriculture Committee. It seems this may take a while longer. GFSA is still open to co-sponsors until the bill is filed. Bread is particularly targeting Illinois Reps. Darin LaHood (18th) and Peter Roskam (6th) to complete the state’s delegation on co-sponsorship of the bill.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • We continue to wait for the Senate to bring the bill passed by the Agriculture Committee to the floor for a vote and for the House to move forward on possibly introducing its own bill.
  • We continue to track summer meals bills for new cosponsors. The Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015 (H.R.2715, the House Summer EBT bill) has a total of 69 cosponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate. View the full list.
  • The Summer Meals Act of 2015 (S.613/H.R. 1728, to strengthen summer meals programs) has one new cosponsor in the House (Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.) for a total of 87 cosponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate. View the full list.

Budget & Appropriations


  • The Senate Budget Committee announced it would delay consideration of a budget this month, and the House continues to have trouble coming to a consensus on a budget, increasing the odds that one or both chambers will skip developing a budget altogether this year. This doesn’t have to be bad news, as it’s possible for both chambers to allow the Appropriations Committee to use the funding allocations outlined in last year’s budget deal.


  • Reps. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Dennis Ross (R-Florida), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) are leading a bipartisan Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Nutrition letter to House appropriators in support of robust funding for lifesaving programs for women and children globally in fiscal year 2017 (the focus of Bread’s 2016 Offering of Letters).
  • The Senate is expected to have a similar letter, but it has not been launched yet.
  • The MCH and nutrition community, including Bread, is reaching out to offices to sign on to this letter by March 16, particularly previous champions and Republicans in the House. At last count, there were 57 signers.

Act Now!

Help build security for millions of farmers around the world. Contact your members of Congress by phone (800/826-3688) or email. Tell them to cosponsor and pass H.R. 1567/S. 1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2015.

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