Washington Update: Week of May 23


Global Food Security Act/Feed the Future

  • Last Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Senate’s version of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA; S. 1252) with no opposition. Three members spoke in support of the bill: Ed Royce (R-Calif.-39), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.-16), and Joe Wilson (R-S.C.-02).
  • The next step is to get the bill to the House floor for a vote. The earliest this will happen is the week of June 7. There has been some opposition to a vote expressed by key representatives in the House, so we are working with some of the bill’s champions to get the House’s leadership to bring the bill to a vote. We are also working with coalition partners to confirm that we have at least the 290 votes needed to pass the bill under suspension, a legislative procedure that means limited debate time and no amendments accepted.
  • Our outreach is focused on the full House Agriculture Committee, Freedom Caucus members who voted in support of the House version of GFSA, and House leadership. We are also working with coalition partners to support our champions on the Hill as they encourage their colleagues to support the bill.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization

  • Last Wednesday, the House Education and Workforce Committee marked up the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003), the House’s child nutrition reauthorization bill. It passed out of committee by a vote of 20 to 14. All Democrats and 1 Republican voted against the bill.
  • The committee-passed bill included not only harmful policy provisions on community eligibility and verification, but it also added a three-state block grant demonstration project for school meal programs. The demonstration project would replace school lunch, school breakfast, the special milk, and team nutrition programs. Funding would be capped at the amount the state received for these programs in fiscal year 2016. States would have broad discretion in implementing school feeding programs and would not be subject to current laws or regulations on eligibility guidelines or nutrition standards.
  • Overall, the bill makes it more difficult for children to access free school meals and fails to adequately close the summer hunger gap. We continue to urge the House to oppose this bill and to pass a child nutrition bill that connects more hungry children with more nutritious meals.
  • We now wait to see when the full House may consider this bill.

Budget & Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and passed its Agriculture Appropriations bill last week. As a reminder, this bill includes funding for both domestic and international nutrition programs. Highlights:

  • $6.35 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children supplemental nutrition program, which is the same as the president’s request and the 2016 enacted level;
  • $23 million for the summer electronic benefit transfer program to feed low-income children during summer months, which is $3 million below the presidential request;
  • $1.6 billion for Food for Peace, a level $250 million above the president’s request for the international food program.
  • Level funding for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program
  • $10 million for the local and regional food aid procurement program authorized in the farm bill.

Act Now!

Help push the Global Food Security Act over the finish line! Contact your representative by phone (800-826-3688) or email. Urge him/her to support final passage of the Global Food Security Act of 2016 (S. 1252). 


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