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Washington, D.C. –Bread for the World is celebrating a victory in Congress today that benefits people who are hungry around the world through U.S. food aid. Congress passed a bill funding the Coast Guard for 2015 that rolled back proposals to increase subsidies to the world’s largest shipping companies to ship U.S. food aid.
“This is the fruit of faithful, persistent advocacy,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “We have been working hard on U.S. food aid issues through our partnerships and our Offering of Letters campaign this year. In that work, were able to ensure that money for U.S. food aid goes to feed people in need and not line the pockets of a few shipping companies.”
The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014 originally introduced by the House last spring sought to increase the percentage of food aid that is shipped on American vessels from 50 percent to 75 percent. This change would have increased transportation costs for U.S. food aid by $75 million annually. It also would have resulted in at least 2 million vulnerable people losing access to life-saving food aid from the United States.
“It was immoral to increase subsidies that have been shown to be ineffective,” said Beckmann. “They only create hurdles in helping families around the globe who are hungry, especially given the number of current food-security emergencies in the Middle East and Africa.”
Thanks to advocacy efforts by Bread for the World members and others, the bill that passed yesterday, deals with Coast Guard issues only and leaves out any changes related to food aid and its transport.
“This is a great win for us, but we must remain vigilant and continue to hold our leaders accountable. We must ensure that resources set aside for food aid go to the 805 million undernourished people around the world and not to a few shipping companies” concluded Beckmann.
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