Food Aid Coordination, Funding At Issue During Budget Season

March 19, 2010 Bookmark and Share

NAWG, U.S. Wheat Associates and other members of an ad hoc food aid coalition submitted for the record this week their comments on funding levels and priorities for FY2011.

The coalition told Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and other Members of the House Appropriations Committee’s agriculture subcommittee that its members support sustained funding for PL-480 Title I and II and oppose any effort to divert funding away from them.

The group said, in part:

“Our in-kind food aid programs are needed now more than at any time in their history. Hunger is a powerful and destabilizing force, and America faces a convergence of terrorist and other security threats from failed and unstable states that feed on ill will toward our nation…

“U.S. food aid programs not only further our humanitarian and food security goals by allowing Americans to contribute to the needy in a tangible way, but the programs also provide stable jobs for Americans.”

The coalition specifically supported:

  • full-funding of Title II at $2.5 billion, which is consistent with FY2009 and FY2009 appropriations levels;
  • restoring Title I levels to achieve the efficiencies of the program; and
  • increasing funding for the McGovern-Dole program.

The comments were submitted in advance of an anticipated hearing of the agriculture subcommittee to consider FY2011 funding.

That subcommittee also met March 11 to hear testimony on a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report examining what kind of food security programs the federal government undertakes and how it funds them, as well as progress toward developing a government-wide plan for coordinating those efforts.

The report found seven agencies directing at least $5 billion to food security efforts in FY2008, with half of that going to food aid. But, the report also found there are likely significant discrepancies in that data due to a lack of a common definition of food security among implementing agencies and standard methods of tracking and reporting food security functions.

Though the March 11 hearing focused on the GAO’s findings, DeLauro did make critical comments about the Administration’s proposal to freeze funding levels for PL-480, Title II and the McGovern-Dole program, noting that more than one billion people around the world suffer from hunger.

For the full GAO report, please visit http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10352.pdf.

To read the coalition’s full communication, please visit www.wheatworld.org/foodaid.