Cutting Funding For International Food Aid 'Not The Best Answer' To Saving Money In U.S. Budget

In order to “fill food gaps in the 70 most food deficient countries, … the U.S., through the Food for Peace program and other food aid programs, provides approximately two million tons of American-grown food donations to 50 million starving people every year,” James Henry, chair of USA Maritime, writes in an opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” He continues, “This food, delivered on ships proudly flying the U.S. flag in bags stamped ‘From the American People,’ provides a tangible symbol of our generosity that helps generate goodwill toward our nation,” and “we all should agree that our willingness to help others in need is one of our country’s proudest achievements.” Henry writes that though food aid programs account for less than one half of one percent of the federal budget and “impact the lives of millions of hungry people around the world every year,” they “are in jeopardy as some policymakers are considering eliminating funding for international food aid.”

“Congress has already slashed funding for Food for Peace by 41 percent since 2009, and even more cuts have been proposed for the FY 2013 budget,” Henry notes, adding, “It is important to recognize, however, that unlike other foreign aid programs, our food aid donation programs also provide important economic benefits here at home for our farmers and help ensure the vitality of our [U.S. Merchant Marine] and national defense sealift capability.” He concludes, “If Congress is looking to save money in order to help the economy, then cutting to the bone a program that feeds millions while bolstering global security, our economy and our national defense sealift capacity clearly is not the best answer” (6/29).