Members Of Congress Skeptical Over Proposal To Shift Food Aid Funds From Agriculture To USAID

“A proposal by the Obama administration to overhaul the international food aid program has set off a jurisdictional fight among members of several House and Senate committees, threatening to derail the most significant change to the program since it was created nearly 60 years ago,” the New York Times reports. Under the $1.4 billion annual program, the U.S. “provides over half of the world’s food aid,” the newspaper notes. The New York Times focuses on the proposal’s plan to shift food aid money from the Department of Agriculture’s budget to the foreign affairs budget, where it would be controlled by USAID. “The reorganization would also mean that Congressional oversight of the program would shift from the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on agriculture to the appropriations subcommittees on foreign operations,” the newspaper adds. “Budget experts say Mr. Obama’s proposal will be a tough sell in Congress, where committee members can be parochial and rarely want to give up control of programs,” the newspaper writes and discusses the positions of several members of Congress. “While it is common for committees to allow agencies to move money from one account to another, experts said it was rare for Congressional appropriators to move money and oversight of a program from one agency to another,” the New York Times states (Nixon, 5/2).

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