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Obama Right To Propose Food Aid Reform

In the six decades since [President Dwight Eisenhower kicked off the program that would become known as Food for Peace], global food aid has generated sales for U.S. farmers, business for U.S.-flagged cargo vessels and jobs for U.S. seamen,” a Washington Post editorial states. “In this sense, the United States is no different from many countries that use foreign assistance to bolster domestic industries. But, over time, U.S. food aid has tilted too far in that direction, and too many dollars ostensibly devoted to helping the poor overseas are instead subsidizing special interests in this country,” the newspaper continues, adding, “Fortunately, President Obama’s budget for fiscal 2014 includes a plan to modernize and reform the $1.5 billion U.S. food aid program.” The editorial describes several of the proposed changes and notes, “Obama’s sensible suggestions have bipartisan support in Congress,” but “those who benefit from the status quo,” such as merchant-marine unions and members of Congress from farming states, “are pushing back.” The editorial concludes, “U.S. farmers are already heavily subsidized and prospering … Obama is right to want to supply [food aid] as quickly and cost-effectively as possible” (4/18).