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House Panel Rejects Changes To Food Aid Program Proposed By Obama Administration

“The House of Representatives panel in charge of agricultural funding rejected on Wednesday the Obama administration’s request for a sweeping change to food aid programs that have been in place since the Cold War,” Reuters reports. “It was the second defeat in three days for the White House budget proposal to use up to 45 percent of funding for Food for Peace, the major U.S. food aid program, to buy food from nations near hunger zones instead of American-grown food,” the news agency writes, noting, “The White House in April proposed shifting Food for Peace funding to an international affairs panel and to make large purchases of food from suppliers closer to famine areas, so-called local and regional purchasing. Funds also could be used for food vouchers.”

“The House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture on Wednesday opted to keep Food for Peace under its control, and at the same time cut the program by 20 percent to $1.15 billion for the next fiscal year,” according to Reuters, which adds, “The Senate voted on Monday to allow a small increase — $20 million — in local food purchase by [USAID] but otherwise rejected the administration package.” Reuters notes, “Although the farm bills pending in the House and Senate would also keep Food for Peace in its current form, the administration still has a few chances to win its way” (Abbott, 6/5).