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H.R. 2997 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law No: 111-080)

The 2010 agriculture appropriations bill approved on September 30, 2009 by the House-Senate Conference Committee includes $1.69 billion for international food aid through the P.L. 480 Title II Grants Program and an additional $209.5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Additionally, the bill provides funds “for research to develop new food aid products to provide higher nutritional content to food aid recipients . . . [and provides guidance] . . . to the Secretary to improve audit systems for maintaining the quality of food aid commodities and to generally improve the efficiencies of administering food aid programs.”

Relevant Amendments:

- The Senate passed by a voice vote an amendment (S.AMDT.2253) introduced by Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and co-sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) “to require a report on the status of the reorganization of the Foreign Agricultural Service and future plans to modify office structures.” (August 3, 2009)

- The Senate passed by a voice vote an amendment (S.AMDT.2229) introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “to establish within the Food and Drug Administration two review groups to recommend solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of rare diseases and neglected diseases of the developing world.” (August 3, 2009)

Timeline of the bill:

- The House Committee on Appropriations approved by voice vote a draft version of the 2010 agriculture appropriations bill on June 18, 2009.

- Introduced, referred to the House Committee on Appropriations, reported on by the committee, and placed on the Union Calendar on June 23, 2009.

- The bill was passed by the House (266-160) on July 9, 2009.

- The bill was received in the Senate and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders (Calendar No. 105) on July 10, 2009.

- The bill was passed with amendments by the Senate (80-17) and referred to a House-Senate Conference Committee on August 4, 2009.

- The House disagreed with the version of the bill as amended by the Senate and agreed to refer the bill to a House-Senate Conference Committee on September 29, 2009.

- The House-Senate Conference Committee met, approved the bill (with changes), and submitted a conference report on September 30, 2009.

- The House approved (263-162) the House-Senate Conference Committee Report on October 7, 2009.

- The Senate approved (76-22) the House-Senate Conference Committee Report on October 8, 2009.

- The President signed the bill into law (Public Law No: 111-080) on October 21, 2009.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on World Food Day

In observance of World Food Day, Secretary Clinton stated that “fighting hunger and poverty through sustainable agricultural development . . . is a key foreign policy objective of the Obama Administration” and that the Administration is “committed to working with our partners across sectors on this issue for the long haul.”

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight

In an effort to inform the discussion on the Administration’s plans to develop a “new global approach to hunger,” GAO summarized and evaluated previous food assistance reports with the objectives of “(1) updat[ing] U.S. agencies’ responses to GAO’s previous international food assistance recommendations and (2) identif[ing] potential oversight questions for Congressional consideration.” As a result of this evalution, the GAO “identified five issues for Congressional consideration to ensure more efficient and effective international food assistance: (1) coordination and integration, (2) needs assessments and market information, (3) transportation and logistics, (4) nutrition and food quality control, and (5) monitoring and evaluation.”

GAO Report – International Food Assistance: USAID Is Taking Actions to Improve Monitoring and Evaluation of Nonemergency Food Aid, but Weaknesses in Planning Could Impede Efforts

In this report, which was mandated by Congress in passage of the Food for Peace Act in 2008, GAO “reviews (1) USAID’s plans and actions to improve its monitoring and evaluation of nonemergency food aid programs and (2) the extent to which USAID has integrated its monitoring and evaluation of nonemergency food aid with program management.”

PEPFAR, USAID, and General Mills announce partnership to improve food processing in Africa

During the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, PEPFAR and USAID announced a partnership with General Mills to “improve the capacity of small and medium-sized food businesses across sub-Saharan Africa to produce healthy, fortified food products.”

In a press release about the partnership, Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, stated that “if PEPFAR HIV/AIDS programs and broader health and development efforts are going to be sustainable, they must be owned and led by partner countries . . . This partnership with General Mills and USAID will support local food companies to help meet the nutritional needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, while bringing health benefits to the larger population through improved nutrition and broader economic development.”

President Obama discusses U.S. global health and food security strategies at Clinton Global Initiative

During a speech at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama summarized the U.S. global health strategy as “building on successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS and working to end deaths from malaria and TB and to end polio.” The President stated that “these efforts will only be sustained if we improve the capacity of public health systems to deliver care, especially for mothers and children.” Finally, the President stated that new U.S. investments in food security would focus on sharing “new methods and technologies so that countries and communities can become more self-sufficient.”

Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar urge President Obama to nominate USAID Administrator

In a letter to President Obama, Senator Kerry and Senator Lugar urged the President to “nominate an Administrator for USAID expeditiously” stating that “efforts to support a bold foreign assistance reform and development agenda are hampered by a leadership vacuum at the U.S. Agency for International Development.”

H.R. 3560 – 21st Century Global Health Technology Act

The proposed bill would establish the “Health Technology Program” within USAID to “develop, advance, and introduce affordable, available, and appropriate technologies specifically designed: a) to improve the health and nutrition of developing country populations; b) to reduce maternal and child mortality; and c) to improve the diagnosis, prevention and reduction of disease, especially HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other major diseases.” The bill requires that program funding be provided by USAID on a competitive basis and that the USAID Administrator provide an annual report to Congress on the progress and outlook of the program. Finally, the bill authorizes the appropriation of $5 million for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014.

USAID releases “Report to Congress – The USAID Strategic Plan for Microbicide Research and Development: Current Initiatives and Next Generation Leads”

This report summarizes USAID’s microbicide research and development programs including past efforts and current priorities. The report also details the objectives of USAID’s strategic plan for continued microbicide research and development.

USAID releases “Report to Congress: Health-Related Research and Development Activities at USAID, An Updated on the Five Year Strategy, 2006-2010″

USAID released “Report to Congress: Health-Related Research and Development Activities at USAID, An Updated on the Five Year Strategy, 2006-2010.” The report provides an update on USAID’s “strategy for using research funds to stimulate the development and introduction of key products” and highlights research in the following areas: maternal and newborn health; child, environmental, and urban health; nutrition; reproductive health and family planning; HIV/AIDS; malaria; tuberculosis; and health systems strengthening.