Trump abandons plan for new food aid rules: report

Trump abandons plan for new food aid rules: report
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President Trump will not pursue an executive order that would have required all U.S. food aid to be transported on U.S.-flagged ships, Reuters reported Friday.

The news came a day after the outlet reported that the president was planning to issue the executive order, which would have required up to a 100 percent of U.S. food aid to be transported on American ships – up from the current 50 percent requirement.

But critics raised concerns that doing so would have increased the cost of the aid and significantly slowed the amount of time it would take the food to reach the people it is intended to serve.

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Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFreed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela Former US prisoner Josh Holt returns from Venezuela Hatch, Trump say American held in Venezuela returning to US MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement to Reuters on Friday that he spoke with Trump on the matter. 

"As a businessman, he understands that expanding the cargo preference would substantially drive up the cost of food aid and cause more people to starve around the world," he said.

Both Republicans and Democrats have pushed for years to reduce the rule requiring 50 percent of food aid to be transported on U.S.-flagged ships, arguing that doing so drives up the cost and takes longer to reach people in need.

The U.S. spent $2.8 billion on foreign food aid in 2016, according to Reuters, though roughly half of that amount covers shipping and storage costs.