The letter was signed by the chairmen of the Agriculture and Agricultural appropriations panels – Sens. Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowA guide to the committees: Senate Trump's pick to lead Medicare won't say if she supports negotiating prices with drug companies Overnight Finance: Fed chief tries to stay above partisan fray | Bill would eliminate consumer agency | Trump signs repeal of SEC rule on foreign payments MORE (D-Mich.) and Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.) – and by ranking members Thad CochranThad CochranA guide to the committees: Senate Mulvaney sworn in as White House budget chief Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (R-Miss.) and Roy BluntRoy BluntA guide to the committees: Senate Judiciary Committee wants briefing, documents on Flynn resignation Intel Dem: House GOP now open to investigating Flynn MORE (R-Mo.), as well as by Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiMikulski on Warren flap: Different rules apply to women It's not just Trump's Cabinet but Congress lacks diversity The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Md).
“When President Eisenhower signed into law legislation authorizing the program, he explained that the purpose was to 'lay the foundation for a permanent expansion of our exports of agricultural products with lasting benefits to ourselves and peoples of other lands',” they wrote. “This program has been instrumental in linking rural America and the U.S. agriculture and transportation industries to communities in the developing world while building greater awareness and support at home for the needs of the poor, hungry and disenfranchised around the world.”
Critics say the program is a Cold War relic that's only harming poor countries by flooding their markets with artificially cheap U.S. food. They point to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report that found that the government could save $219 million over three years by giving NGOs cash instead of food to sell.
Obama's proposal would move the Food for Peace program from the Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Agency for International Development, setting up a turf war on Capitol Hill. While most of the funding would still be used to buy U.S. food, the budget gives the agency the flexibility to use food aid funding to “purchase food from markets near crises, or for interventions such as cash transfers and vouchers.”
The budget would reallocate $75 million for a new “Emergency Food Assistance Contingency Fund to address above-trend emergency food needs.” And it would allocate $25 million to the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration for subsidies for “militarily useful vessels and incentives to facilitate the retention of mariners.”