Let’s not roll back bipartisan progress on global food security
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One year ago this month, members of Congress put aside party politics and took action to support millions living in extreme poverty.

The Global Food Security Act, a bill sponsored by Sens. Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonProgressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa Overnight Health Care: Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by T | Trump proposes removing FDA authority over tobacco | Lawmakers frustrated by lack of emergency funds for coronavirus Anti-abortion group backs Loeffler's election campaign after opposing her Senate appointment MORE (R-Ga.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students Trump under pressure to renew last nuke treaty with Russia Celebrating and expanding upon five years of the ABLE  Act MORE (D-Pa.) and Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), passed on July 6, 2016 and was sent to the president’s desk for signature. The legislation authorized an agriculture development initiative to help alleviate global poverty and hunger in developing countries. The Act called for a comprehensive whole-of-government approach to global food and nutrition security, prioritized transparency and accountability in all programs, and recognized the critical role that women play in agriculture, nutrition and household food security.

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Over 120,000 Global Citizens took actions online to help support the legislation. After the bill was signed into law, the eleven federal agencies that have a role within Feed the Future collaborated on a Global Food Security Strategy. The strategy outlines several significant changes to the Feed the Future Initiative.

Significantly, resilience was elevated to a full objective of the program to help ensure that unforeseen events do not derail progress toward reaching a world without hunger. With the new strategy in place, USAID has welcomed civil society to input into the selection of performance monitoring indicators. The country selection process is expected to be finalized soon.

Laws like the Global Food Security Act are strong examples of bipartisan efforts to help modernize America’s foreign assistance programs. But, these efforts to make government more efficient could be nullified should the draconian cuts to foreign assistance proposed by the White House this May be enacted.

In budget recommendations submitted to Congress, the White House called for 32 percent cuts to foreign assistance. Cuts of this nature would have a devastating impact on programs like Feed the Future that help to address global agricultural development. The initiative has helped nearly 7 million smallholder farmers and producers to improve their crop yields since being launched in 2009. The program has reached 12.5 million children with nutrition programs. The initiative has seen particularly strong results in Rwanda, Senegal and Malawi.

The White House has frequently made the case that other countries should take on the burden of global development and humanitarian response. Earlier this month, leaders from the twenty most powerful countries in the world attended the 2017 G20 meetings in Hamburg, Germany. Though 20 million people in Yemen, north-east Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan are facing starvation due to conflict and drought, food and nutrition security was not on the G20 agenda in any meaningful way. The imminent need for famine response and increased investment in food security initiatives that can promote resilience and prevent future disasters is profoundly clear. Yet the G20 hasn’t had the political will to tackle this issue.

As one of the largest national donors to global food security initiatives, the United States must continue to lead. Rejecting President Trump’s cuts to foreign aid is a critical first step. From Des Moines to Dallas, advocates in all parts of the country have taken 283,054 actions to demonstrate to policymakers that foreign assistance saves lives, builds economies, and keeps us safe here at home. Now, it is time for Congress to heed their call.

Judith Rowland is U.S. Policy and Advocacy Manager at Global Citizen


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.