The 2023 farm bill should reverse the international trend toward cash donations for hunger relief, said the North American Millers Association on Thursday. In a three-page list of farm bill priorities, NAMA said it supports putting “the food back into food aid” programs.
For the second time in 14 months, President Trump announced a multibillion-dollar government intervention to prop up the farm sector, a prominent casualty of the Sino-U.S. trade war. The first bailout, announced in April 2018, has sent around $8.3 billion in cash to growers so far; the new rescue will buy "agricultural products from our Great Farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance," the president said on social media.
The Food for Peace program, created during the Cold War to alleviate hunger overseas, would see $1.7 billion in funding in the new fiscal year, a Senate Appropriations subcommittee decided on Tuesday, ignoring a White House proposal to mothball the program.
The Food for Peace program, created during the Cold War to relieve hunger overseas through the donation of U.S.-produced food, would be mothballed by the Trump administration in its fiscal 2019 budget. In its place, the State Department would provide emergency food aid through a smaller-ticket disaster assistance office that is expected to be thriftier and fleeter of foot.
A House Appropriations panel voted unanimously to keep two U.S. food aid programs in operation, albeit with less money, rather than eliminate them as proposed by President Trump. The subcommittee also rejected most of Trump’s plan to terminate rural water, housing, and business development programs.
With the big budget battle in another arena, House appropriators proposed steady-as-you go funding for the USDA and FDA in the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. President Trump has proposed cutting food stamps by 25 percent and crop insurance by 36 percent.
Even among America First lawmakers, there is little appetite for President Trump's proposals to eliminate programs providing $1.8 billion a year in food aid overseas. Members of the House Agriculture Committee defended the six-decade-old Food for Peace program, the largest of U.S. food aid program, during a hearing where questions veered toward how to improve the programs rather than building a case for termination.