March 10, 2016

Corker, Coons Highlight Progress in Reform of U.S. Global Food Aid

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Authorizes Emergency Food Security Program for First Time

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today highlighted progress in their bipartisan effort to fix inefficiencies in the delivery of U.S. global food assistance. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today approved the Global Food Security Act, which contains a first-time authorization for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP). USAID has relied increasingly upon EFSP to avoid constraints that would prevent delivery of emergency food aid through the Food for Peace program.

“This authorization marks important progress in eliminating inefficiencies that prevent us from feeding more people in need around the world more quickly,” said Senator Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Absent flexibilities that exist for emergency assistance, there would be no way to respond in places like Syria where U.S. commodities simply cannot reach. The Emergency Food Security Program represents a model for overall food aid reform, and I am hopeful that with today’s action we will build momentum behind that effort.”

“This bill authorizes the Feed the Future program and sends an important signal about the need to increase flexibility in how we deliver food aid to those who need it most around the world,” said Senator Coons. “I’m grateful to Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, Senator Isakson, and Senator Casey for their leadership in bringing the Global Food Security Act to this point. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to increase food security and save lives when disaster strikes.”

In 2015, nearly half of the $2.1 billion in annual U.S. food aid came from the EFSP. Other non-emergency food assistance is encumbered by various restrictions, including U.S. commodity and cargo preferences, that make emergency food aid too slow, too expensive, or locally inappropriate. The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015, coauthored by Corker and Coons, would eliminate these restraints to free up as much as $440 million annually and allow the U.S. to reach an estimated eight to twelve million more people with food in a shorter time period.