April 20, 2016

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

Unanimous Senate Passage of Global Food Security Act Authorizes Emergency Food Security Program for First Time

WASHINGTON – Following unanimous Senate passage of the Global Food Security Act, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and 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 Global Food Security Act, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March, 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.

“Today the Senate made important progress toward eliminating inefficiencies in food aid that waste scarce resources and prevent us from feeding millions more people in need around the world more quickly,” said Senator Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Without the flexibilities that exist for emergency food aid, responding in places like Syria, where U.S. commodities simply cannot reach, would be impossible. The Emergency Food Security Program is the model for overall food aid reform, and I am hopeful that with today’s action we will continue building momentum behind that effort.”

“I'm thrilled the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to take an important step towards achieving sustainable food security for those who need it most around the world,” said Senator Coons. “This bill helps sends an important signal about the need to increase flexibility in how we deliver food aid. Passage of the Global Food Security Act today would not have been possible without the leadership of Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, Senator Isakson, and Senator Casey. Through GFSA, the United States is leading the way to improve food security and promote long-term nutrition for communities in developing countries.  I look forward to working across the aisle in the future to continue to reform the way in which the United States delivers food aid. More flexibility allows us to reach more people at the same cost.”

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.