Action: Call your senator today and ask him or her to co-sponsor the Food for Peace Reform Act (S.2421).

Background: Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) have recently introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to modernize the Food for Peace Act, one of the programs through which the U.S. government provides emergency food aid overseas. The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014 will:

  • Increase efficiency by removing cargo preference requirement – a current law requiring 50 percent of donated food aid to be shipped on American-flagged vessels. This bill would provide flexibility to ship on vessels that are competitively available. Studies have shown that removing the cargo preference requirement will save approximately $50 million per year and reduce delivery time.
  • Increase flexibility and cost-effectiveness by allowing the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to buy food locally or in surrounding regions, or provide vouchers or cash transfers for food purchases.
  • End monetization – a practice in which the U.S. government donates food commodities purchased in the U.S. to non-governmental organizations who then sell the food in-country to raise funds for their development programs. Monetization is damaging to local economies because it forces local farmers to compete with food aid commodities that are often cheaper. It is also cost-inefficient. The USAID estimates that eliminating monetization would free up an estimated $30 million per year, which could feed an additional 800,000 people.

Faith Reflection: In the book of James, we are reminded that faith without good deeds is nothing. By speaking up in support of these critical reforms, we are setting our faith into action.

Action: Call your senator today and ask him or her to co-sponsor the Food for Peace Reform Act (S.2421).

Alert prepared by Patricia Kisare, Legislative Associate for International Affairs, September 2, 2014.

The MCC U.S. Washington Office High School Essay Contest is accepting entries until January 23, 2015. Encourage Anabaptist youth to participate.