WASHINGTON, March 18, 2015 – The Obama administration’s ambitious agricultural development initiative known as Feed the Future has never been authorized in law, leaving it with an uncertain future. But supporters are about to renew an effort to provide the $1-billion-a-year program with congressional authorization.
Next week, Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Betty McCollum, D-Minn., will unveil a new version of the Global Food Security Act that they introduced last fall. Instead of the multiyear authorization they originally proposed, the latest draft of the bill would provide just a one-year authorization, according to a congressional source.
The bill was trimmed back to one year in the House Foreign Affairs Committee before passing the House in December during the lame-duck Congress. For supporters a one-year authorization is betting than nothing. Once Feed the Future is in the law, they will work on getting it extended for longer.
Supporters had hoped to push the House-passed measure through the Senate, too, in December, but the legislation got caught up in the change of power there. Bob Corker, who took over as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this year wanted more time to consider the bill, sources say.
Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., is expected to re-introduce a companion version to the Smith-McCollum bill. Johnny Isakson R-Ga., is expected to replace the retired Mike Johanns, R-Neb., as the GOP co-sponsor
Johanns, a former agriculture secretary, remains a champion of Feed the Future. “If we’re really going to make a sustainable difference, then food aid and Feed the Future must be welded together in an inseparable development strategy,” Johanns said at a March 12 forum sponsored by Oxfam America. “Feed the Future needs a permanent place, not only in our hearts, but in our laws.”
Feed the Future represents the U.S. commitment to a G8 effort launched in 2009 in the wake of the global food-price spikes. The initiative, which is operating in 19 countries, has since been expanded through partnerships with companies such as DuPont and Cargill under what is known as the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
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