WASHINGTON, April 14, 2016 - Members of Congress are on the verge of passing historic legislation that would enshrine President Obama’s $1-billion-a-year Feed the Future initiative into law. The legislation, which the House passed 370-33 Tuesday evening, would require the government to develop a detailed “global food security” strategy for boosting agricultural production and nutrition in targeted poor countries. The Senate could take up a similar version any day.

To get the bill passed in the House, sponsors had to rework it to add provisions to satisfy House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway’s concerns that Feed the Future could be used to change the way the Food for Peace program has traditionally been operated.

Conaway also got provisions included to protect the roles of Agriculture Department and agribusiness stakeholders in the operation of Feed the Future.  Similar provisions were added to the Senate legislation as well.

Conaway has been fighting attempts by the U.S. Agency for International Development to shift Food for Peace from reliance on U.S.-grown commodities. The provisions he got in the bill, which is under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Affairs Committee, include reporting requirements that would separately detail how Food for Peace is contributing to achievements of Feed the Future projects. Another provision is supposed to prevent the bill from being used to make changes in Food for Peace.

"With the world population rapidly increasing - particularly in some of the most impoverished and food insecure regions - it is of critical importance that the United States maintain its position as the world leader in the effort to alleviate global hunger and to enhance food security,” Conaway said.

The House bill (HR 1567) would authorize Feed the Future through fiscal 2017. The Senate measure includes a two-year authorization.


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