Chairman Bishop Statement at Hearing on International Food Assistance Programs at USDA and USAID

2019-09-25 10:02

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA), Chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on international food assistance programs at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID): 

The Subcommittee will come to order.

Good morning and welcome to today’s hearing.

This morning we are examining the international food assistance programs funded by this Subcommittee. Within USDA, food assistance and agricultural development are provided by the McGovern Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program and the Food for Progress Program. Within USAID, food assistance funding is provided by the Food for Peace Title II program.

We have two witnesses to help us understand all aspects of these programs, from the 30,000 foot view of strategic planning to the on-the-ground realities of project execution.  

I’d like to welcome Ken Isley, the Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service at USDA, and Trey Hicks, the Director of the Office of Food for Peace at USAID to the Subcommittee. The programs under each of your purview are multifaceted and cover much more than just food assistance and agricultural development. We look forward to hearing about what you do, how you do it, and how we can help you achieve your future goals.

I thank you both for being here and look forward to a robust discussion about these vital programs.

Now, before we begin, I recognize that we are here this morning to discuss the operations and implementation of USDA and USAID international food assistance programs but I would be remiss if I did not bring up the lack of support these programs receive from the current Administration. As I have said before, the Administration’s proposed elimination of these programs is shortsighted and ignores their value as an essential tool for diplomacy. That’s why the House mark rejects the proposed elimination and instead funds McGovern Dole and Food for Peace at $2 billion, well above last year’s enacted level.

Now, moving on, while the various goals of each of these programs may differ, their overall mission is the same: alleviate hunger and improve food security around the world.

It is my hope that today’s discussion will help shed a light on how these programs achieve their missions, what are the various challenges they face, and how they measure success. Additionally, while today we are discussing food assistance and these programs, they are not the only tools the United States has at its disposal for combating food insecurity around the globe. I am also interested in how these programs fit within a broader national strategy for international food assistance.

Our farmers, ranchers, and producers don’t just feed our own nation, they help feed the world. The commodities we send abroad are a gift from the American people and it is our duty to ensure this generosity is treated with great care to make the most positive impact around the world that we can.       

I want to thank all our witnesses for being with us today, and I look forward to today’s discussion.

116th Congress