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Congress Members' Letter to President Obama on Food for Peace Program, April 2013

Published April 5, 2013

Twenty-eight representatives signed a letter on April 5, 2013, to President Obama, regarding the White House budget proposal's changes to the Food for Peace Program.

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to affirm our strong support for the continuation in its current form of the "Food for Peace" program created by Public Law 480, and we ask that you maintain level funding for this program in the budget request you present to Congress for the Department of Agriculture for fiscal year 2014.

Since 1954, Food for Peace has enabled the United States to play a leading role in responding to international food assistance needs and ensuring global food security. In recent years, Title II of Food for Peace, which is administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has become the largest vehicle for U.S. international food aid shipments. Under Title II, U.S. agricultural commodities are shipped to developing countries to provide emergency relief to those facing food shortages and to support broader development objectives. In fiscal year 2011, Food for Peace donated approximately 1.5 million metric tons of U.S.-grown Title II emergency and development food aid to more than 46 million food-insecure people in 48 countries including Kenya, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.

Food for Peace is also critical to supporting employment among U.S. farmers and merchant mariners. The purchase of food from U.S. farmers and its subsequent shipment on U.S.-flagged vessels has helped support U.S. farm production and preserve the U.S. merchant marine. Reductions in funding for this program – or changes in how it operates – would significantly reduce the amount of U.S. farm products our nation could provide to those in need around the world. It would also threaten our national security preparedness by reducing the domestic sealift capacity on which our U.S. military depends.

We look forward to working with you to support U.S. farms, U.S. jobs, the U.S.-flagged merchant fleet, and our nation's ability to provide much needed humanitarian and emergency food assistance to the world's least-developed countries by maintaining the Food for Peace Program.

Sincerely,

Elijah E. Cummings
Duncan Hunter
John Garamendi
Nick J. Rahall, II
Corrine Brown
Charles W. Boustany, Jr.
Janice Hahn
Gary G. Miller
Linda T. Sánchez
Michael M. Honda
Frank A. LoBiondo
Renee L. Ellmers
Marcy Kaptur
David P. Joyce
Tom Latham
Alan S. Lowenthal
Gerald E. Connolly
Stephen Lee Fincher
Bob Gibbs
Michael G. Grimm
Marcia L. Fudge
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Don Young
Richard M. Nolan
Cedric L. Richmond
Rick Larsen
Cheri Bustos
Kathy Castor
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Sheila Jackson Lee

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