News Releases

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Committee Advances Isakson-Casey Bill to Combat Global Hunger, Bolster U.S. National Security

'Global Food Security Act' strengthens Feed the Future Initiative to better coordinate agricultural development programs, more aggressively tackle chronic hunger abroad

WASHINGTON – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today passed legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Bob Casey, D-Penn., that aims to address global hunger and bolster U.S. national security.

 The Global Food Security Act of 2016 was unanimously adopted by voice vote during a committee markup today. The legislation now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

 Said Isakson before today’s committee vote: “Food security is critical. One in eight people around the world go to sleep in hunger. It’s in the interest of the United States’ national security for people to not be hungry and to be economically self-sufficient. This bill coordinates all the U.S. assistance programs to ensure we meet the goals of the United States and we work to help people from dependence to self-sufficiency around the world so food insecurity is no longer an issue.”

 Senator Isakson’s remarks in support of this legislation can be viewed online here.

 The Global Food Security Act is co-sponsored by Senate Foreign Relation Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member Ben Cardin, D-Md., along with Sens. Chris Coons, D- Del, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., John Boozman, R-Ark., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

 Background:

 The Global Food Security Act is based on the premise that “global food insecurity,” or the lack of access to affordable, nutritious food, impacts not only developing nations’ economies and productivity, but also the international economy and U.S. national security. It recognizes the important role that agricultural development plays in economic growth, including for women and small-scale producers, as well as the value of leveraging resources and expertise from U.S. academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, private voluntary organizations, and the private sector.

Specifically, the Global Food Security Act of 2016 would:

  • Require the administration to develop a whole-of-government strategy to address global food insecurity and hunger. The strategy would emphasize agricultural development, improving maternal and child nutrition, building the resilience of communities, and civil society engagement.
  • Ensure the alignment of U.S. assistance with developing countries’ own initiatives to enhance agricultural productivity, household income, local economies, and food and nutrition security to work toward the ultimate goal of transitioning countries and communities away from the need for U.S. assistance under this Act.
  • Improve existing monitoring and evaluation practices to ensure the effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars, including enhanced reporting requirements to Congress.
  • The amended legislation also creates the Emergency Food Response Fund by authorizing use of the International Disaster Assistance account to continue to respond to the emergency food needs of communities affected by natural or manmade disasters.
  • Require that the administration report to Congress and to the American people annually about the strategy, its results, and the use of foreign assistance funds.

 

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