The Congress is proposing budget cuts to international food aid as it prepares the FY 2012 budget. There is a strong push for cuts to reduce federal spending. But is cutting Food for Peace and other hunger fighting programs the right place to go? Robert Zachritz, director of advocacy for World Vision, voices his opinion.
If Congress approves these budget cuts, what will that mean to the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from hunger?
There are few places in the U.S. Government’s budget where a small amount of money can really make a big difference including saving a person’s life. American international food assistance is one of these areas.
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives passed a large and disproportionate cut of 33% to these critical life-saving programs. Even worse, about 25% of the House of Representatives voted to eliminate this life-saving program.
The average funding for international food aid from 2006-2010 has been $1.9 billion. In FY 2011, the final number was reduced to $1.5 billion. The House of Representatives in June passed a level which was $650 million less than the President’s request at $1.04 billion. The average cost of food aid has been about $6 per American per year.
Given over the last three years the average cost of food aid per beneficiary has been $40, the $650 million cut by the House of Representatives will mean that 1,625,000 will NOT receive this live-saving assistance.
It is truly a tragedy that as the global need is increasing with the rise of food prices, the House of Representatives is choosing to retreat causing the United States to no longer be a leader in the fight against global hunger. This is a penny wise but a pound foolish strategy. Hopefully, the American people will voice their concerns that this does not represent their values and Congress will change course.