The U.S. House of Representatives panel in charge of agricultural funding rejected on Wednesday the Obama administration’s request for a sweeping change to food aid programs that have been in place since the Cold War.
It was the second defeat in three days for the White House budget proposal to use up to 45 percent of funding for “Food for Peace,” the major U.S. food aid program, to buy food from nations near hunger zones instead of American-grown food.
The White House in April proposed shifting Food for Peace funding to an international affairs panel and to make large purchases of food from suppliers closer to famine areas, so-called local and regional purchasing. Funds also could be used for food vouchers.
Its plan ran into a buzz-saw of lobbying by farm groups, food processors, shippers and others who favor the continued purchase of food in the United States and shipping it to needy countries on U.S.-flagged vessels.
The House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture on Wednesday opted to keep Food for Peace under its control, and at the same time cut the program by 20 percent to $1.15 billion for the next fiscal year. A staff worker said the cut was part of controlling the federal deficit.