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Bipartisan Effort to Expedite USAID Food Aid
Illinois Ag Connection - 05/27/2022

U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, is leading a bipartisan effort to address potential global food shortages by cutting through red tape to lower costs and expedite the delivery of food aid. To counter the food supply chain disruptions caused by Putin's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, she recently introduced H.Con.Res. 92 alongside U.S. Representatives Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.), and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) to provide temporary, targeted, and timely relief.

"Putin's unprovoked war on Ukraine has escalated the threat of food insecurity across the globe. We must take action to cut burdensome red tape, lower costs, and help get American-produced food into the hands of people in need," said Rep. Jackie Walorski. "Our commonsense solution to cut delivery time and costs will save lives, safeguard taxpayer dollars, and maximize our investment in food aid for Ukraine and other allies. I am grateful to Senators Joni Ernst and Chris Coons, as well as Representatives Jim Costa, Michelle Fischbach, and Danny Davis for their partnership in this effort."

Under current law, cargo preference requirements require 50 percent of Title II food aid shipments to be carried on U.S. flagged vessels. H.Con.Res. 92 would temporarily waive this requirement to expedite deliveries of food aid to Ukraine and other affected countries until February 2025. U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.

"The world is witnessing an emerging food crisis as a direct result of Putin's lawless assault against Ukraine; Russia is engaging in a 'food war,'" said Sen. Joni Ernst. "Iowan and American farmers are ready to step in and help, but bureaucratic red tape is putting an enormous restriction on our shipping capacity that is actually increasing costs to the taxpayer while further delaying the vital delivery of food aid at a time when speed it critical. I'm proud and encouraged to see growing, strong, and bipartisan support for this temporary cargo wavier from some of the most important agriculture groups in Iowa and the nation as well as from so many of my colleagues from across the aisle in the Senate and the House. The need to act--and quickly--has never been clearer."

"Russian blockades at the port of Odessa, confiscation of Ukrainian farming tools and tractors, and the threat of violence due to Russian shelling have wreaked havoc on Ukrainian food production, historically the world's breadbasket. The consequences of Russia's brutal invasion on food supplies are being felt across the world today, and when tens of millions of lives depend right now on the swift, effective delivery of American food aid, we can't allow our emergency response to be held up by red tape that forces us to spend more money on shipping our food aid than on the food itself," said Sen. Chris Coons.

"Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine has fueled the global hunger crisis and disrupted food supply chains," said Rep. Jim Costa. "This is being felt across the globe and we must take immediate action to address rapidly growing food insecurity. I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution to cut the red tape and expedite food aid delivery to vulnerable countries affected by Putin's war."

"This resolution is a common-sense, win-win solution to the rise in food insecurity as a result of Putin's egregious invasion of Ukraine. Minnesota farmers are able to play a key role in ensuring the Ukrainian people have access to nutritious food," said Rep. Michelle Fischbach. "By removing unnecessary red tape, American farmers and ranchers can more efficiently aid our allies in the conflict area."

"I am delighted to join with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to do everything possible to come to the aide of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters and thwart Putin's cruel efforts to oppress and force them into submission. I commend Congresswoman Walorski for leading this effort," said Rep. Danny Davis.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has reported that eliminating mandatory cargo preference reimbursements would reduce the deficit by an estimated $50 million per year.


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