5:09 PM EDT

Tom McClintock, R-CA 4th

Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 509, strike line 15 and all that follows through page 512, line 22.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 271, the gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

5:09 PM EDT

David Schweikert, R-AZ 6th

Mr. SCHWEIKERT. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

In subtitle C of title IV, strike section 4207.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 271, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Schweikert) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona.

[Time: 20:10]

5:14 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Royce-Engel amendment to H.R. 1947.

Let me say that I am pleased to stand with the chairman of our Foreign Affairs Committee in a bipartisan amendment which is common sense.

Since 1954, the Food for Peace program has fed more than a billion people around the world and has saved countless lives. This program embodies the compassion and generosity of the American people, and it's something of which we can all be proud. However, the world has changed in the 59 years since Food for Peace was enacted, and our food aid should be reformed to reflect the new realities.

The biggest problem with our current food aid is that it takes too long to deliver. Food grown in the U.S., which makes up the vast majority of our assistance, takes an average of 130 days [Page: H3873]

to deliver. By purchasing food closer to the recipient countries, we can cut the delivery time in half and, in the process, get food to starving people before it's too late.

Food aid is also too expensive. Shipping and transportation costs account for half of the food aid budget. By purchasing food locally or providing vouchers, we can save hundreds of millions of dollars, which can be used to feed more needy people. By passing our amendment, we can reach 4 million more people without spending an extra dime.

Mr. Chairman, the easy thing to do is to do nothing on the issue of food aid reform, but the right thing to do is to enact sensible reforms that save taxpayer money and, most importantly, save lives.

I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan, commonsense amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

5:16 PM EDT

Rick Crawford, R-AR 1st

Mr. CRAWFORD. I thank the chairman.

I would just like to respectfully oppose the gentleman's amendment.

Mr. Chair, this amendment would dismantle one of the most effective diplomatic tools available to the United States. Food for Peace promotes the good will of the American people by providing American-grown food supplies to the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the world. This program has been in place for nearly 60 years and is the cornerstone of the United States' diplomatic and humanitarian efforts.

If there are any inefficiencies, as the sponsors of this amendment suggest, then USDA and USAID must be held accountable for them because they coordinate the program's implementation. I reject the idea that direct cash assistance from the Local and Regional Purchase Program, or LRP, is a better way to go because it will simply provide food vouchers used to buy foreign-sourced food. This sounds less like reform and more like a proposal to provide food stamps to the world.

Instead of giving USAID free rein to spend cash however they see fit, Congress must recognize that Food for Peace allows our farmers to serve as ambassadors. As you can see on the sign beside me, the first thing starving people see when they receive a bag of rice--and it likely came from Arkansas--is the stamp of the American flag. We are concerned about what the contents of that bag are. That American flag means something, and we don't want to diminish the brand and the quality of the product

contained in that bag.

I respectfully urge my colleagues to reject this amendment.

5:18 PM EDT

John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd

Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Chairman, my colleagues from California and New York are sincere, and like, I think, all 435 of us, they possess a deep sense of humanity and the necessity for America to reach out in our best spirit to help those in need.

This is the reality: this is a picture that my wife took in Eritrea a few years back. That's the American Food for Peace program. It is not broken. The American Food for Peace program is really about humanitarian, economic, and national security. It is extremely important. My wife and I have spent many years and many days in the famine camps around the world.

This is the statement of America. It's not a check and it's not cash, and it's not a credit card or a debit card. It's the delivery of food. The Food for Peace program really does work. It's not broken. It is not broken at all. Prepositioning food overseas does work. When the great flood occurred in Pakistan just a couple of years ago, it was this program--the delivery of American food in sacks--that actually arrived before there was any local food that was purchased.

[Time: 17:20]

The Food for Peace program is not broken.

I agree about the need for flexibility and we actually have it. We have the International Disaster Assistance program which is in place and can be used, and it can be cash purchases.

You don't need to change the Food for Peace program to deal with it. You preposition food. You send American products, American food overseas. It is the very best way that we can help. And it turns out that in the Pakistan disaster, this program, the Food for Peace program, delivered food faster and better than the local programs because the local programs had totally broken down. And that will happen over and over.

We don't need to destroy something that's worked for 50 years.

5:27 PM EDT

Eliot Engel, D-NY 16th

Mr. ENGEL. I now yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California, the ranking member of the Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms. Bass.