Cutting foreign food aid might seem like a simple way to put “America first,” but as many of those testifying before a House agricultural panel pointed out yesterday, the notion that a Trump administration plan to ax two longstanding aid programs will be beneficial to the US may not be so cut and dry.
Among the many cuts President Trump’s spending plan proposes, two food aid programs would see their funding eliminated entirely: the Food for Peace program, originally launched in 1954 under President Dwight Eisenhower, and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, implemented in 2003 while President George W. Bush was in office. Though the programs cost about $1.9 billion annually, many have questioned whether those “savings” would actually do more damage than good.
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One of the most compelling arguments came from Trump’s own party. The chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Rep. Michael Conaway, a Texas Republican, pointed out that, counterintuitively, foreign food aid actually fuels the economy back home. “International food aid programs not only contribute jobs in the US agricultural sector, but also create American jobs in the manufacturing and maritime sectors,” Conaway said yesterday according to the Huffington Post. “Eliminating such programs seems contrary to the role they play in a robust ‘America-first’ policy.”