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"House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway said today that while he doesn't agree with the White House budget proposal to eliminate two international food aid programs, there may come a time when the U.S. can no longer afford to provide such assistance because of the country's debt. "One of these days, we may face a daunting challenge of how we can continue to do the good work we're doing overseas and also respect the threat to our own country," Conaway said during a committee hearing on food aid and agricultural development. "We're $20 trillion in debt and growing."...President Donald Trump called for eliminating the $1 billion Food for Peace program, which sends U.S. agricultural commodities to countries in crisis, and the $200 million McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which supports school meals and food security initiatives in food-deficit countries. Those recommendations are part of the White House’s proposed $3.6 trillion in overall cuts to federal spending over the next decade. Foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of federal spending. Thomas Jayne, a professor and co-director of the Alliance for African Partnership at Michigan State University, said food aid and agricultural development projects promote peace and stability, averting future costs associated with war and unrest. Jayne, who was representing the Farm Journal Foundation, cited comments Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis made earlier this year: There is a cost-benefit ratio associated with U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid, Mattis said; the more money spent in those areas, the less the U.S. has to put into the military budget."

Posted June 7th, 2017