U.S. Representative Ed Royce of California’s 39th District, current Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has a long career in public service. Beginning in 1982 as a state senator for southern California, Representative Royce authored the nation’s first anti-stalker bill. Since then, his interests have transitioned to international issues and, serving his eleventh term in Congress, he now holds a long record in the House sub-committee focused on foreign affairs. Today, he is a staunch supporter of the Food Aid Reform Act, which currently faces stiff opposition in the House.

Edward “Ed” Royce is no stranger to standing up for change, even if he has to do so alone. Over thirty years ago, Representative Royce’s anti-stalker bill was the first of its kind in America. Now, all fifty states boast versions of that original bill. Later in his career, he was the first legislator to call for a single regulator under the Treasury Department for the three housing government sponsored entities: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the twelve Federal Home Loan Banks. The Congressman has had a storied career in pushing important national legislation.

From 1997 to 2004, Representative Royce chaired the Africa Subcommittee and, in his more recent work in Congress, he has voiced the importance of Africa to the U.S. Moreover, Royce underscores the importance of investing foreign aid in African nations. So much does the Chairman appreciate the necessity of efficient and effective aid for Africa that he has strongly voiced his support for immediate passage of H.R. 1983, the Food Aid Reform Act currently in the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of Congress.

The Congressman recognizes that aid to Africa not only supports Africans in the fight against global poverty, but also revitalizes consumer markets in target countries that, in turn, purchase goods from the United States. The concept is not novel. Rather, historical data shows that most of those countries benefiting from U.S. aid in the past have since become consumers of American goods. The initial investment, as it turns out, acts as a catalyst to establish sustainable middle-class markets that demand imported products that we can provide. Simply put, foreign aid creates domestic jobs.

Representative Royce’s support for the Food Aid Reform Act, however, is more dollars and cents-minded than all that. By ending the current practice of purchasing food at a premium in the United States and sending it abroad on ocean vessels, many miles around the globe, we can focus on a cheaper alternative that focuses on small, local farmers in targeted, impoverished nations. That is, the bill would allow food destined for relief areas to be purchased locally from farmers at a much cheaper price and transported over land, a much shorter distance. Here is what the Chairman has to say on the issue:

“The system through which the United States provides food aid to those facing starvation is needlessly inefficient and ineffective. Especially given the current fiscal environment, it is critical that we enable the U.S. to reach two million more people while reducing mandatory spending by $500 million over ten years. The facts speak for themselves.”

Currently, the prognosis from Govtrack.us holds the bill at a 47% of passing the House. To learn more about the bill or to voice your support for its passage, contact your local congressperson.

– Herman Watson

Source: American Jewish World Service, Chairman Ed Royce, House Foreign Affairs Committee
Photo: The Foundry