On February 27th 2018, Representative Chris Smith introduced a bill to reauthorize the Global Food Security Act for four years from 2018 through 2021.
The Original Law
The original Global Food Security Act, also introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, became a law in 2016. The law only lasted a year, and has since encountered difficulty being reintroduced.
The law sought to outline a clear approach for the United States’ foreign assistance, so that its role was not just to increase food security in developing countries (as the name of the bill suggests), but to also provide economic growth through sustainable agricultural means, increase nutrition and resilience, help women and children particularly to receive that nutrition and fight against hunger and poverty in general.
The bill became law in 2016 under then-President Obama, who said of the law at the White House Summit on Global Development: “No society can flourish, children can’t flourish if they’re going hungry. We can’t ask a child to feed her mind when she can barely feed her stomach.”
Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. attempted to reintroduce the law in 2017. The law was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in December of that year, but never made it to a vote.
Rep. Chris Smith’s Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 would add several amendments to the old law. The first change would be to one of the goals in the Statement of Policy Objectives. The new objective focuses on providing adequate nutrition to women and children, and increasing maternal and child health.
Aside from the goal of improving nutrition and encouraging more diverse diets, the 2018 version of the act would add a new emphasis on deworming programs. The second amendment includes The Inter-American Foundation in the list of relevant federal departments and agencies for the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act.
The last three changes update the language of the bill so that the act will extend from September of 2018 through 2021.
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
Another addition to the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 is that it amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to reflect the extension of the years to 2021.
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is a law that was originally signed by President John F. Kennedy in November of that same year. Its goal was to promote the United States’ general welfare, security and foreign policy through helping developing countries achieve security and a stable economy.
The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 are both important not just for the benefit of developing countries, but also for achieving the best national security interest for the U.S. The original 2016 act states that helping developing countries by encouraging economic growth based on agriculture is an important step to end global poverty and hunger.
So far, the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. To help get this bill signed into law, you can use the Borgen Project’s website to contact your representative and encourage them to support it.
– Jennifer Jones