(H.R. 2112) On an amendment that would have cut $100 million from the Food for Peace program, which provides food aid to the poor in developing countries. The amendment would have increased funding, however, for a loan program intended to spur economic development in rural areas in the United States by $100 million.
This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) that would have cut $100 million from the Food for Peace program, which provides food aid to the poor in developing countries. The amendment would have increased funding, however, for a loan program (known as the “Rural Development Loan Program”) intended to spur economic development in rural areas in the United States by $100 million. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Agriculture Department programs.
This vote was on the second of two amendments offered by Gosar that would have cut funding from the Food for Peace program. The first amendment that would have cut $200 million from the program. When that amendment failed by a vote of 139-285, Gosar offered this amendment, which would have cut $100 million from the program.
Gosar urged support for his amendment: “I rise in support of my amendment that would cut $100 million from the billion-dollar Food for Peace program and redirect it to the rural American communities…This $100 million will provide resources to rural business development loan programs. Small rural businesses and Indian tribes and community organizations can use these loans to jump-start businesses in our devastated rural comments….We need to address the high unemployment by empowering our rural communities.”
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) opposed Gosar’s amendment: “Mr. Gosar's amendment would tell farmers that we will take away from them $1 billion in U.S. purchases of their crops so that we can borrow money in the form of loans for other purposes. That's essentially what he is proposing. Does that make sense to anyone? So we tell U.S. farmers who have been selling wheat, rice, soybeans, vegetable oil, beans, peas, lentils, and other commodities to the U.S. Government that this market is closed to them. So long. Goodbye. Go borrow money. Go into debt. Take out a loan to develop the rural economy….It [the Food for Peace program] supports U.S. farmers, millers, freight rail, truck, and shipping. Food aid provided by USAID is a lifesaving measure for 11 million to 16 million vulnerable people overseas. Our largest emergency food aid programs include Darfur and southern Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, and Ethiopia. U.S. food aid not only helps people survive; it supports U.S. national security interests. It promotes stability and goodwill, especially in Libya, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Our emergency and humanitarian food aid sends the clear message to desperate people in need that the American people care. The Gosar amendment sends the opposite message--that the American people don't care at all; go ahead and starve.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 124-300. Voting “yea” were 124 Republicans. All 188 Democrats present and 112 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have cut $100 million from the Food for Peace program—but would have increased funding for a loan program intended to spur economic development in rural areas within the United States by $100 million.