The Alliance’s mission is to engage diverse institutions to build the public and political will to end hunger at home and abroad; and the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan highlights advocacy as an essential pillar to the Alliance’s work.
Below, you will find the Alliance’s current legislative priorities and issue briefing papers.
Current Legislative Priorities
Below, you will find the Alliance’s current legislative priorities and issue briefing papers. We will continue to monitor all opportunities to advocate more generally in alignment with our Statement of Policy, including the budget and appropriations processes.
Domestic – Farm Bill
The Alliance to End Hunger is encouraging Congress Members to adopt the Senate version of the nutrition title in the Farm Bill as both chambers come together to construct the final bill.
The Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) (S.3042) on June 28 with an 86-11 vote. With sixty votes needed to pass the bill, the strong vote was a positive development. With current law expiring September 30, Congress will need to pass a new Farm Bill in order not to disrupt existing farming and anti-hunger programs. This can pose as a challenge when lawmakers meet to discuss the differences between the House and Senate bills. The Senate vote gives a solid framework for addressing discrepancies in the bills during the conference committee.
The Farm Bill addresses a multitude of food security-related programs and policies in the United States and around the world. Significantly, the Senate version of the Farm Bill disregards many of the harmful provisions from the House version that would detrimentally impact food insecure individuals and households in the United States. Within the Farm Bill presented by the Senate, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps) remains largely unchanged from the 2014 Farm Bill. This contrasts with the House version of the bill, which significantly altered the program and added barriers for food insecure individuals to receive much-needed benefits. Overall, there are marked improvements to access for certain vulnerable populations, including the elderly, disabled, and native Americans. Provisions within the Senate version simplify and streamline work-related provisions. Additional funding to pilot employment and training programs is provided, while also avoiding unnecessary employment requirements on those who are ill-suited for employment and training. Other provisions would assist building food security in the United States by supporting the minimalization of food waste through federal nutrition programs, and allowing retailers to incentivize the purchasing of healthy foods through use of nutrition program benefits.
While the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, (H.R. 2) is strong in its support for global issues – including the Food for Peace Program, the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, and much-needed flexibility to address current foods security crises around the world, including support for food vouchers, cash transfers, local and regional procurement, as well as U.S. commodities – those positive aspects of the bill do not outweigh the damaging provisions related domestic food security in the legislation.
Among the troubling provisions are major reforms to eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), including stricter work requirements, including an expansion of the age range covered by such requirements, that ignore the unique circumstances many needy individuals face. Additionally, the elimination of broad based categorical eligibility adds burdens to eligible individuals and families to acquire benefits, as well as administrative costs to local benefit-providing offices. Together, these proposals have the potential to throw millions of individuals and families off the critical support they need to feed themselves and their families.
Additionally, the Alliance has pulled together a helpful list of talking points that can be seen HERE.
Not Sure who your Senators and Representatives are, or how to contact them? Start here:
International – Global Food Security Act Reauthorization
The Alliance to End Hunger is currently urging Member of the House of Representatives to vote “yes” on H.R.5129 – Global Food Security Reauthorization Act! In addition, we thank Senators for voting “yes” on S.2269.
The Senate passed the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act on Tuesday evening, June 19. The bill passed by voice vote without amendment. The Global Food Security Act, which was originally passed in 2016, authorizes a US Government Global Food Security Strategy, and codifies many aspects of the Feed the Future Initiative. The bill authorizes the development and implementation of a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy to combat hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. The strategy focuses on increasing sustainable and equitable agricultural development; reducing global hunger; and improving nutrition – especially in the key first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. In addition to other valuable aspects of the law, the GFSA captures and improves upon progress made through the Feed the Future initiative.
The Reauthorization Act that passed the Senate authorizes GFSA to continue for five years. The counterpart bill currently in the House of Representatives (H.R.5129) would continue the program for three years. The House bill has passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee and awaits action on the House floor.
Alliance Advocacy Committee
The Alliance’s diverse membership realized that it was in a unique position to provide a long-term approach to advocacy. In addition to periodic meetings with Members of Congress and the Administration, the Alliance established a member-led Advocacy Committee. This Committee was tasked to compose common messages that underscore the connection between hunger and a variety of prominent political issues. Any members interested in participating in the Advocacy Committee should feel free to contact the committee co-chairs, Rick McNary and Nick Arena.
To date, three working groups of the Advocacy Committee have convened to draft messages that link the issue of hunger to agriculture, healthcare, and national security. Below, you will find the compiled briefings on the issues, as well as a basic “Hunger Overview.”
- Hunger Overview: Hunger is the inability to consume necessary amounts of food for daily sustenance because of the lack of funds and/or access to nutritional food. Hunger affects all 50 states, all 435 Congressional districts, and every country on earth.
- Hunger and Agriculture: 795 million people worldwide are considered “food insecure,” a challenge that is compounded by a population projected to grow by more than 2 billion by 2050, and limited availability of natural resources. To meet growing global food demand, farmers will have to increase agricultural production by 70%. The agriculture community has an important role to play in developing more just and efficient food systems.
- Hunger and U.S. Health: The relationship between eating well and good health is well known. We learn from an early age that “you are what you eat” and consuming fruits and vegetables is important. With the growth of the obesity epidemic, much of the attention on food consumption in America has focused on the volume, caloric density and fat content of food consumed, with good reason. What is often missing in our discussion of good health and food consumption is the tragic level of hunger in America.
- Hunger and International Health: Hunger and malnutrition are prevalent worldwide. Currently 795 million people are considered “food insecure”, with a population projected to grow over 2 billion by 2050. Of these, an estimated 3.1 million children under the age of five die annually due to under-nutrition. In the first 1,000 days of a child’s life—from conception to the age of two—over 40 vitamins and minerals are required for healthy development. The resilience of individuals, families, and communities therefore depends on adequate food intake and nutrition.
- Hunger and National Security: There are inseparable links between food security and national security, as well as pervasive hunger issues among our nation’s veterans that must be addressed. The Alliance Advocacy Committee is working to help raise awareness of the long-term relationship between hunger and security.
- Hunger and Race: In the United States, people of color are more vulnerable to hunger and poverty, experiencing hunger at up to two times the rate of white individuals. Ending hunger and poverty, therefore, is closely linked to racially equitable solutions. The Alliance Advocacy Committee is working to embed a racial equity lens in our advocacy work. Click here for an additional fact sheet with suggestions for anti-hunger organizations. For further background on this topic, please read Getting to Zero Hunger: Hunger, Poverty, and Race.
You can also learn about upcoming events and committee meetings on our Events Calendar.