Republican budget proposal to cut food assistance

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — The House Republican leadership proposed significant cuts in U.S. domestic and international food assistance programs in its effort to reduce federal government spending by $100 billion during the current fiscal year. The cuts were contained in H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011.

The Republican leadership proposed reducing funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children by $747 million, or nearly 10%, from an enacted budget of $7,252 million in fiscal 2010.

Funding for child nutrition programs would be reduced $6 million from fiscal 2010 by eliminating funding for a school community garden pilot program ($1 million) and funding for competitive grants for implementing various child nutrition initiatives ($5 million).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commodity assistance program budget would be reduced $6 million from fiscal 2010 levels to $242 million by eliminating funding for emergency food program infrastructure grants.
The budget for domestic nutrition program operating expenses would be slashed $3 million from fiscal 2010 to $145 million.

Proposed cuts were more severe for international food assistance programs. The Republican leadership proposed to reduce funding for emergency food assistance under P.L.480 Title II, Food for Peace, to $1,003 million, down $687 million, or 41%, from $1,690 million in fiscal 2010.

Funding for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program would be more than halved under the proposal, to $100 million from $210 million in fiscal 2010.

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