150 International Affairs:Reform Food Aid Programs

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings based on adding together the cost of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as found on page 44 of the “FY 2015 Congressional Budget Justification: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs,” and the savings from the Royce-Bass Food Aid Reform Act as described by committee staff, equaling $500 million over 10 years: House Foreign Affairs Committee, “Royce–Bass Food Aid Reform Act: Section-by-Section,” undated. The FAO’s estimated FY 2014 cost of $116 million is increased, according to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline for discretionary spending. The $500 million in 10-year savings from the Royce–Bass Food Aid Reform Act is spread equally across the 10 years, as $50 million per year.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) funding and reform U.S. food assistance programs to allow local purchasing and remove shipping requirements. This proposal saves $168 million in 2016, and $1.8 billion over 10 years, as follows:

  • $125 million in average annual savings from eliminating U.S. contributions to the FAO
  • $50 million in annual savings from the Royce–Bass Food Aid Reform Act (H.R. 1983) as estimated by the House Foreign Affairs Committee Staff


Reform US food assistance programs & eliminate funding to the wasteful Food & Ag Org.

The United States has been providing food assistance around the world for nearly six decades— addressing starvation and emergency food shortages, and supporting agricultural development and related projects in developing nations. The Food for Peace (P.L. 480) Title II program comprises over half of the total food aid budget annually, but is subject to requirements to purchase U.S. food and ship it on U.S. vessels. Congress should support and expand the reforms directed at improving the efficiency of America’s food aid programs, while rejecting the proposed retention of purchase requirements for U.S. food and subsidies for U.S. shipping.

Several international organizations are focused on providing food assistance and supporting agricultural development. Not all are well managed or impactful. A 2011 British study concluded that the FAO represents “poor value for money” and criticized it for lacking a “corporate culture of value-for-money and cost effectiveness” and having weak “programming and financial accounting processes. ((U.K. Department for Internal Development, “Multilateral Aid Review,” March 2011, p. 86).))

Reform US food assistance programs & eliminate funding to the wasteful Food & Ag Org.

Contributing Expert

Brett D. Schaefer is the Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.

Schaefer analyzes a range of foreign policy issues, focusing primarily on the United Nations and affiliated funds and programs. He frequently speaks and publishes on issues related to the world body and its activities.

See publications by Brett D. Schaefer

Brett D. SchaeferJay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage's Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom

Heritage Expert

Bryan Riley is a full-time advocate for free trade through his research and writing for The Heritage Foundation. He brings years of experience in trade and economic issues to his role as Jay Van Andel senior analyst in trade policy.

See publications by Bryan Riley

Bryan RileyJay Van Andel Senior Policy Analyst in Trade Policy

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