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Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
Markup of H. R. 4002
Improvement Act of 2000
June 29, 2000
H.R. 4002, a bill introduced by Mr. Brady, the gentleman from Texas, and co-sponsored by Mr. Bereuter and Mr. Davis of our Committee, amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, to authorize the President to establish programs in Title XII of the Act to encourage the formation of partnerships between land grant universities and non-governmental to promote sustainable agricultural development projects in the world's poorest and neediest countries.
My Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute corrects technical language in the bill and I would like to thank our Ranking Member, Mr. Gejendsen, as well as Mr. Brady and the bill's other sponsors for their assistance in the formulation of this amendment.
Although significant strides have been made to increase world food production in recent years, it is clear that more needs to be done to modernize agricultural practices in the developing world and to ensure that sound environmental and conservation practices are applied in rural areas of the world's poorest countries.
As is the case in other development fields, it is sound policy to encourage the formation of partnerships among the public, private, and academic sectors. In the agricultural arena this makes particularly good sense as American technology produces the world's greatest grain yields and can, with the provision of state-of-the-art technical assistance, be applied in developing countries. Moreover, as an added bonus, the lessons learned from these experiences and projects can be brought back home and applied to strengthen our own country's agricultural production.
I commend the bill's sponsors for their efforts to encourage the formation of partnerships between the land-grant university community and non-governmental organizations engaged in agricultural extension work in developing countries.
Congressman Kevin Brady Statement
June 29, 2000
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I support the Gilman amendment in the nature of a substitute which contains technical changes. I hope that amendment and bill will be adopted without opposition.
Before I talk about this legislation, I especially want to thank the Gentleman from Florida, Ms. Davis for agreeing to be the lead Democrat on the bill and make this truly a bipartisan effort. The Gentlemen from Nebraska, Mr. Bereuter also worked with us and was the other original cosponsor. I also want to thank their staffs, as well as both the majority and minority staff of this committee for working so well together to ensure this bipartisan legislation could be considered today.
Finally and most importantly, I want to thank one of my constituents, Dr. Ed Price from Texas A&M University who came to me with the framework for this legislation after working on behalf of the Board of International Food and Agriculture Development (BIFAD) and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC) to look at ways at updating Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act, which deals with the role of Land Grant Universities in our Foreign Assistance Act. Unfortunately, Dr. Price is overseas and could not be with us, but without his help, it is unlikely that we would be considering such legislation today.
So what is the Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger Improvement Act of 2000 and why did we introduce it? Title XII, the Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger Act was enacted in 1975 to increase world food production and identify solutions to food and nutrition problems in developing countries. According to USAID's annual reports on Title XII, the goal to increase world food production has been met. At the same time, USAID admits we have not been as successful at solving the other goal of Title XII, food and nutrition problems in developing countries. H.R. 4002 addresses that problem by updating Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act.
Improved agriculture is necessary to meet the objectives of U.S. foreign assistance such as improved human health, child survival, democratization and free enterprise. As the agriculture industry and our nation's international development efforts have changed over the past twenty-five years, the time has come to update this important section to again emphasize the vital role U.S. universities and others can have in our country's international agriculture development efforts.
Specifically, we broaden the scope of agriculture to reflect a more modern industry and we expand the ability of participants to be eligible to participate in Title XII programs, the valuable resources of our universities will be better utilized. We also encourage NGO's to work with universities. These changes will result in better partnerships with the Agency for International Development, improved service to assisted countries, and greater trade and research benefits to the U.S.
This legislation will also help our agriculture here in the United States. As Title XII is currently written, it is designed to focus on agriculture research. H.R. 4002 is designed to make "extension" a more implicit part of Title XII. This will help bring the lessons we learn overseas to our farms which is import because developing nation markets are the fastest growing markets for U.S. farm products and anything we can do to help speed along their development will help our farmers. Furthermore, improving foods for health, flavor, and productivity require international breeding programs such as those sponsored under Title XII.
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.
Honorable Doug Berewer
Statement on HR 4002
Mr. Chairman, as an original cosponsor of H.R. 4002, the Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger Act of 2000, I want to commend the distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady) for taking the lead on this important issue and introducing this bill which updates the context of agricultural development in Title 12 of the Foreign Assistance Act and expands the role of America's land-grant universities in these efforts. It was a pleasure to work with him on this effort.
Since the Foreign Assistance Act was enacted in 1961, the scope of U.S. food aid and agricultural assistance has expanded to include: forestry, fisheries, family & consumer sciences, horticulture, agribusiness, agricultural processing, marketing, distribution, trade, food safety, nutrition, agricultural policy, environmental protection, food science & engineering, veterinary medicine, agricultural economics and other social sciences, and other science and practice related to food, feed and fiber. Indeed, H.R. 4002 updates current law and U.S. foreign assistance policy to reflect these changes.
This bill also ensures the transformation of development abroad into benefits to the U.S. University research and extension services, especially those associated with America's land-grant colleges, along with their public and private partners are supported to help transform agricultural progress abroad into benefits to U.S. communities and businesses through trade. The pending legislation expands the definition of eligible universities to include those institutions engaged in agricultural teaching, research and “outreach” as well as “extension." This certainly is an effective and responsible approach which utilizes America's land-grant university expertise to help famine prevention and freedom from hunger abroad.
Mr. Chairman, the Famine Prevention and Freedom from Hunger Prevention Act of 2000 would, for the first time, create a direct link between development abroad and the interests of US rural communities. Clearly, it deserves our strong support and I urge its adoption by the Committee. Again, I commend Mr. Brady for his leadership on this issue.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN CHRISTOPHER EL. SMITH
HOUSE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE
June 29, 2000
Mr. Chairman, since the fall of communism ten years ago, Hungary has undergone profound change. I am pleased to cosponsor this resolution which congratulates Hungary not only on the millennium of its foundation as a state but also for its progress over the last decade toward democratization, a free market economy, and respect for human rights.
Hungary's post-communist political and economic transition has been relatively stable and systematic. Hungary was the first communist country in Central Europe to hold free and fair elections and Hungary is a leader among Central European countries in its transformation to a market economy. Hungary also demonstrated its commitment to Western ideals and partnerships by joining NATO and actively supporting NATO's actions in Kosovo.
I have also watched Hungary's record improve with regard to human rights. Hungary has rightly received high marks for its human rights record, and I commend Hungary for its progress in this important area. At the same time, there is still room for improvement.
One of the particular concerns I have is the situation of the Roma minority. Several years ago, Hungary introduced an innovative law on minority self-government which, many hoped, would enable minorities to ensure respect for their basic rights. For Hungary's Roma, however, the minority self-government system doesn't deliver. As a practical matter, the so-called "minority self-governments" are effectively elected by the majority population. More importantly, these bodies lack the legal authority and the funds to address one of the most critical problems that Romani Hungarians face: discrimination in employment, job training, education, and public places.
At the Istanbul Summit of Heads of State and Government last year, Hungary committed itself
to adopting anti-discrimination legislation to prevent and punish this kind of discrimination. As a country that has so often played a leading role in the OSCE, including through its outstanding performance as Chair-in-Office in 1995, I hope the Hungarian Government will move quickly to adopt comprehensive anti