Democrats Push for $5 Billion of Food Aid in Ukraine Package


·         Coons says hunger threatens to destabilize some countries

·         Russian invasion cutting supplies of grain, cooking oil


By Mike Dorning, Bloomberg 

May 10, 2022


Democrats are pushing to boost global food aid to $5 billion in an emergency Ukraine assistance package, and Senator Chris Coons, a key lawmaker on foreign aid issues, said he is “optimistic” Congress will pass it.


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is cutting supplies of grain and cooking oil from a region known as one of the world’s breadbaskets, driving up the cost of agricultural commodities around the world and especially hitting countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia that rely heavily on food imports from Ukraine and Russia.


“We have to pay attention to a global wave of hunger that is destabilizing countries and then creating problems in some very important parts of the world,” Coons said in an interview.


There have already been food riots in several nations hit by the food price spike and without action the US risks upheaval in countries such as Lebanon, he said.


Coons, a Delaware Democrat who chairs the Senate appropriations subcommittee responsible for foreign aid, said he has received broad support from colleagues for the increase in food aid...


... South Dakota’s John Thune, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said however that the question of boosting food aid hasn’t been settled...


... Coons and Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst have also co-sponsored legislation to drop a requirement that half of US food aid be shipped on American-flagged vessels in order to speed transit...