Legislative & court updates for July 14, 2016

Global Food Security Act passes House

Sen. Bob Corker

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following passage of the Global Food Security Act in the House of Representatives on July 6, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, highlighted progress in bipartisan effort to ensure U.S. food assistance is being used as effectively as possible.

The Global Food Security Act, coauthored by Corker and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), passed the Senate in April and contains a first-time authorization for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP).

USAID has relied increasingly upon EFSP to avoid constraints that would prevent delivery of emergency food aid through the Food for Peace program.

“Flexibility in emergency food aid is critical for ensuring we are able to respond in emergency situations like Syria, where U.S. commodities simply cannot reach,” Corker said. “The Emergency Food Security Program is also the model for overall food aid reform, moving the United States toward a system that guarantees U.S. farmers’ involvement in the program while allowing for greater flexibility to reach people in need without wasting millions in unnecessary overhead.”

In 2015, nearly half of the $2.1 billion in annual U.S. food aid came from the EFSP. Other non-emergency food assistance is encumbered by various restrictions, including U.S. commodity and cargo preferences, that make emergency food aid too slow, too expensive, or locally inappropriate.

The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015 would eliminate these restraints to free up as much as $440 million annually and allow the U.S. to reach an estimated eight to 12 million more people with food in a shorter time period.

10 states fight transgender bathroom rules

Source: Flickr.com

As of July 8, there were 10 states suing the federal government over rules requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that conforms with their gender identity.

The states are Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.

To read the text of President Barack Obama’s original directive on transgender bathrooms, click here.

RELATED: See the latest update on July 13 from Reuters, regarding a legal battle to the Supreme Court for a Virginia high school student who was born a girl but now identifies as male.

RELATED: A “transgender showdown” is predicted for the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Senators oppose harm to housing finance reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement on July 7 after writing a bipartisan letter to the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The letter encouraged Director Mel Watt to avoid taking steps that may facilitate the release of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship without comprehensive reform.

“Housing finance reform remains the last major piece of unfinished business of the financial crisis, and recapping and releasing Fannie and Freddie without reform would keep taxpayers on the hook for future bailouts,” Corker said. “It is my hope that Director Watt will avoid any measures that would hinder the ability to pass bipartisan reform legislation in the future.”

See the full letter online at bit.ly/finance-reform.