[QUOTE=Steamer;160279] As long as people like her are allowed to walk the halls of government we are doomed to the fate of a long list of other failed nations controlled by obscenely wealthy kleptocrats, a role she obviously cherishes.[/QUOTE]
Don’t forget other senators like Bob Corker (R-TN) and his hearing on April 15th. This from the MEBA newsletter:
[B]CORKER COMMITTEE SEEKS TO KICK OVER U.S.SHIPPING’S THREE - LEGGED STOOL[/B]
[I][B]Renewed Push Takes Myopic Viewpoint of Complex Issue[/B][/I]
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by Chairman Bob Corker (R - TN) is seeking the reform of the nation’s food aid program involving the elimination of preference cargo for U.S. - flag shipping.
A parade of witnesses supporting his approach testified that inefficiencies in the current program prevent a more timely and extensive reach to hungry mouths around the world. Food for Peace helps feed starving Third World nations while providing critical support to U.S. shipping and American farmers.
The U.S. Merchant Marine has long likened the series of programs that help keep it stabilized to a three - legged stool - the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program
and cargo preference laws. Military cargo accounts for about 80% of preference cargo. But U.S. - shipping is already suffering from diminishing cargoes following DOD’s
drawdown of peacetime forces overseas. The lion’s share of the other 20% of preference cargo is accounted for primarily through the Food Aid program and cargoes from the Export - Import Bank. The Ex - Im Bank is also under attack and Members of Congress may let the Bank’s charter expire at the end of June. A loss of food aid cargo with no replacement plan would further hasten the spiral of vanishing U.S. - flag vessels and the associated pool of U.S. mariners and would desperately complicate the ability to fulfill DOD sealift requirements.
Sen. Corker has introduced legislation, along with Sen. Chris Coons (D - DE) to reform Food Aid. The proposed system wouldn’t turn the program into an entirely cash - based system, but the U.S.- flag cargo preference component would be eliminated. [B]Scheduled witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing were all preaching to the Corker choir. The maritime industry was not invited to testify. [/B]U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Food for Peace Director Dina Esposito said that food purchased locally is more cost efficient and can get to the intended sources in a more timely fashion. She alleged that enough protections are in place to ensure the aid isn’t delivered to unintended recipients. During the hearing, [B]Sen. Corker regularly dismissed arguments opposing his own as “hoaxes”[/B] saying that special interests “should be ashamed” that they are letting people starve around the world by trying to maintain the current system.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D - MD) was more mindful of the damaging effects a “reformed” program would have on U.S. maritime. He worried that DOD sealift capabilities
would be compromised that, without significant expenditures, would lead to reliance on foreign - flag ships and foreign mariners for critical defense operations. He cited
the comments of USTRANSCOM Commander Gen. Paul Selva last month before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the potential reduction of food aid cargoes for the U.S. fleet. Gen. Selva had stated, “With the recent vessel reductions, the mariner base is at the point where future reductions in U.S. - flag capacity puts our ability to fully activate, deploy, and sustain forces at increased risk.”
But Sen. Corker rebutted that it isn’t USAID’s job to ensure that military policy and sealift capability is met. “That’s a DOD problem,” he announced. [B]He likened the current program to “corporate welfare” favoring shipping companies, a few agricultural interests and a handful of non - governmental organizations (NGOs).[/B]
Quizzed as to what group has put up the most resistance against overhauling the food aid program, witnesses essentially agreed that it was the maritime industry
that has been most aggressive in its opposition.
There’s a good reason for that. In a statement submitted for the record, U.S. maritime interests acknowledged that they can appreciate the desire to fine - tune the food
- aid program, but pointed out any forwarded proposal should ensure that U.S. maritime jobs, U.S. - flag ships and logistical networks available through the Maritime Security Program are not threatened. A number of shipping companies, associations and maritime labor unions, including the M.E.B.A. and AMC, crafted and signed onto the statement. Unfortunately the Corker/Coons legislation to reform Food Aid, the statement read, “does not adequately address the impact that the complete
elimination of the U.S. - flag shipping requirements … will have on MSP and the U.S. - flag maritime industry. In fact, [their elimination] will diminish our nation’s U.S. -
flag sealift capability and will result in the loss of American jobs.”
If we allow ourselves to follow this path, without regard for U.S. shipping, the Government will have to spend far in excess of the cost of cargo preference in direct spending to replicate the national security capabilities of the privately owned U.S. - flag commercial fleet.
More fodder for the anti-Jones Act guy called McCain.