White House Conference on Hunger Big on Goals, But Short on Specifics

Braun also noted that when he first came into the Senate, he helped Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., start a climate caucus. Young conservatives, Braun said, are interested in climate issues.

Braun, who is rumored to be considering running for governor of Indiana, said he’s traveled his state and believes Indiana can achieve a lot of hunger, health and nutrition goals because “we have Purdue[university]and we’re doers.” .

Rice noted that Sen. Cory Booker, DN.J., has been interested in nutrition since he was a college football player at Stanford (where she also went to college) and mayor of Newark.

Booker said he wants the United States not only to be the country that leads in science, but to move from the country that leads developed nations in diet-related diseases to “the best nation in the world for raising healthy children.” ” develop.

Noting that blacks and browns in particular suffer from diet-related diseases and that the government spends a lot of money on health care, Booker said, “We have a food system that’s doing the wrong things.”

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on food as medicine, he said. Booker is the chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition.

Booker also said, “We need to put the F back in the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA has done remarkable things. We need to get our focus back on food.”

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McGovern closed the panel and said he hoped this could lead to a government-wide approach to hunger.

“We’re so isolated,” McGovern said. “We all have to be in one room together. We need to improve best practices.” He added that this also means states, local governments and the private sector.

McGovern said that anyone who leaves the conference “must leave here with a task” to achieve the conference goals.

“This is our moment. We all have to do our part,” McGovern said.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMITMENTS

The White House also released a list of private sector groups that have made $8 billion in pledges to meet the conference’s goals.

Vilsack pledged the Biden administration will oversee $8 billion in commitments tied to goals to end hunger and diet-related diseases.

Asked at a news conference how the government knows if companies and other private sector groups will meet their commitments, Vilsack said the USDA will monitor some commitments and he expects other cabinet departments to do the same.

“We will initiate proceedings,” Vilsack said. Once launched, “the administration has a responsibility” to monitor commitments and determine if they need assistance, but also “to ensure they are doing what they promised”.

When asked about the conference’s emphasis on fruits and vegetables, Vilsack said the corn and soybean industry, which produces animal feed, need not worry about its future.

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“We’re also looking at sustainable aviation fuel,” Vilsack said. “There will be many opportunities.”

GOP REVIEW OF THE CONFERNECE

Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Virginia Foxx, RN.C., senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee, criticized the conference, but Vilsack pushed back their comments .

Her criticism plays an important role in the political debate, especially if the House of Representatives toppled in November’s election.

Thompson issued a press release headlined “White House Hunger Conference Is Nothing More Than A Political Stunt.”

“Republicans undoubtedly have an interest in improving the health of all Americans. Nonetheless, the disorderly nature in which this conference took place raised legitimate concerns,” said Thompson. “From unanswered inquiries to the expulsion of many Republican and Democratic politicians and relevant interest groups, it is unfortunate that today’s conference has seemingly deteriorated into a hand-picked political gathering whose sole purpose is to uphold partisan ideologies. I remain committed to reviewing any policy proposals that come up and will make sure our producers are part of the conversation.”

Thompson noted that he sent a letter to the White House asking for answers to questions about the conference and received no response. He noted that he and other members had sent a follow-up letter.

Foxx titled their publication WH Nutrition Conference Doomed Before It Began.

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“The Biden administration would rather rely on liberal political standards than bring in a range of interest groups working to address hunger and nutrition in America,” Foxx said. “Poor planning and obfuscation, hallmarks of the Biden White House, caused this conference to be forgotten before it even started. Going forward, I would encourage this government to put partisan politics aside and work with all stakeholders to develop constructive policies. “

A Republican Studies Committee budget proposal released over the summer, supported by 170 members of the GOP House of Representatives, calls for block grants to the SNAP program and tightening admissions standards. Some of the proposals were part of the 2018 farm bill, which initially failed in the House of Representatives.

When asked by DTN for comments from Thompson and Foxx, Vilsack said, “There are 433 other members of the House of Representatives.”

Vilsack also recognized Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, for supporting various pandemic-related child nutrition programs.

White House fact sheet on private funding commitments: https://www.whitehouse.gov/…

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton contributed to this report.

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport

Chris Clayton can be reached at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN