February 08, 2013 10:00
The U.S. Congress is expected to pass a bill banning food aid to North Korea this year. The same bill was put before the Congress last year but was shelved due to partisan dispute over the federal debt, extending the current Farm Act for another nine months.
A congressional source on Wednesday said Senate majority leader Harry Reid re-introduced the Farm Bill late last month prohibiting the diversion of funds raised for foreign aid to send food to the North.
The U.S. has given food aid to the North from funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The bill would ban the practice until 2018 except if the president grants an exception he considers in the U.S. interest.
Now Congress seems to feel a greater sense of urgency because the North launched a space rocket and is preparing for another nuclear test, reneging on an agreement it reached with the U.S. on Feb. 29 last year.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties support the bill, which involves a budget of hundreds of billions of dollars including farm subsidies and a nutrition improvement program.
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