Thomas A. Daschle

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Congress should put aside partisanship and turf protection as it considers bold changes to a decades-old and increasingly inefficient international food-aid program.

U.S. global food assistance provides vital humanitarian and emergency assistance to people facing famine, natural disasters or conflict. It is a central to U.S. leadership toward peace and security. This is why modernization now is so critical.The Obama administration’s 2014 budget proposed overhauling the Food for Peace program, building on a similar reform proposal from the George W. Bush administration to reduce high administrative costs and thereby reach more hungry people. The Obama proposal would allow greater flexibility in how food aid is procured, transported and delivered through the use of local and regional food procurement, cash assistance or our current system of moving U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kyrgyzstan rarely makes headlines in the United States. It is a small, landlocked country in Central Asia that is overshadowed by neighbors such as China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. When I recently visited Bishkek, the capital, it was clear that Kyrgyzstan's strategic importance and democratic impulses deserve greater attention. At the same time, the people of Kyrgyzstan would rather be recognized for their democratic ambitions than as an asset in the war in Afghanistan.

One narrative among American Kyrgyzstan-watchers goes something like this: Kyrgyzstan is important because it hosts a U.S. airbase, which serves as a key transit point for personnel en route to Afghanistan.…  Seguir leyendo »

Under an agreement Congress and the administration made last month, free-trade accords with Peru and Panama moved forward. They are far from done, however. Congress should pass these modified agreements, which solidify our access to key countries and whose enforceable labor and environmental standards would set an important precedent for future trade agreements. Congress should also enact the Colombia free-trade agreement after setting enforceable benchmarks for Colombia to improve its record on human rights.

Trade agreements have always been difficult for Congress. Rarely are the debates about the merits of the deals themselves or even about our economic strategy or trade policy.…  Seguir leyendo »