Bush Calls for Approval of Millions in Food Aid

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WASHINGTON - President Bush is asking Congress to step in and approve $770 million in international food aid.

Food prices worldwide are up 40 percent since last year.

That means higher prices in America -- and a potentially life or death situation for needy countries overseas.

Click play to listen to Gordon Robertson's comments following CBN News Reporter Erick Stakelbeck's report.

Higher food prices have been felt here in the U.S. but in some of the poorest nations, it's a crisis with some calling it the first global food crisis since World War II. The U.S. provides more food aid than any other country in the world but the President wants Congress to step to the plate with $770 million more to needy countries.

"The American people are generous people and they're a compassionate people. We believe in the timeless truth`to whom much is given, much is expected," Bush said.

The aid would be in the form of direct shipments of food mostly to African nations.

Here on Capitol Hill, the focus is on rising U.S. food prices.

"We buy this light wheat bread, like this loaf here. We're paying almost $4," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Part of the reason is skyrocketing grain prices, but others blame the government because of pushing food-based biofuels like ethanol.

"Why are we putting food in our gas tanks instead of our stomachs?" said Richard Reinwald, owner of Reinwald's Bakery.

But ethanol supporting senators disagree.

"Take one of these kernels here and chew on them. It's not something you can sit down at your table and eat," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The crisis has also been brought on by production shortages due to bad weather worldwide, plus increased demand and the declining value of the U.S. dollar.

Bottom line: Consumers are finding new and creative ways to deal with higher prices.

Some will grow their own vegetables, puree their own baby food, or even make their own laundry detergent.

"We make sacrifices. And at the store there are certain things that I would love to buy just for fun. They have just gone up lately and I can't justify getting them anymore," said Christina Pond, a consumer in Arlington, Texas.

Food experts expect high prices to be around at least another few years.

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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