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Senate to vote on international food aid

Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate is poised to vote on modest changes to the way international food aid is delivered. But the measure is a much scaled-back version of the overhaul proposed by President Barack Obama earlier this year.

The chamber is expected to vote on an amendment Monday that would slightly boost dollars to buy locally-grown food close to needy areas abroad. Currently, most food aid is grown in the United States and shipped. The Obama administration says that's inefficient.

The Senate farm bill would allocate $40 million annually for a local purchase program. That's an increase from current dollars, but still a small portion of the $1.8 billion spent on food aid. The amendment sponsored by Sens. Mike Johanns, D-Neb., and Chris Coons, D-Del., would boost that to $60 million annually.