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Coalition Welcomes Bipartisan Push for Sugar Reform in Budget Debate

Mar 27, 2013

The Coalition for Sugar Reform commended a bipartisan group of senators last Friday for pushing to reform the Depression-era sugar program during debate on the budget resolution bill. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) offered an amendment to the bill, championed by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and others, which would have eliminated funding for a provision of the outdated sugar program that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy excess sugar and sell it to U.S. ethanol producers for pennies a pound.

The amendment was cosponsored by Senators Toomey, Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

“We applaud the senators’ leadership in supporting an effort to defund a wasteful government program that only benefits one special interest, while potentially costing taxpayers millions,” said Larry Graham, chairman of the Coalition for Sugar Reform. “Over the last four calendar years, U.S. refined sugar prices were artificially high and supplies were tight, and now, taxpayers may potentially have to foot the bill for tons of excess sugar because raw sugar prices are low. The sugar program is directly responsible for this instability in the market, and it’s time for reform.”

In the last four years, the U.S. price for refined sugar ranged from 64 percent to 92 percent higher than the average world price. Since 2008, higher sugar prices have cost U.S. consumers $14 billion in higher food costs, the coalition estimates.

The Coalition for Sugar Reform, of which IDFA is a member, represents consumer, trade and commerce groups, manufacturing associations, and food and beverage companies that use sugar — including confectioners, bakers, cereal manufacturers, beverage makers and dairy companies — as well as the trade associations for these industries.

IDFA opposes the current sugar program and has been working as a member of the Coalition for Sugar Reform to reform sugar policy in the next Farm Bill.

For more information, contact Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, at chough@idfa.org.

 
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