By Ramsey Cox
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will introduce the Sugar Reform Act as an amendment to roll back provisions that support sugar farmers.
Senators introduced a similar amendment last year that failed with only 46 votes. The lawmakers said the federal sugar program has cost consumers and businesses an estimated $14 billion during the last four years and caused sugar prices to rise.
“It's time to end the government's wasteful sugar program,” Toomey said. “This flawed policy is corporate welfare at its worst and hurts not only candy companies and food manufacturers, but also the families who end up paying higher costs for food made with sugar. This bipartisan reform would stop the federal government from paying wealthy sugar processors from the pockets of American taxpayers.”
Last year’s Senate farm bill passed on a bipartisan 64-35 vote, but the House failed to take up their own farm bill.
This year’s Senate farm bill would cut $23 billion from current spending levels over 10 years, including $4 billion-worth of cuts to food stamps, which has led to some Democratic opposition.
Senate leaders aren't expecting to finish work on the bill this week, but it will start the process until the immigration bill is ready.
The House has a $940 billion farm bill that cuts spending by $39.7 billion over 10 years — $20.5 billion are cuts to food stamps. The House bill likely won’t get a floor vote until June.