Candy-makers use Halloween to try to kill sugar program

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 The sugar program is authorized by the now-expired 2002 farm bill, which is up for renewal. 

Congress could pass a new farm bill in the lame-duck session of Congress after the election. If the farm bill comes up on the House floor under an open rule, opponents of the sugar program could have a chance to strike.

When the farm bill came to the Senate floor this year, 46 senators voted to end the program. That was up from 29 votes in favor in 2001. 

Given a standoff over food stamp cuts in the farm bill, lobbyists say it is more likely that a farm bill gets wrapped into a fiscal cliff deficit bill. The sugar program does not have a budgetary cost, so it is unclear if there will be a move in changing the program inside the deficit talks between Congress and the White House. 

In the House, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) is the strongest defender of the program, and Rep. Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance Warrantless wiretapping reform legislation circulates on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Va.) its toughest opponent. 

Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) lead the House Sugar Reform Caucus. 

“Halloween reminds us that while the sugar program is a treat for wealthy farmers who benefit from the sugar subsidies, it’s nothing but a trick for the millions of American families who pay a hidden tax on sugar every time they go to the grocery store,” said Pitts in a release. 

Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenHomeland Security searching some social media doesn't violate privacy The feds shouldn't blackball Kaspersky without public evidence Week ahead: Crunch time for defense bill’s cyber reforms | Equifax under scrutiny MORE (D-N.H.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have led the charge against the program in the Senate.