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 GoodlatteMoving Copyright Office authorities to executive branch could improve accountability Register of copyrights should be presidential appointee Week ahead: Senate takes aim at Obama-era 'blacklisting' rule 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 Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Finance: WH wants to slash billions | Border wall funding likely on hold | Wells Fargo to pay 0M over unauthorized accounts | Dems debate revamping consumer board Path to 60 narrows for Trump pick Overnight Finance: Trump stock slump | GOP looks to tax bill for lifeline | Trump repeals 'blacklisting rule' | Dem wants ethics probe into Treasury secretary MORE (D-N.H.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have led the charge against the program in the Senate.