Shaheen, Toomey reintroduce bill to overhaul U.S. sugar program
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., on Tuesday reintroduced the Fair Sugar Policy Act of 2021 to make changes to the federal sugar support program.
“Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation would make key reforms to the federal sugar program that would alleviate burdensome restrictions so American businesses can expand and thrive,” said Shaheen.
“The current sugar program is a sour deal for American consumers and taxpayers. It is long past time we reform this corporate welfare program that jacks up food prices while threatening thousands of good-paying jobs,” said Toomey.
Specifically, the Fair Sugar Policy Act of 2021 would:
▪ Lift restrictions on the domestic supply of refined sugar.
▪ Reduce taxpayer liability for sugar processor loan forfeitures.
▪ Ensure that the impact on consumers, manufacturers and farmers is taken into account when the USDA administers the sugar program.
▪ Reduce market distortions caused by sugar import quotas.
The legislation would repeal a subsidy under which the federal government is required in certain circumstances to buy surplus sugar and re-sell it to ethanol plants at a loss to taxpayers. In addition, the bill reduces price supports and abolishes production controls, under which the federal government decides how much sugar individual sugar companies are allowed to sell. It also provides more flexibility to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in regulating sugar imports.
John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association and co-chair of the Alliance for Fair Sugar Policy, said, “The outdated sugar program has prevented American food manufacturers from reinvesting in their business and hindered their ability to compete on a global scale. We are encouraged by this meaningful step to enact commonsense legislation that levels the playing field and modernizes this program to meet the needs of the entire supply chain.”
“The U.S. sugar program has needed an update for decades,” said Sweetener Users Association President Rick Pasco. “The sugar program is a complicated bureaucratic mess of price supports, market allocations, quotas, and government guarantees paid for by food companies and consumers in artificially inflated costs. We are calling on Congress to do the right thing for American businesses, workers, and consumers and reform this outdated program.”
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