House Ag Members Encouraged to Support Sugar Program Reform
Members of the House Agriculture Committee have been urged to support a farm bill amendment that would make changes to the sugar program. In a letter to committee members – 22 sweetener user, environmental and taxpayer groups state that Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte has written an amendment that would make modest changes to the program. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives has expressed strong opposition to any amendment Goodlatte intends to introduce that would change the existing sugar program in a way that would effectively eliminate it.
Among other things – the groups argue in the letter that U.S. sugar policies cost consumers 3.5-billion dollars in extra food bills and sacrifice up to 20-thousand potential jobs. They say the Goodlatte amendment will eliminate some of the worst aspects of current policies – including eliminating restrictions on the Secretary of Agriculture’s ability to set import quotas and returning price supports to 2008 levels.
NCFC President and CEO Chuck Conner says any House amendment similar to the one introduced in the Senate by Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey would undermine a program that costs taxpayers nothing and would threaten thousands of American jobs. He says the benefits of ending the sugar program would not go to U.S. consumers – but to our foreign competitors who are heavily subsidized. According to Conner – the current sugar program has reached a balance to ensure adequate and safe supplies of sugar at very competitive prices.