Today Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) vowed to continue to seek the elimination of the outdated, job-killing sugar program.
"Government manipulation to increase U.S. sugar prices is driving jobs across the border and taxing American consumers," Lugar said. "Continuing Big Sugar's handout costs private sector jobs at a time when the farm bill should be enhancing job growth."
Lugar voted today to move the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 to the full Senate. "The Senate Agriculture Committee has made important progress in reforming outdated farm programs," said Lugar. "Hoosier farmers need some certainty, and I am happy to see that the farm bill process will move forward. I will continue to work to improve this bill by seeking additional reforms to farm and nutrition programs and more savings for taxpayers."
Lugar has targeted the U.S. sugar program with an amendment that he will offer when the farm bill comes to the Senate floor. Though Big Sugar claims the program has no net cost, it imposes a hidden tax of billions of dollars annually on consumers and businesses. Lugar has met with dozens of Hoosier workers and employers who face a competitive disadvantage due to artificially high sugar prices. "The sugar program is clearly out of step with the needs of American consumers and job creators," Lugar said. "The entire Senate should take an up or down vote on this program."
Lugar pointed to a recent study by Iowa State University that shows how reform of U.S. sugar policy would help Indiana and America. The study found that such reform could save American consumers up to $3.5 billion a year on a wide variety of food products. In addition, as many as 20,000 additional jobs could be created each year in the food sector.
Lugar is the author of S. 685, a bill to eliminate the sugar program. It is co-sponsored by Senators Coats (R-IN), Coburn (R-OK), Corker (R-TN), Lee (R-UT), McCain (R-AZ), and Paul (R-KY).