U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is leading a bipartisan effort to amend the federal budget to stop an impending taxpayer bailout for wealthy sugar producers (see WSJ story). The Shaheen-Toomey amendment would result in lower food prices for consumers, as well as lower costs and more jobs for Pennsylvania's confectioners.
Currently, the USDA is forced to buy large quantities of sugar, with taxpayer dollars, at artificially inflated prices. It is then directed to sell the sugar to ethanol producers at artificially below-market prices.
"It's time to end the government's wasteful sugar program. This flawed policy is corporate welfare at its worst and hurts not only candy companies and food manufacturers, but also the families who end up paying higher costs for food made with sugar," Sen. Toomey said. "This bipartisan reform would stop the federal government from paying wealthy sugar processors from the pockets of American taxpayers. I believe that this Congress can and will eventually rein in our flawed sugar policies."
Earlier this month, Sen. Toomey joined Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) in signing a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking which entities received loans under the sugar program, whether the program exceeded cost projections and whether the administration considered the effects of higher prices for products made with sugar.