Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today voted for the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013, also known as the farm bill. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 66 to 27.
"Although I hoped Senate Democrats would have allowed the opportunity for members to improve the legislation, Hoosier farmers and agricultural producers have waited long enough for a farm bill," said Coats. "This legislation will provide Indiana's farmers with the assurances they need to plan and prepare their operations over the next five years. This farm bill also recognizes our nation's current fiscal situation by including significant cost-saving measures."
The Senate Agriculture Committee estimated this year's farm bill to save $18 billion over 10 years. In an attempt to further protect taxpayer dollars, Coats supported an amendment offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would have begun to dismantle a program that artificially raises sugar prices in the United States. Although the amendment failed, Coats urged for reconsideration of current U.S. sugar policies.
"American businesses and consumers have been paying a premium price for sugar due to a tangled web of price manipulation, stringent import quotas and tariffs," said Coats. "If given access to sugar from the world market, Hoosier businesses like Albanese Confectionery Group, Inc. in Merrillville or Lewis Bakeries in Evansville would be able to save on operating costs."
The Senate passed a five-year farm bill reauthorization last year, but the House of Representatives failed to take up the measure. The federal government currently is operating under an extension of the 2008 farm bill, which is set to expire on September 30.