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Mr. FLEISCHMANN. Madam Speaker, I spoke earlier on the floor today, and I think it is wonderful that we are having this great debate in this great Chamber. Obviously, this is a bipartisan issue, and I am so glad that some of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle have joined me in this great debate for sugar reform.
I represent the great Third District of Tennessee, and I have spent a lot of time in my district in manufacturing plants where I believe, and I would argue, that we manufacture the best baked goods in the country, some of the finest candies in the country, and we distribute these goods all over our great Nation. We use sugar. We use a lot of sugar.
But as we have been involved in this great debate and since the last time on the farm bill, I have noticed a couple of things. It is just not working. Since we had that last vote, it has cost the American taxpayer over $250 million. In addition to that, I have made a commitment to the workers in these plants that I am going to fight hard to keep their jobs in the United States of America, in particular in the great Third District of Tennessee. In order to do that, we have to stop this madness. This is not a radical change to sugar reform. It is a modest proposal that allows the Secretary of Agriculture the discretion to help the American consumer against skyrocketing costs and potential skyrocketing costs in the price of sugar.
Let's face it; sugar is a commodity, plain and simple. And if you use it and the price goes up, and if it is kept artificially high, it drives the price up and you become uncompetitive. I believe in the free market. I fervently argue for the free market, but the Pitts-Goodlatte amendment does a couple of things. It protects American consumers; it protects American jobs; and it is the right side of the argument for good, free-market Americans.
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