Biggert Knocks Sugar Subsidies
Washington, DC - U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL-13th) joined several members of the Illinois Delegation on the House floor today to decry an expansion of taxpayer-funded sugar subsidies contained in the five-year agriculture bill currently being considered by Congress. The bipartisan display came during consideration of an amendment, offered by Reps. Davis (D-IL-7) and Kirk (R-IL-10), that would keep most of the federal government's current sugar policies in place. As currently written, the farm bill, H.R. 2419, would expand the controversial sugar program with higher price supports, protectionist importation quotas, and a taxpayer-funded sugar to ethanol program.
"I don't know how it's possible, but this bill makes a bad sugar policy even worse," said Biggert on the House floor. "Chicago was once referred to as the Candy Capitol of the World' because of our strong confectionery manufacturing industry. But thanks to the sugar program and sugar subsidies, nearly one-third of the jobs in this industry have been lost."
Federal price controls have been blamed for artificially inflating domestic sugar prices far above international market rates. According to Biggert, the net result is higher costs to consumers and a steady loss of American jobs in the food and beverage industry. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the disparity between U.S. and world sugar prices results in three confectionary jobs lost for every sugar growing and harvesting job saved.
"This Farm Bill goes backward, not forward," continued Biggert. "Instead of recognizing the reality that the sugar program has cost American manufacturing jobs, this bill increases sugar price supports and widens the gap between U.S. and world prices."
The amendment, which was supported by Citizens Against Government Waste, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and numerous food and beverage manufacturers, was defeated by a vote of 144 to 282.