WASHINGTON – Representatives Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Danny K. Davis D-I.L., along with Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey R-P.A., today introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Sugar Policy Modernization Act, legislation that would phase market reforms into the U.S. sugar program.
Representative Virginia Foxx:
“Our nation’s antiquated sugar program seeks to prop up prices for the sugar industry at every turn, sticking consumers with the bill. The way our current system is set up, taxpayers and manufacturers bear all of the risks in the form of bailouts, uncertainty and shortages, while the sugar industry reaps guaranteed rewards,” said Foxx.
This program personifies crony-capitalism at best, and gross negligence at worst. Manufacturers and consumers have previously bailed out the program to the tune of $260 million and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that if left unchanged, the program will cost taxpayers over $100 million. That’s why we’ve introduced the Sugar Policy Modernization Act which finally gets the sugar program to a zero-cost program by ending special-interest bailouts,” said Foxx.
Representative Danny K. Davis:
"This job killing subsidy program is like a vampire, refusing to die while continuing to enrich a handful of well-connected plantation owners at the expense of hundreds of thousands of confectionary jobs in the United States," Congressman Davis said. “In 1987 Brach's, located in the 7th Congressional District, was Chicago's sixth-largest manufacturer, with 4,000 workers, the average worker spent 27 years in a Brach's plant. Largely due to the sugar subsidy those jobs, those careers, are gone now and the old Brach's factory in the industrial park on Chicago's Westside which once employed over 1,000 workers is a wasteland. The continuation of the sugar program today puts 7000 Illinois manufacturing jobs at risk while the cost to taxpayers has skyrocketed and will continue to grow."
Senator Jeanne Shaheen:
“Reform of the federal sugar program is long overdue. Our current policies create heavy costs for consumers and put American jobs at risk,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bipartisan bill will help make reasonable, commonsense changes to the federal sugar support program to cut wasteful spending and help grow American businesses. It’s time for Congress to put special interests aside and work to reduce costs and protect American workers in New Hampshire and across the country.”
Senator Pat Toomey:
“The current sugar program is a bad deal for American consumers and federal taxpayers. It is time to reform this government corporate welfare program that hikes food costs for families and threatens thousands of well-paying jobs in Pennsylvania.” said Senator Toomey. “I thank Senator Shaheen and Representatives Foxx and Davis for their hard work as we advance this bipartisan bill, which will rein in our flawed sugar policies and save taxpayer dollars.”
Specifically, the Sugar Policy Modernization Act would:
· Lift restrictions on the domestic production and sale of refined sugar.
· Reduce taxpayer liability to loan forfeitures when sugar processors decide not to payback their USDA loans.
· Ensure that the domestic demand for sugar is considered when the USDA administers the sugar program.
· Bring market forces into the U.S. sugar market and phase out supply-management policies.
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.