Policymakers

Policymakers

“Over the past year, sugar subsides and forfeitures have cost taxpayers $258 million while over 640,000 tons of sugar was handed over to USDA. Combined with import tariffs and marketing controls, the USDA sugar program cost consumers over $3 billion each year. It is one of the most obscene federal farm subsidies ever conceived and this Farm Bill does nothing to reform it.”

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ),
February 3, 2014

“American families are footing the bill for an outdated program that offers a sweet deal to a small group of sugar growers and processors. No program should be immune to updates or improvements, not while we’re losing valuable manufacturing jobs all over the country as businesses close or move abroad in search of lower sugar prices. The Sugar Reform Act is a practical and pragmatic fix that will put money back in the wallets of American families and businesses while upholding a safety net for American sugar growers.”

—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),
February 14, 2013

“It’s time to reform the government’s wasteful sugar program. This flawed policy hurts not only candy companies and food manufacturers, but also the families who end up paying higher costs for products made with sugar.”

—U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA),
February 14, 2013

“Illinois is the ‘Candy Capital of the world,’ but in the last decade the number of jobs in the industry has steadily decreased because of our current policies, which artificially inflate the price of sugar.”

—U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL),
February 14, 2013

“Congress talks a lot about saving people money — and now we have a chance to put our money where our mouth is. That’s why we are pushing for bipartisan, commonsense reform to an extravagant sugar price-support program that costs consumers and businesses an estimated $3.5 billion and 20,000 jobs each year.”

 U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dick Lugar (R-IN) & Pat Toomey (R-PA), “Sugar Subsidies Out of Date,” In an Op-ed in The Hill, August 8, 2012

“It’s not often conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, pro-growth conservative groups and the Teamsters agree on something. In fact, it’s almost unheard of. But when it comes to the federal government’s sugar program – one of the most egregious corporate welfare handouts in a long list of wasteful programs – these strange bedfellows have found common ground. … American consumers pay more for products containing sugar, and U.S. manufacturers of sugar consuming products are at a competitive disadvantage.”

—U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA),
“America vs. the Sugar Lobby,”
Blog Post in RedState, June 20, 2012

“Data available from the Department of Commerce indicates that 125,000 jobs have been lost in the sugar-using industry between 1997 and 2010.  In our two states of Illinois and Pennsylvania combined, Commerce Department data shows that as many of 25,000 jobs have been lost between 1997 and 2007. Left unchanged, the current sugar program will continue to hurt American workers by overly restricting the supply of sugar in the U.S. market, thereby excessively driving up the cost of domestic sugar and encouraging the relocation of good American manufacturing jobs to Canada, Mexico, and other foreign countries.”

—U.S. Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA), Danny Davis (D-IL),
In a Joint Statement for the Record, May 17, 2012

“With the price of refined U.S. sugar at an all-time high and nearly twice the price on the world market it is time to examine the components of the U.S. sugar program and consider market-oriented reforms that will put an end to excessively tight sugar supplies, excessively high prices, job losses, and unnecessary and wasteful government intrusion on domestic sugar production.”

—Freshman and Sophomore Members of the 112th U.S. Congress,
In a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Leadership, May 17, 2012

“Current U.S. sugar policy harms consumers, small businesses and workers. … No other agricultural commodity program has ‘marketing allotments’ that act as production controls.  Instead, other commodities rely on market price signals to keep supply and demand in balance.  Moreover, no other farm program is deliberately designed to transfer income from American consumers and workers to a small, but ‘special’ interest group of sugar processors and growers.  The sugar program is the last of the command-and-control commodity programs that has yet to be reformed by Congress, and in fact, U.S. sugar policy grows worse with every passing farm bill.”

Bipartisan Group of 22 Members of the 112th U.S. Congress,
In a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Leadership , May 15, 2012

“Government manipulation to increase U.S. sugar prices is driving jobs across the border and taxing American consumers. Continuing Big Sugar’s handout costs private sector jobs at a time when the farm bill should be enhancing job growth. … The sugar program is clearly out of step with the needs of American consumers and job creators.”

—U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN),
In a Statement Vowing to Offer a Sugar
Program Amendment, April 26, 2012

“The federal program inflates the price of sugar in the U.S., placing American sugar users at a severe disadvantage to their foreign competition. In the last 15 years, more than 100,000 workers in sugar-using industries have lost their jobs. … Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives agree that the government shouldn’t be guaranteeing corporate profits at the expense of workers and consumers. I hope the Ag Committee will reform the sugar program as we deal with the Farm Bill.”

 —U.S. Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA),
In a House Floor Speech, April 26, 2012

“… [T]hanks to technocratic price-fixing, U.S. consumers today pay nearly double for their sugar. Government manipulation of the sugar market levies an indirect tax of an extra $4 billion each year in food prices. Such stringent controls and artificial barriers should be the antiquated relics of the Eastern bloc, not mainstays of U.S. policy. Our legislation would end the current system of trade quotas and tariff barriers, promoting competition and increased quality for domestic sugar users.”

 —U.S. Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) & Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), “Celebrate Agriculture, Don’t Stifle Agriculture,” In an Op-ed in The Hill, March 8, 2012

“This special deal for the sugar industry costs consumers $4 billion annually in higher prices, to disproportionally benefit a limited group of large sugar producers. In the 1990’s, the GAO estimated that over 40 percent of the sugar program’s benefits went to one percent of the industry. These costs are an unacceptable burden at a time when American families need relief.”

—U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL),
In a Joint Statement Introducing the Stop Unfair
Giveaways and Restrictions (SUGAR) Act (S. 25),
February 15, 2011

“Both Congressman Davis and I share the same first priority—seeing that our economy creates good jobs for our constituents. Our legislation reforms the USDA sugar program so that we can restore competition to the industry and keep jobs here in America.”

—U.S. Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA),
In a Statement Introducing the Free Market
Sugar Act (H.R. 1385), April 6, 2011 

“The 7th Congressional District of Illinois is a prime example of the cost to our economy of the current sugar program. Once the confectionary capitol of the nation, with some of the most productive food industry workers in the world producing some of the best known names in candy in the world, the 7th District is now home to a shattered industry devastated by sugar prices kept artificially high in the interests of a few huge sugar plantations in southern Florida and, more recently, a small number of beet growers in the upper Midwest.”

—U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL),
In a Statement Introducing the Free Market
Sugar Act (H.R. 1385), April 6, 2011 

“This sweet deal for sugar producers is a sour one for consumers. Food and candy manufacturers are prominent victims, but also hurt are hundreds of thousands of small businesses, including bakeries, confectioners and restaurants. It makes no sense to place extra costs on small businesses, the main engines of job growth.

“Sugar producers argue that it’s ‘no cost’ because they don’t receive direct payments. Instead, businesses and shoppers bear the burden for this welfare system— as much as $4 billion a year in higher costs, according to a recent estimate.

“They also say it [U.S. sugar policy] supports farm jobs. As a farmer, I understand the challenges. But in 2006, the Commerce Department calculated that for every sugar-growing job saved by artificially high prices, three manufacturing jobs in the confectionery industry are lost. Overall, from 1997 to 2009, more than 111,000 jobs were lost in the sugar-using food sector, according to Commerce data.”

—U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN),
“Sweet Deal for Big Sugar is Sour for Consumers,”
In an Op-ed in The Washington Times, March 29, 2011

“Small bakers and confectioners are hurt most by the current U.S. sugar program by denying them access to the competitive world sugar market. Moreover, families across the state of Illinois and across the country pay a hidden tax on all sugar-containing products. By eliminating U.S. sugar price controls and quotas, Congress can reverse this wasteful policy.”

—U.S. Representative Robert Dold (R-IL),
In a Statement Announcing a Small Business Roundtable Discussion in Chicago, June 8, 2011