IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ENDORSES SHAHEEN-KIRK-TOOMEY SUGAR REFORM EFFORTS

May 21, 2013

(Washington, DC) – In case you missed it, this afternoon the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Senators Shaheen, Kirk, and Toomey’s efforts to reform the nation’s outdated sugar program.  Yesterday the senators announced plans to file an amendment to the Farm Bill that will save consumers money by reforming domestic supply restrictions, lowering price support levels, and ensuring adequate sugar supplies at reasonable prices.  The federal sugar program has cost consumers and businesses an estimated $14 billion over the last 4 years and 112,000 jobs have been lost in sugar-using industries between 1997-2009. 

The Chamber specifically said the bipartisan effort “would bring several needed reforms to the U.S. sugar program, a chronically flawed policy that creates and maintains an artificial gap between U.S. and world sugar prices.”

The Chamber’s endorsement letter is included below.

Chamber of Commerce
OF THE
United States of America

R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President
Government Affairs

1615 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20062-2000
202/463-5310

May 21, 2013

 
 
 
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
 
          The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million members and organizations of every size, sector, and region, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, strongly supports the Shaheen/Toomey/Kirk Amendment #925 to the 2013 Farm Bill, which would bring several needed reforms to the U.S. sugar program, a chronically flawed policy that creates and maintains an artificial gap between U.S. and world sugar prices.
 
          While the sugar program is often described as a “no-net cost” program, it in fact imposes major costs.  Artificially high sugar prices cost consumers as much as an additional $3.5 billion a year, and create an undue burden on manufacturers in the sugar-using sector, which employs over 600,000 workers in the United States.  The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that for every one sugar-growing job protected, three manufacturing jobs are lost.  In spite of this, the Farm Bill as it is currently drafted would continue the U.S. sugar program unchanged.
 
          This amendment would not end the sugar program, but would provide far-reaching and pragmatic reforms.  In the 2008 Farm Bill, Congress exacerbated an already invasive program by, among other things, increasing price supports, imposing new restrictions on imports, and introducing the Feedstock Flexibility Program, in which the federal government must purchase surplus sugar and sell it at a loss to ethanol plants.  This amendment would remove those damaging add-ons.  Moreover, it would establish market-oriented components to help spur job creation and ease the program’s burden on manufacturers.
 
          The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the Shaheen/Toomey/Kirk Amendment #925.  The Chamber strongly urges you to vote in favor of Amendment #925, and may consider including votes on, or in relation to, the Amendment in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
 
                                                                        Sincerely,
                                                           
                                                                        R. Bruce Josten

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