ON VALENTINE’S DAY, SHAHEEN, KIRK AND TOOMEY ASK SENATE TO ‘KISS SUGAR SUBSIDIES GOODBYE,’ REFORM SUGAR PROGRAM

Shaheen-Kirk-Toomey Sugar Reform Act will save consumers money, lower price support levels

February 14, 2014

(Washington, D.C.) ­– Today on Valentine’s Day, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) are asking the Senate to “stop sugar’s sweet deal” and support the Shaheen-Kirk-Toomey Sugar Reform Act. The bipartisan group sent Valentines to every Senate office to highlight the tremendous cost of the outdated sugar program to consumers, taxpayers, and American businesses to call for reform.

“The sugar program is a sweetheart deal for a small group of sugar growers and processors that’s costing our country jobs and hurting our economy, and it’s time we pass the Sugar Reform Act to put money back in the wallets of American families, businesses and taxpayers,” Senator Shaheen said. “Senators Kirk, Toomey and I have been fighting for years to fix this broken and outdated program, and we’re going to keep working to make the changes American consumers and business deserve.”

"‎More than 7,000 Illinois jobs depend on the sugar industry and Illinois' strength as candy capital of our nation," Senator Kirk said. "Big sugar has cost American consumers more than $130 million in the past 15 years, and it's time for real reform. Senators Shaheen, Toomey and I will continue working to ensure no more American jobs are lost because of the costly sugar lobby.”

"It's time to end the government's wasteful sugar program. This flawed policy is corporate welfare at its worst and hurts not only candy companies and food manufacturers, but also the families who end up paying higher costs for food made with sugar," Senator Toomey said. "Senators Shaheen, Kirk, and I will not stop until we end the federal government’s payments to wealthy sugar processors that come straight from the pockets of American taxpayers. I believe that Congress can and will eventually rein in our flawed sugar policies."

Senators Shaheen, Kirk and Toomey have rallied bipartisan, bicameral support behind their legislation, the Sugar Reform Act, which aims to reform the outdated sugar program in order to protect jobs and small businesses. The bill specifically reforms domestic supply restrictions, lowers price support levels and ensures adequate sugar supplies at reasonable prices. The legislation would roll back provisions that unfairly benefit a small group of sugar growers and processors at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers. During the recent Farm Bill debate, the bipartisan legislation received strong support on both sides of the aisle but was ultimately not included in the Senate Farm Bill package.

Nearly $300 million taxpayer dollars were spent on the sugar program in 2013 while U.S. candy makers have continued to shift production overseas because foreign rivals are able to offer better pricing. Between 1997 and 2011, more than 125,000 American jobs were lost in sugar-using industries.