Washington, DC — The Coalition for Sugar Reform, a broad-based group of food manufacturers, environmental advocates, responsible government advocates, and other organizations, has come out in support of bicameral, bipartisan legislation that would reform the U.S. Sugar Program. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).
“We thank the sponsors of this legislation for their efforts to level the playing field for consumers and businesses by reforming this Depression-era policy,” John Downs, co-chair of the Coalition for Sugar Reform and president & CEO of NCA, says. “We look forward to working with members of Congress and other key stakeholders to support these critical reforms.”
The Sugar Policy Modernization Act draws bicameral, bipartisan support in Congress, seeking to end what the coalition states is a program that harms companies that use sugar as an ingredient in their products while protecting a small group of politically well-connected sugar producers. Sugar was the only commodity program not reformed during the 2014 farm bill, the group maintains, resulting in billions of dollars in additional costs for businesses and consumers.
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that for every sugar-producing job saved through sugar price supports, approximately three American manufacturing jobs are lost. All told, the sugar program has killed about 123,000 jobs since 1997, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with small, family-owned businesses having been impacted most.
“If we are serious about creating long-term economic success, then we need to foster a better environment for small-business growth; we need to reform the sugar program now,” urges Downs. “There is great potential for expanded factories, more jobs, and new U.S.-based facilities if the government permitted food and beverage companies to have access to fair prices on sugar.”
The Sugar Policy Modernization Act, according to the Coalition for Sugar Reform, protects taxpayers and ensures accountability by requiring the sugar industry to pay back taxpayer dollars they receive when they forfeit on government loans. The bill safeguards taxpayers and removes a program whereby the Department of Agriculture tells sugar farmers how much sugar they can grow and sell.
More information about the Coalition for Sugar Reform is available at SugarReform.org.