FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 1995

Contact: Amy Moritz (202) 543-4110

 

If the Congress Can't Even Kill A Federal Program That Raises Consumer Prices And Kills Jobs, How Will the U.S. Ever Balance the Budget?

 

The fate of what may be the nation's most destructive and counter-productive agricultural program may be decided Wednesday, September 20 when the full House Agriculture Committee decides the future of the federal sugar program.

"The federal sugar program is corporate welfare, but it is worse than most corporate welfare programs because it does more than waste taxpayers' money -- it kills jobs and raises consumer prices," said Amy Moritz, President of The National Center for Public Policy Research. Moritz notes several serious problems:

The legislation that comes closest to ending the problems caused by the sugar program is H.R. 1687, sponsored by Representatives Dan Miller (R-FL) and Charles Schumer (D-NY). The bill is a step in the right direction but does an incomplete job: it would kill the domestic sugar program but leave foreign import quotas (which contribute to higher sugar prices for American consumers) in place.

The desire to kill the sugar program is bi-partisan: H.R. 1687 has 102 co-sponsors from both parties, including key conservative Republicans (including Majority Leader Dick Armey [TX] and Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich [OH]) and leading liberal Democrats (including Henry Waxman [CA] and Barney Frank [MA]). But their efforts may not be enough: House Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) has the most influence over the fate of the sugar program, and he has not pledged to kill it.

"If the House can't take the relatively easy step to reform a federal program that raises prices and kills jobs, how will it ever take the tough steps needed to balance the federal budget?" asked Moritz. "The federal sugar program -- all of it -- should be killed. Immediately."

 

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