Senate votes to continue sugar subsidiesby Brett Neely, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The U.S. Senate narrowly beat back an attempt to end government support for the sugar industry by a 50 to 46 vote on Wednesday.
Minnesota's sugar beet farmers are a major source of American sugar and have long backed the federal sugar program, which uses price supports and import quotas to support the domestic sugar industry.
The Senate is debating a farm bill that establishes American agricultural and nutrition policy over five years.
Both of Minnesota's U.S. Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, voted to support the industry. On the Senate floor, Klobuchar said opponents of the sugar industry, including the candy industry, are falsely blaming the sugar program for rising food cost.
"A $1 dollar candy bar has about two cents worth of sugar in it, a $3.50 carton of ice cream has about 10 cents worth of sugar," Klobuchar said. "Ending the sugar program is not the solution that will keep food prices competitive; it is the opposite."
A bipartisan group of Senators also voted Wednesday to prevent deep cuts to the food stamp program proposed by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul.