Efforts to end sugar program fail in Congress
WASHINGTON D.C. - Louisiana's $3.5 billion sugarcane and sugar mill industries could breathe a sigh of relief after an effort to effectively end the federal sugar program was defeated on the Senate floor.
The nearly $1 trillion Senate farm bill being debated this week keeps the federal sugar program intact and provides the option for price-control insurance for southwestern Louisiana rice farms that was lacking in last year's version of the bill.
But a proposed amendment by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to end the federal import restrictions on sugar was defeated Wednesday on a 45 to 54 vote with both U.S. senators from Louisiana, Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, in opposition.
Shaheen and Toomey argued the program prevents a free market and increases costs for consumers.
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