Expressing Sense of House Relating to Tariff-Rate Quotas for Raw Refined Sugar

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 11, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KILDEE. I thank the ranking member, and thank you for your leadership on this issue.

Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution. Again, it is nothing but an attack on thousands of family farms in this country and in my district.

If it were the sense of Congress that it was right to end the successful sugar program, the House would have done that last June. Instead, we did the opposite. We defeated this same attack, clearly indicating that this program should be preserved.

The district that I represent is home to Michigan Sugar. And I hear these references--I heard them on the floor earlier, and I just saw it again--to Big Sugar. These are family farms that have banded together in cooperatives. You can call that Big Sugar if you want. It is a term I suppose that is intended to elicit certain thoughts about who these farmers are. That is a shame. These are family farmers who work hard every day and are forced to be in competition with multinational corporations.

We talk about the price of sugar. The price of sugar in a candy bar in 1985, there was 3 cents of sugar in that candy bar and it cost 35 cents. Today, that same candy bar is $1.39, and there is 3 cents of sugar in that candy bar.

Let's deal with the facts here. This is a struggle between companies that want to marginally increase their profit because not enough profits are going to these companies. They are among the highest, most profitable companies in the country, and they should be. That is good. But when is enough enough? Why is it that the family farmers are always the ones that are asked to give more, to potentially risk their livelihood, generations of livelihood?

This is wrong. It was wrong when we defeated it in June, and it is wrong again today.