Disputes over the government's sugar program break down regionally rather than politically. It pits lawmakers from states like Pennsylvania where candy making is big business against those from states where sugar is grown.
Helping to lead the candy charge is Pennsylvania Republican Sen.
It put Toomey on the same side as liberal Democratic Sens.
Candy companies, like Bethlehem's
The Toomey-backed amendment failed Wednesday evening 45-54 - by similar margins as when it was voted on last year - and so the sugar program remains.
The program was originally put in place to guarantee the price of domestic sugar by limiting how much can be imported. It also provides secured loans to sugar growers. In 2008, changes were made to the program to account for unrestricted sugar imports from Mexico under the
On the Senate floor before the vote, Toomey argued that sugar growers' profits should not be put above the American consumer. "Everybody uses some amount of sugar. It's in virtually all processed food ... it's a staple, a fundamental staple and, in fact, the poorestAmericans spend the highest percentage of their limited income on sugar," Toomey said.
North Dakota Democrat
"Sugar is too important to our economy, it's too important to our food processing to risk simply that we are going to have enough sugar on the international market, that we are not going to have a domestic supply, because many ofthese provisions would drive the domestic producer out of the market, making us beholden to foreign sources of sugar," she said.