Though the amendment has yet to be considered, Heitkamp also discussed the sugar program, building on discussion that has been ongoing since last year's Farm Bill. Namely, the American Sugar Alliance is standing by the program, which they say keeps farmers and jobs in the U.S. and retains a strong domestic supply of sugar. The Coalition for Sugar Reform, however, which represents top users of sugar, said the policy results in short supplies and "distorted markets."
But Heitkamp explained that subsidies are a way of business for nearly all sugar-producing countries, and, like Hoeven, noted the sugar policy is necessary to create a "level playing field."
"If we bend to the reforms you are going to hear talked about," Heitkamp said, "we will lose our domestic sugar industry. Why? Because we can't compete."
Sen. Shaheen is expected to introduce the amendment in upcoming Farm Bill debate with the support of Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. and Pat Toomey, R-Penn.
Senators also voted Tuesday on amendments to modify eligibility criteria for irrigation assistance and allow Indian tribes to participate in land and soil conservation programs. Both amendments were agreed to.
An additional amendment offered by Sen. Leahy, D-Vt. Regarding rural broadband was introduced but will be considered Wednesday.
Though the Senate will continue discussion Wednesday, it was noted that Stabenow hopes to entertain a vote on the full bill yet this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked simply, "I hope that is the case."
The Senate will continue debate of the 2013 Farm Bill Wednesday.
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