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US Senate rejects end to sugar industry aid

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Sugar beet
Minnesota's sugar beet producers in the Red River Valley support government protections for the domestic sugar industry.
MPR File Photo/Nathaniel Minor

The U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to the farm bill that would have ended government protections for the domestic sugar industry, including Minnesota sugar beet growers.

Those protections include import restrictions on foreign sugar and price supports for domestic growers. Backed by the candy industry and food processors, supporters of the amendment argued that ending the sugar program would lower the cost of sugar for American consumers. 

But both of Minnesota's Democratic Senators voted against the amendment. Sen. Al Franken said ending the program wouldn't lower costs, and would cost the country jobs.

  "Removing the protections that we have for our domestic sugar producers will do nothing but kill an American industry and outsource jobs to other countries, to our competitors," Franken said.

It was the second time in two years that lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to end the sugar program.

The vote on the amendment was 45 to 54.