Wednesday, May 14, 2008

House passes final version of Farm Bill by veto- proof majority; Senate expected to follow suit

The House-Senate conference report version of the Farm Bill passed the House 318-108, "28 votes more than the two-thirds majority required to override a threatened veto of the measure by President Bush," reports Peter Shinn of Brownfield Network. A Senate vote on the measure is expected Thursday. "It's expected to pass the Senate by a veto-proof majority as well," Shinn reports. (Associated Press chart)

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., noted that the bill included new limits on subsidies and country-of-origin labeling for meat and did not add to the federal deficit. But Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., "noted prices for so-called program crops are historically high," Shinn writes. "That, according to Kind, meant now was the perfect time for a more aggressive shift away from traditional farm programs." (Read more)

The bill "is a farm bill in name only," and "continues to balance subsidy payments to the wealthy on the backs of the middle class taxpayer," Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said in a release. "This bill is loaded with taxpayer-funded pet projects at a time when Americans are struggling to buy groceries and afford gas to get to work." He said the bill "does not target help for the farmers who really need it, and it increases the size and cost of government while jeopardizing the future of legitimate farm programs by damaging the credibility of farm bills in general."

For President Bush's statement on the bill, click here. For a White House "fact sheet," click here. For a Department of Agriculture compilation of editorial criticism of the bill, click here.

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