Budget Director Jim Nussle briefs reporters on President Bush's veto of the 300 billion
dollar farm bill.

Farm Bill Likely to Pass Despite Bush Veto

May 21, 2008 04:03 PM
by Josh Katz
President Bush vetoed the farm bill today as expected, despite a likely override from Congress. Critics of the bill claim it placates the farm lobby and will cause higher food prices.

30-Second Summary

President George W. Bush’s veto will likely prove fruitless, as the $307 billion farm bill has the two-thirds congressional support necessary for a veto override. In bipartisan fashion, the House voted in favor of the bill 318-106 on May 14, and the Senate backed it 81-15 on May 15.

Besides providing standard farm subsidies, three-fourths of the bill—about $209 billion—will go to nutritional programs such as food stamps. More money will also go to conservation and land development.

The “wide ranging” provisions in the bill will “prove a boon to the entire nation,” says Rep. David Scott (D-GA) in The Hill’s Congress Blog.

President Bush says he wants to minimize farm subsidies at a time of skyrocketing commodity prices and global food shortages. For example, Bush wants to provide subsidies only to farmers making below $200,000 per year, but the current bill raises that ceiling to $750,000.

Bush is not alone in his denunciation of the bill. Editorials from the Los Angeles Times and Investor’s Business Daily both rebuke Congress for bowing to the farm lobby and creating a bill that will increase, not diminish, food prices. They claim that the bill hands out money to farmers who are already profiting and appeases states by dishing out Congressional pork.

Katherine Rizzo in The Wall Street Journal says the bill passed because of politics. At this crucial pre-election juncture, she says, Democrats and Republicans are eager to court the powerful voting bloc of farmers.

Headline Link: ‘Bush vetoes farm bill, override vote likely’

Background: Rising food prices and pork

Opinion & Analysis: A controversial bill

The politics of the bill
Against the farm bill
In favor of the farm bill

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