Senate Passes Farm Bill in Record Vote

December 20, 2007 09:15 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
In a 79-14 vote, the U.S. Senate approves a $286 billion farm bill providing new agricultural subsidies; the bill still faces a threatened presidential veto once it is combined with similar House legislation.

30-Second Summary

Despite the Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007 being passed in the Senate with the highest number of yea votes for a farm bill since 1973, it still has an uncertain future.

The bill has to be reconciled in a conference report with the House version, passed on July 27, which, unlike the Senate vote, failed to produce the two-thirds majority needed to protect it from a presidential veto.

A White House statement released on the day of the Senate vote threatened to block the legislation on the grounds that it would create new taxes.

“Congress has approved $22.4 billion dollars in new taxes that increase the size and scope of the federal government and damage the credibility of farm programs … For these reasons, the President's advisers would recommend he not sign this bill,” read the statement.

Other opponents of the bill argue that small farms receive too little in subsidies, as the richest 10 percent of farmers enjoy the lion’s share of available aid.

Proponents of the bill applaud Congress for providing more assistance to farmers when crops fail.

The Wall Street Journal explains that the bill has also triggered an investigation by the World Trade Organization into the possible violation of international commerce rules that limit subsidies to U.S. farmers.

The bill will be taken up by Senate and House Committees in a conference report in January 2008.

Headline Links: The bill and the WTO Investigation

Background: The bill’s beneficiaries

Opinions & Analysis: Supporters and opponents

Farm subsidies and world markets

Related Links: Senate floor debate and the Farm Bill itself

Reference Material: Conference report and the subsidy recipients


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