Friday, May 16, 2008

Congress decidedly passes farm bill

I wish President bush had dusted off the veto stamp in his first term...

From the boston globe:
With veto-proof margins, Congress yesterday sent President Bush a bill that would boost farm subsidies and money for food stamps to help the poor deal with rising grocery prices.

Bush has threatened to veto the $290 billion bill, saying it is fiscally irresponsible and too generous to wealthy corporate farmers in a time of record crop prices.

But Congress disagreed, with both chambers passing the measure by well more than the two-thirds' majority needed to override a veto. The Senate voted 81 to 15, a day after the House passed the bill with 318 yes votes.

About two-thirds of the bill would pay for domestic nutrition programs such as food stamps and emergency food aid for the needy. An additional $40 billion is for farm subsidies, while almost $30 billion would go to farmers to idle their land and to other environmental programs.

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer again criticized the bill after Tuesday's House vote, saying it has the wrong priorities.

"It 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," he said.

Congress has overridden only one veto, on a water projects bill, during Bush's two terms.

Congressional negotiators met for weeks in an effort to come closer to the White House on the amount of money to be paid to wealthy farmers - one of the chief sticking points with the administration. But drastic cuts to subsidies were not possible, lawmakers said, because of the clout of Southern lawmakers who represent rice and cotton farms, which are more expensive to run.
Yup let us give tax payer dollars to farmers who are now getting more than 4 times what they used to get for their crops, while people are starving thanks to ethanol production, which we also subsidize by the way.

They can throw our money at wealthy farmers, but not fund our troops, interesting.
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