Senate action puts complete Farm Bill into law

June 18, 2008 07:00 PM
 

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act -- the complete version -- is now law via votes held Wednesday in the U.S. Senate and House to override the veto of the bill by President Bush.

Last night, the Senate voted 80-14 to override Bush's veto of the bill while the House earlier Wednesday voted 317-109 to override.

"It has been a long time coming, but the veto override in the Senate completes action on the new farm bill, enacting the full bill, including provisions on foreign food assistance and agricultural trade," Senate Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said. "The White House repeatedly tried to veto this measure, but could not stand in the way of critical farm, food, conservation and energy investments becoming law. Not only did this bill pass both chambers with an overwhelming majority, but with the override votes, we held our majorities. This proves we have a good, strong, bipartisan farm bill. And after all of our hard work, it is a proud result for Congress as this critical legislation becomes law."

The legislation arrived at the White House earlier this week and Bush delivered his promised veto of the plan. "The bill that I vetoed on May 21, 2008, HR 2419, which became Public Law 110-234, did not include the title III provisions that are in this bill," Bush said in a statement outlining the veto. "In passing HR 6124, the Congress had an opportunity to improve on HR 2419 by modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions. Unfortunately, the Congress chose to send me the same unacceptable farm bill provisions in HR 6124, merely adding title III. I am returning this bill for the same reasons as stated in my veto message of May 21, 2008, on HR 2419."

And Bush acknowledged that it was unusual for a president to veto a farm bill, noting that the only prior veto of such a plan came in 1956. "President Eisenhower stood firmly on principle, citing high crop subsidies and too much government control of farm programs among the reasons for his veto," Bush stated. "President Eisenhower wrote in his veto message, 'Bad as some provisions of this bill are, I would have signed it if in total it could be interpreted as sound and good for farmers and the nation.' For similar reasons, I am vetoing the bill before me today."

With the trade title now enacted into law, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can begin moving aid shipments which the agency said were delayed due to the mix up that saw only 14 of the 15 titles of the bill make it to President Bush in May. The Associated Press reported that shipments to Ethiopia, Myanmar and Somalia were delayed because of the snafu.

Ironically, despite multiple votes that have now been held on the farm bill, neither of the presumptive presidential nominees -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) -- have cast a vote either for or against the bill. Sen. Obama has said he supports the bill while McCain has expressed his opposition to the package. But when they face rural voters in November, they can't back up their position with a recorded vote.

Here's a link to read more about the House action on the plan.

Here's a link to see how individual Senators voted.


 

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