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What’s At Stake

May 23, 2008

The future of the farm bill remains uncertain.

Here’s the good news: Yesterday the House again approved the farm bill by 306 to 110 and the Senate quickly voted to support the bill by a majority of 82 to 13. Both of these votes were sufficient to override President Bush’s veto (Wednesday).

The problem is that this vote was to override Bush’s veto on the “original” farm bill – which suffered from an administrative glitch that failed to include a 34-page section on foreign aid, which accounts for only $200 million, or less than one percent, of farm bill spending.

Despite yesterday’s victory, therefore, some doubt the constitutionality of this vote and Senate will again have to vote on the bill. The question is: Will they vote on the bill in its entirety or only on the section that was previously omitted? Either way, Bush will also have another opportunity to veto the “new” bill after the Senate votes.

In the midst of this political squabbling, let us not forget that 66% of the funds allocated for the farm bill will provide additional funding to food stamps and other essential nutritional assistance programs that provide low-income Americans with the support they desperately need in these difficult economic times.

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