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Congress overrides veto of bloated farm bill

Posted by Richard on May 22, 2008

Yesterday, President Bush vetoed this year's 673-page, $300 billion* farm bill, which is even more of an abomination than most farm bills:

While it continues and, in some cases, expands traditional farm subsidies, the 673-page measure is stuffed with billions of dollars of new money for anti-hunger programs, conservation programs, fruit and vegetable growers and the biofuels industry.

"Members are going to have to think about how they will explain these votes back in their districts at a time when prices are on the rise," said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. "People are not going to want to see their taxes increase."

She added, "Congress is asking families to pay more in subsidies to wealthy farmers at a time of record farm profits."

Not only that, but Congress is also paying farmers to keep land idle and to devote more of their acreage to corn for ethanol at a time of record commodity prices, rising grocery bills, and international warnings about hunger and famine. 

Nothing better exemplifies the hypocrisy and corruption in Congress than comparing their treatment of Big Oil — they grill energy company CEOs and self-righteously chide them for their record profits and tax breaks — versus their treatment of Big Agriculture — they lavish tens of billions in direct subsidies on ADM and its fellow feeders at the public trough (who are also making record profits).

The House overrode the veto within hours, and the Senate followed suit today. Both did so by lopsided margins — there's no shortage of Republicans eager to join the Democrats in keeping the pork projects and special interest subsidies flowing. 

But hold your horses! The current Congressional leadership is not only extremely liberal, it's also inept. The version of the bill that they sent to the President is different from the one they actually passed:

Due to a printing glitch, the version that Bush vetoed was missing 34 pages on international food aid and trade _ a mistake that may require Congress to send the White House yet another bill.

The printing error turned a triumphant political victory into a vexing embarrassment for Democrats.

The party's leaders in the House decided to pass the bill again, including the missing section in the version that Bush got. That vote was 306-110, again enough to override another veto from Bush should the need arise.

Democratic leadership aides said the Senate will deal with the problem when Congress returns in June from a one-week vacation.

House Republicans used the error to plead Democratic incompetence. They complained that Bush vetoed a different bill from the one Congress passed, raising questions that the eventual law would be unconstitutional.

Well, at least there were some Republicans who actually objected to both the bill and the travesty of a process. Most of them seem to have embraced bipartisanship. You remember what bipartisanship means, don't you? It's when the members of the stupid party and the evil party get together and do something that's both stupid and evil. 

* I've seen price tags ranging from $289 billion to $330 billion, apparently because of some sleight-of-hand and gimmickry in the bill that makes the actual cost hard to determine.

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