May 13, 2008

Bush Administration Will Veto Farm Bill

Congress Promises to Act Blameless

This stationary dome has passed as many Farm Bills this year as the fully mobile Representatives have.

On May 9th, Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schaefer told reporters, “I have visited face to face with the President. He was very clear and very direct. The President will veto this bill when he gets it.”

Well, we all saw that coming. The 2007 Farm Bill was already slouching when it was introduced in May 2007, and has received a barrage of verbal assaults from every interest group imaginable in the year since then. What better end to this poor, tortured bill then to have it dragged back through Congress for an encore performance?

I would like to think that the veto would, as we learned in middle school civics class, give Congress a chance to revisit those issues that were too extreme so that a bland, uncontroversial version can make it through a 2/3rds majority. But who are we kidding? “Bland” means easier to stomach, and in Congress that translates to bribing Senators and House Reps by funding their pet projects, pushing up the cost of a bill that already carries a 286 billion dollar price tag.

I understand that subsidies are going to millionaires. I understand that direct payments are being given across the board regardless of crop price. I understand that we need more money for the McGovern-Dole Program, nutrition for low-income residents, and decreased spending. The valid arguments are everywhere and the people making the arguments all sound right. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about it as we ramp up for another Farm Bill in 2012. But on May 16th programs are going to start getting cut and the present Congressional/Presidential duo is already a year late getting its homework done. At some point you just have to stop and say that if no one is happy, it’s a sign of decent legislation.

The President will veto. That’s frustrating. But if Congress sends this thing into another tailspin once they get it back, that’s even worse.


RE: said...

Did not this bill recently pass with enough votes to overturn any Bush veto? P.S. Nice post Vince.

Matt Siemer said...

Hi RE:,

Thanks for reminding me to update. Yes, after my post Congress did pass the Farm Bill by a margin that can repell a veto. I hope that is an indication that the bill won't be debated when it comes back, and can be pushed through without incident.

Considering the life this bill has had so far, though, we'd better not count on that.

I'll be keeping an eye out.