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Vetoes Farm Bill;
Filed at 1:10 p.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(AP) -- President Bush vetoed the $300 billion farm bill on Wednesday, calling
it a tax increase on regular Americans at a time of high food prices in the face
of a near-certain override by Congress.
It was the 10th veto of Bush's presidency. But since it passed both houses of
Congress with veto-proof majorities, his action will likely be overridden.
The president believes the legislation is fiscally irresponsible and gives away
too much money to wealthy farmers, yet his criticism rang hollow with lawmakers
from both parties who voted for increased crop subsidies, food stamps for the
poor and other goodies to help their districts in an election year.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said lawmakers should think twice before
they override Bush's veto.
''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,'' she said.
''People are not going to want to see their taxes increase.''
Perino said the bill is $20 billion over the current baseline -- ''way too much
to ask taxpayers right now.''
''This bill is bloated,'' she said. ''When grocery bills are on the rise,
Congress is asking families to pay more in subsidies to wealthy farmers at a
time of record farm profits.''
In announcing Bush's veto, White House budget director Jim Nussle said Bush
rejected it because it increases federal spending. He said Americans are
frustrated with wasteful government spending and the funneling of taxpayer funds
to pet projects. ''This only worsens the frustration that they will feel,''
Nussle said, adding that Congress should extend the current farm bill.
About two-thirds of the bill would pay for 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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said that the measure will drastically
increase nutrition initiatives that will help 38 million U.S. families put food
on their tables. She made it clear she would have preferred smaller farm
subsidies, but deferred to some Democratic colleagues looking ahead to the fall
Some Republicans criticized the mostly bipartisan and popular bill because a few
home-state pet causes, including tax breaks for Kentucky racehorse owners and
additional aid for salmon fishermen in the Pacific Northwest.
The bill also would:
--Boost nutrition programs, including food stamps and emergency domestic food
aid, by more than $10 billion over 10 years. It would expand a program to
provide fresh fruits and vegetables to schoolchildren.
--Increase subsidies for certain crops, including fruits and vegetables excluded
from previous farm bills.
--Extend dairy programs.
--Increase loan rates for sugar producers.
--Urge the government to buy surplus sugar and sell it to ethanol producers for
use in a mixture with corn.
--Cut a per-gallon ethanol tax credit for refiners from 51 cents to 45 cents.
The credit supports the blending of fuel with the corn-based additive. More
money would go to cellulosic ethanol, made from plant matter.
--Require that meats and other fresh foods carry labels with their country of
--Stop allowing farmers to collect subsidies for multiple farm businesses.
--Reopen a major discrimination case against the Agriculture Department.
Thousands of black farmers who missed a deadline would get a chance to file
claims alleging they were denied loans or other subsidies.
--Pay farmers for weather-related farm losses from a new $3.8 billion disaster
Bush Vetoes Farm Bill; Override Likely,
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Bush-Farm-Bill.html - broken link
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