Saturday, May 24, 2008

Farm Bill Enacted, or At Least Most of It

On May 14, the House passed the conference report on the farm bill, a five-year, approximately $300 billion package that includes something for everyone to like and something for everyone to dislike, with a veto proof margin of 318-106. On May 15, the Senate passed the report, 81-15.

As Mike Soraghan reported in The Hill, the official "parchment" copy of the 1768 page bill that was sent to the President and subsequently vetoed was missing 34 pages due to a clerical error. Perhaps they should have emailed a pdf. As a result, the bill that the President vetoed did not include Title III, one of fifteen of the bill’s titles, the one that deals with trade and international food-assistance programs.

The House Democrats quickly passed a second, full version of the 1,768-page bill, again by a veto-proof margin, 306-110. The Senate, however, chose not to take up the House-passed bill and instead completed the override. They indicated that the missing title could be passed separately. The result, however, was a political squabble with House Republicans.

A press release from the House Agriculture Committee explained, "[m]ost of the farm bill is now law and the Administration can begin implementing the new programs and policies immediately."

As noted in the following video, the White House and the media has had a field day talking about the embarrassment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will note that Title 10 of the Senate's version of the Farm Bill was greatly clipped in the conference bill. This is what $492,000 lobbying in the first quarter of the year by Tyson will get you.

This bill was long on spending and short on justice.

Is this what we can expect from our leaders?

By not having Title 10 written in as law, the politicians have once again given the enforcement back to the USDA who have a real history of not being able to perform this responsibility and has received criticisms from the GAO, the OIG and other watchdog agencies. They have even been caught lying to Congress. With the enforcement back at the USDA, the oversight responsibilities or lack thereof by Congress becomes more important. It also allows for more opportunity for the kind of "free speech" that money buys. Justice becomes a political issue rather than a legal issue.

In short, the Farm Bill is a compromise between politicians, not statesmen.

It allows us to have the best kind of government money can buy.

5/28/2008 6:47 PM  

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