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Archive for Friday, May 23, 2008

Congress enacts farm bill

May 23, 2008

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— Congress enacted a massive farm bill Thursday with new and bigger subsidies for farmers, plus more food stamps for the poor.

But first Democrats had to eat a little crow that dimmed the election-year victory of overriding President Bush's veto for only the second time during his seven years in office.

Omitted from the $290 billion, five-year law because of a printing mistake was a small amount of money to address a growing global hunger crisis. Democrats only realized the mistake on Wednesday, just before the House voted 316-108 to override Bush's veto.

The Senate joined the override Thursday with a 82-13 vote. Eager to begin a Memorial Day vacation, the issue of helping starving countries was left for another day.

"I take responsibility for what happened here," said a chagrined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She said her reaction was "uncustomarily crude" upon learning that the 34 pages dealing with international food aid and trade were omitted from the bill sent to Bush.

Republicans and the White House accused the Democrats of incompetence.

"It seems that the congressional debate on the pork-laden farm bill is coming to an inglorious conclusion," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

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