Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congress Set to Re-Play Veto Override

Yesterday May 21, seemed to be a day of uncharacteristic swiftness for the nascent farm bill. As expected, President Bush vetoed the bill and the House responded with an override vote of 316 to 108, moving the bill one step closer to a final override vote in the Senate before the holiday recess.

However, an administrative blunder rendered both the veto and the vote moot and insured that the passage of the farm bill will be sluggish as were farm bill deliberations. The error concerned a 34-page section of the bill addressing foreign aid, which was omitted from the copy of the bill submitted to the President and subsequently vetoed.

The House must now approve the corrected farm bill, which it is expected to do today, and submit the bill for approval by the Senate before issuing it for another Presidential veto and a subsequent override by both houses. Though such errors have previously been rectified through mutual agreement of the President and lawmakers, thus circumventing this kind of legislative backtracking, House Republican leaders have chosen to enforce by-the-book standards in order to emphasize the mistake by Democratic leadership.

Meanwhile, food pantries are forced to ration supplies and families across the city are struggling to stretch their Food Stamp benefits under the insufficient provisions of the 2002 farm bill.

The New York City Coalition Against Hunger and more than 1,000 national, state and local organizations signed letters demanding that Members of Congress override President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2419).

Contact your representatives today to urge them to support the Farm Bill and to vote to override the veto of the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report.

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