Disputes And Delays Abound On Farm Bill

US - With a presidential veto threat looming, a new farm bill could rest not just on whether it passes the Senate but by how many votes.
calendar icon 8 November 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Ia., predicted that the $288 billion bill would "get a big margin" in the Senate, more than the two-thirds majority necessary to overcome a veto.

In July, the House approved its version of the farm bill 231-191, well short of a veto-proof margin.

The Bush administration has threatened vetoes of both the House and Senate bills for similar reasons, including tax measures that were added to pay for increased spending.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the administration was using the veto threats to get negotiating leverage when a House-Senate conference committee works on a compromise between the two versions.

In the House, many Republicans dropped their support for the farm bill after Democrats added a measure that would raise taxes on foreign corporations that have U.S. subsidiaries. The House bill also would tap oil company royalties to pay for bioenergy programs.

The Senate bill has a different set of tax measures, including new rules for corporate tax shelters, that would raise $13.3 billion over five years.

Charles Conner, the acting agriculture secretary, said the administration doesn't believe "other sectors should be asked to pay additional taxes for farm programs, especially when the current bill continues providing farm subsidies to millionaires living on Park Avenue."

The administration spelled out its objections to the bill in a seven-page statement released Tuesday.

Source: DesMoinesRegister

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