It appears Congress has the votes to override a veto should President Bush reject the Farm Bill. The bill passed the Senate today on an 81 to 15 vote. The House passed the farm bill Wednesday by a margin that is 35 votes more than are needed to override a presidential veto.
President Bush has favored larger cuts in farm subsidies, including a provision that would forbid federal payments to farmers who earn more than 200-thousand dollars a year. The final version of the farm bill does have some payment limitations. For example, individuals who earn half a million or more in "non-farm" income would not be eligible for federal farm payments.
The bill outlines about 40 billion dollars in farm subsidies, plus another 30 billion to pay farmers to idle land for conservation purposes. However, two-thirds of the spending in the farm bill goes to federal programs which provide food for the needy. Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators voted for the farm bill.
Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, was on the conference committee which drafted the final version. Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat who heads the Senate Ag Committee, was co-chair of that conference committee.