Congress sends farm bill to White House

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Tuesday Congress sent H.R. 2419, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 to President Bush. The bill passed the House of Representatives with a vote of 318-106 and passed the Senate with a vote of 81-15 last week. President Bush is expected to veto the bill yet today.

"I hope that President Bush will seriously consider the many positive steps this bill takes to improve nutrition programs that are important to so many Americans, particularly during these difficult economic times; to expand and improve conservation programs that help farmers protect the environment; to continue and improve the safety net for farmers; to support fruit and vegetable producers and to encourage renewable energy production from cellulosic sources," House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said.

"We made every effort to work with Administration officials throughout the Farm Bill process, even when they showed no interest in coming to compromise on these important issues," Peterson added. "While the President has pledged to veto the bill, I hope that the strong, bipartisan votes in the House and Senate will demonstrate its importance to the American people and lead him to sign it into law."

The current extension of the 2002 Farm Bill expires on Friday, May 23, 2008.

Again on Monday Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer reiterated several items in the bill that were reasons to veto the farm bill including extending the 54-cent ethanol tariff on imported ethanol and requirements on international food aid.

"The President is going to veto this bill. Whether he gets overridden or sustained we're going to see here in a few weeks, and then we'll go from there," Schafer said.

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