Farm bill becomes law, almost entirely

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Before heading out of town for its Memorial Day recess, Congress passed override votes of 316-108 in the House and 82-13 in Senate on the farm bill. Following the two votes, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 becomes law, with the exception of the bill's trade title.

The trade title was included in the conference report passed by Congress but was inadvertently left out of the official copy of the farm bill that the President vetoed. A statement from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and ranking member Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement the "action took by the House corrects the clerical error that resulted in the unintentional omission of the trade title from the enrolled farm bill and ensures that the entire farm bill is enacted into law swiftly."

The House ag leaders said most of the farm bill is now officially law and the Administration can begin implementing the new programs and policies immediately.

The Administration took advantage of the clerical error to state there was still time for Congress to correct its "bloated" farm bill. "And I think with this move it shows that they can even • screw up spending the taxpayers' money unwisely," said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. 

Thursday the House passed a new exact copy of the original bill, known as H.R. 6124, with all 15 titles. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said the Senate would take up the correction of the missing trade title in about two weeks when Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess.

The President already has pledged to repeat his veto when the new bill hits his desk, so both chambers will again vote to override. The comfortable vote margins on this week's override ballots leave little doubt the President will again lose the veto. With that the new bill will simply replace the 14-title bill that went into effect on May 22.


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