Farm Bill Update: Farm Bill Passed Despite Presidential Veto

Last week, we talked about all that was going on with the Farm Bill and whether or not it is worth all of this commotion. In order to know if it is truly worth all the debating and wondering if Congress should’ve just stopped the bill, instead of overriding the veto, let’s travel back in time to grasp a better understanding of how the Farm Bill came to be and the importance behind it.

The Farm Bill started as the Agricultural Adjustment Act in 1933. The bill restricted production during the New Deal by paying farmers to reduce crop area. Its purpose was to reduce crop surplus to effectively raise the value of crops, thereby giving farmers relative stability again. The farmers were paid subsidies by the federal government for leaving some of their fields unused.

Now, in 2008, the Farm Bill is officially called the Food, Conservation and Energy Act, continuing its history of agricultural subsidy, as well as now pursuing areas such as energy, conservation, nutrition and rural development. With that background and acknowledging the fact that this bill is not perfect, overall it feeds the hungry, conserves the nation’s land and natural resources and keeps working farmers on their land.

Finally, after a long debate lasting nearly two years, Americans have a new Farm Bill. A bill that President Bush vetoed and called “bloated” because it went over budget. While many Americans are happy to finally have a working Farm Bill, there are some who are still concerned with the bill.

The head of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, stated that the newly passed U.S. Farm Bill sent a “bad signal” to the world; especially while talks on global trade deals are in the works. Many nations across the world are worried that this bill will negatively affect the global trade talks.

Lamy commented to a European Parliament committee that “this Farm Bill is not sending a great signal that the U.S. is serious about reducing its subsidies.” Lamy feels that this Farm Bill will delay the international trade talks between rich, developed nations and poverty-stricken, developing nations.

Even though there are concerns with the Farm Bill, people are praising Congress for overriding President Bush’s veto. Numerous Republicans differed from Bush and overrode the veto. They believed overturning the president’s veto was necessary because the Farm Bill will provide relief programs to help millions of farmers and consumers in need.

In a showing of Congressional bipartisan support, Democrats have also welcomed the bill’s passage. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said the bill is by far the most reformed bill since the 1949 Act. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) stated that this bill is for both the urban consumer and the farmer. “At a time of rising grocery costs, we increase support for those having trouble buying food for their families. The most dramatic increase is nutrition support, $10.3 billion additional spending in this Farm Bill. All of it directed towards enhancing nutrition programs,” said Pomeroy.

So the Farm Bill has now expanded to cover not only the farmer but the consumer as well. Some people love it. Others hate it. What’s your view?

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