President Bush vetoed a $300 billion farm bill again Wednesday after a clerical error forced Congress to send the measure to his desk for a second time. Even after realizing the bill was missing 34 pages when it was sent to Bush’s desk originally, Congress hoped he might sign it into law although it was highly unlikely since they had voted to override his veto the first time.
The discovery of the missing section, “Title III,” prompted concerns from House Republicans that the override vote was improper. In order to put “Title III” into effect, Congress re-passed the entire legislation, including the missing pages, and resent it to Bush. The House voted 306-110 at the end of May. The Senate voted 77-15 for the bill at the beginning of June.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the sections of the bill that were originally sent to the president had become law after Congress voted to override Bush’s first veto. The veto will almost assuredly be overturned again, especially after the bill was passed both houses by margins greater than the two-thirds majority required to override a veto by the Constitution.
Two-thirds of the $300 billion in spending allocated in the bill would be for nutrition programs such as food stamps. An additional $40 billion would go toward farm subsidies, and $30 billion will be allocated for payments to farms to keep land idle.
After vetoing the latest version of the farm bill, Bush on Wednesday scolded Congress for not “modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions. … I am returning this bill for the same reasons as stated in my veto message.”
When he vetoed the first version of the farm bill, Bush said it “continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase”, suggesrting that it would hurt efforts to improve American farmers’ access to overseas markets.