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Editorial: Bush's veto should be overridden

As expected, President Bush vetoed the Farm Bill on Wednesday, an effort that effectively repudiated years worth of work for legislators in both the Democratic and Republican parties -- work that ultimately resulted in overwhelming support for the bill in both the House and Senate.

Fortunately, Congress is expected to override the president's veto, perhaps as soon as today. There are several reasons why such action should be taken.

"This bill will have a significant impact on Minnesotans -- both rural and urban -- as it will keep the critical safety net intact, expand the use of renewable fuels, establish a permanent disaster assistance program, invest heavily in nutrition and food assistance programs, and provide for the largest conservation investment in farm bill history," stated Sen. Norm Coleman in a May 15 press release.

A few of many noteworthy details:

  • About two-thirds of the $300 billion farm bill is slated for nutritional programs, such as food stamps and emergency food aid.
  • Farmers would be paid for weather losses from a new $3.8 billion disaster relief fund.
  • Nearly $30 billion is designated for environmental and conservation programs.
  • More money from a per-gallon ethanol tax credit for refiners (which was reduced from 51 cents to 45 cents) will go to cellulosic ethanol.

"(The bill) includes a significant step toward payment reform, makes the improvements in the safety net for sugar and dairy producers that I have advocated for, and invests in landmark renewable energy initiatives, while providing for the critical nutrition and conservation programs we need," Sen. Any Klobuchar said in a statement Wednesday following Bush's veto.

"This bill will provide more flexibility for Minnesota's farmers, who will be able to plant more fruits and vegetables, instead of being locked into planting what the government requires. ... This Farm Bill includes a section I added which will make it easier for southeastern Minnesota's organic producers to participate in the Farm Bill's conservation programs," added Rep. Tim Walz, speaking to the media last week.

Our lawmakers see the importance of this new Farm Bill legislation. It's too bad the president doesn't.