NFU Statement: House Overrides Farm Bill Veto
WASHINGTON (May 21, 2008) – National Farmers Union President Tom Buis commended the U.S. House of Representatives today for voting to override the president’s veto of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. The Senate is anticipated to follow suit tomorrow.
“This has been a long process and it is time to put into place the many programs that will benefit millions of Americans.
“Overall this is a good bill that improves upon current law by making much needed improvements in conservation, nutrition, anti-hunger, farm, ranch, rural development, fruits and vegetables, livestock and other vital programs.
“I commend the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, Chairmen Peterson and Ranking Member Goodlatte and Reps. Rangel, Pomeroy and DeLauro; and all the members who supported the farm bill. Comprehensive legislation such as this is always difficult, but it would not have happened without the hard work, dedication, and leadership of these members working together in a bipartisan manner.
“The 2008 Farm Bill reduces overall spending and takes steps to reform commodity program participation. Even the president should understand that this bill is an improvement over the one he signed and publicly praised in 2002. While the president has repeatedly criticized commodity payments, it should be noted he has the authority to limit non-farmer participation and for his nearly eight years in office he has chosen to do nothing about it.
“The president’s veto shows how out of touch this administration is with what is happening in real-world America. Using today’s commodity prices as justification to oppose the bill does not utilize lessons learned that gravity works and what goes up will come down. Any farm bill works in periods of good times; Congress is responsible to write a farm bill for the difficult times. Ironically, the administration’s farm bill policy proposal would have actually increased subsidies to farmers in high price years.
“Finally, the president referenced high food prices in his justification for vetoing the bill. He should know, as USDA has said, that farmers receive less than 20 cents of every retail food dollar. If you want to know the real culprit of higher food prices, look at the skyrocketing costs of energy. In addition, this farm bill makes a huge new commitment to nutrition and anti-hunger programs, more than ever before, to help those with limited incomes to address higher food prices.
“America’s farmers and ranchers have been providing an abundance of safe, affordable food and fiber since the birth of this great nation. I think the Congress did a good job under very difficult conditions to address many of the challenges we face in America.”