Farm Bill Agreement Reached

Principals have a bill to take to Congress.

Published on: May 8, 2008

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, says while some minor issues remain unresolved, negotiating on the Farm Bill was finished during a close door session of principal negotiators on Wednesday. The bill is expected to be brought to the floor of the House and Senate next Wednesday.

Details of the bill will be released Thursday at a 1:30 p.m. EDT press conference. According to Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., to be eligible for farm payments two-thirds of a farmer's income must come from farming and not exceed a level of $750,000 adjusted gross farm income. Direct payment eligibility for non-farmers will be capped at an adjusted gross income of $500,000. Negotiators moved closer to the White House's proposal on limiting subsidies, but the question remains, 'is it enough to avoid a veto?'

Deputy Ag Secretary Chuck Conner says Bush is likely to veto the bill, and White House spokesperson Dana Perino says that unless Congress gives more ground a veto will probably happen. Ranking member of the House Ag Committee Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., met with President Bush Wednesday and urged him to support the bill.

"We think there is a great deal to be said about the fiscal responsibility in this bill," says Goodlatte.
In an earlier meeting with the President Chambliss told him that he would lead an effort to override a veto of the Farm Bill. While a veto is not necessarily certain, neither is the ability of Congress to override a veto. It seems most analysts are split on whether or not Congress will be able to muster the two-thirds majority in both chambers to override. Several have said that there will be a clearer picture of what might happen once Congress votes on the bill next week.