Schafer Says President Committed to Veto

Ag Secretary thinks override may be very close.

Published on: May 12, 2008

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer held a press conference Friday afternoon in which he spoke about President Bush's intentions of vetoing the Farm Bill.

"I have visited face to face with the President," Schafer says. "He was very clear and very direct. The President will veto this bill when he gets it."

The bill is expected to be brought to the House and Senate floor on Wednesday. Once sent to the President he has 10 days to either sign or veto the legislation. Should he veto the bill, a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate would be necessary to override the veto. Schafer says maintaining a veto could be tough.

"I think it is an uphill struggle here because if you look at what happened at the end of this bill they kind of put something in there for everybody," Schafer says. "That's hard to vote against; it's hard to vote the proper direction when you've got constituents that are directly affected."

Schafer told reporters that greater reform is a must in the Farm Bill.

"We have good provisions in this farm bill, important ones in conservation and food nutrition and specialty crops and all kinds of other programs that are good," Schafer says. "But we need to get some of these elements in place. Maybe if they get the message the President is serious, they will be able to come back and be willing to provide those provisions. I'd rather see the new structure of the farm bill today if we can get the provisions that we need from the Administration's standpoint. But Congress hasn't shown a willingness to do that, so we would be looking at an extension of the current law."