Farm Bill

It appears that Congress overrode the President’s veto on (most of) the Farm Bill today.  (Due to a clerical error, the bill that was sent to Bush omitted an entire title — earlier today, it looked like they might have to pass the whole bill over again, but apparently they’ve decided that they can override the veto on what was sent to him today, and deal with the last title after the Memorial Day recess.)

The bad news is that the bill continues huge subsidies for agribusiness, at a time when commodity prices are at record highs.  The good news is that it contains some real improvements for the Food Stamp program (now to be called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) — increasing the average benefit by increasing the amount of income that is assumed to be needed for purposes other than food, allowing more  child care expenses to be deducted, allowing the employment and training program to help people buy the equipment and uniforms they need to start a job, adjusting the asset limit for inflation over time.  There’s also more money for WIC (which is *not* an entitlement, and can run out of money when lots of people apply.)

So, how do you weigh these issues?  People I generally trust don’t all come down on the same side of this. Parke Wilde at the US Food Policy blog is pretty disappointed.  He’s astonished to find himself agreeing with the President’s criticisms of the bill.  The Food Research and Action Center is thrilled to finally pass the nutrition title improvements.

I’m more on the FRAC side of this argument.  While this is definitely a bill I need to hold my nose to support, I don’t see any other way that we could have gotten the nutrition title improvements.  While the White House may not have actively opposed these improvements, they sure weren’t going to put pressure on wavering Republicans to support them in a freestanding bill.

2 Responses to “Farm Bill”

  1. Rachel Says:

    The changes to the food stamp program sound good, but I’m against farm subsidies. Our subsidies are part of the reason for the global food crisis. I think it’s immoral for politicians here to support agribusiness at the expense of starving people in other countries. Of course our screwy electoral system is the problem, because rural votes count for so much more than urban ones.

  2. dave.s. Says:

    This YouTube is set on a farm. So, click!
    http://scienceblogs.com/clock/2008/09/how_hard_is_it_to_put_a_lipsti.php

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