STALLMAN: FARM BILL EXTENSION 'REGRETTABLE, NECESSARY'
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The existing farm bill has been extended 30 days to give lawmakers and White House officials additional time to craft new farm policy. The Senate unanimously approved the extension Wednesday, followed by a voice vote in the House Wednesday night.
"Although regrettable that it was necessary, Congress' additional extension of the 2002 farm bill through April 18 will allow staffers to continue work on the legislation during the spring recess," American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said.
"Spring planting across much of the country will be well under way by the time this extension expires," Stallman added. "Our farmers and ranchers need answers sooner rather than later on the final shape of this important legislation. We will continue to press for swift enactment of a new, comprehensive farm bill that maintains an adequate safety net for farmers and ranchers."
Lawmakers have not been able to agree on how to fund the new farm bill, and President Bush and White House agriculture officials have vowed repeatedly to veto legislation that is too costly and does not demonstrate reform sufficiently.
An editorial in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal takes an extremely dim view of federal farm policy, citing AFBF's support of "a new $5.1 billion emergency 'trust fund' for farmers." In the fourth paragraph, the WSJ editorializes, "So sweeping is the American Farm Bureau's victory that of the 22 crops that now receive price supports, 18 receive a more generous payment scheme under the Senate bill and 12 in the House bill."
The editorial concludes, "The only good news is that President Bush is threatening to veto this budget buster over its taxes, trade distortions and subsidies for the rich. The veto threat is at least causing the members to think twice, and may actually improve the bill. But the best outcome would be if this monster died of its own, greedy weight."