The Washington Post reports that the solons on Capitol Hill have finalized their negotiations on the farm bill payola. The bill has wide support. The Post notes:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports the bill. Congressional leaders plan to bring it to the House and Senate floors next week for votes that could test the depth of support for it.
Here are some Post low-lights:
The package, the product of weeks of closed-door bargaining, is stuffed with plums for key constituencies. Dairy farmers will get as much as $410 million more over 10 years to cover higher feed costs, and negotiators tucked in an annual authorization of $15 million to help "geographically disadvantaged farmers" in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa and Puerto Rico.
The bill assures growers of basic crops such as wheat, cotton, corn and soybeans $5 billion a year in automatic payments, even if farm and food prices stay at record levels…
…new protections for sugar beet and sugar cane growers that will require the government to buy excess quantities of Mexican sugar and resell it to ethanol plants at a loss…
…bill increases support prices and guaranteed prices for more than a dozen crops, making the United States vulnerable to trading partners' claims that it violates subsidy limits.
Only taxpayers and consumers are the losers. President Bush says he'll veto the bill, but a lot of Republicans are in thrall to the farm lobby so this turkey of a bill is likely to pass over his veto. Go to Post story here.