Farm Subsidies

This Is What Happens When No One Actually Reads the Bill

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More farm bill fun:

The House overwhelmingly rejected President Bush's veto Wednesday of a $290 billion farm bill, but what should have been a stinging defeat for the president became an embarrassment for Democrats.

Only hours before the House's 316-108 vote, Bush had vetoed the five-year measure, saying it was too expensive and gave too much money to wealthy farmers when farm incomes are high. The Senate then was expected to follow suit quickly.

Action stalled, however, after the discovery that Congress had omitted a 34-page section of the bill when lawmakers sent the massive measure to the White House.

That means Bush vetoed a different bill from the one Congress passed, raising questions that the eventual law would be unconstitutional. Republicans objected when Democrats proposed passing the missing section separately and sending that to Bush.

In order to avoid those potential problems, House Democrats hoped to pass the entire bill, again, on Thursday under expedited rules usually reserved for unopposed legislation. The Senate was expected to follow suit. The correct version would then be sent to Bush under a new bill number for another expected veto.

Lawmakers also will have to pass an extension of current farm law, which expires Friday.

This may be my favorite foulup since New York's electors voted for an imaginary presidential candidate called "John L. Kerry." Alas, the story will still almost certainly end with the bill enshrined as a law.