WASHINGTON (May 13, 2008)—More than 500 farm, nutrition, and conservation organizations sent a letter to Congress today urging legislators to vote in favor of the farm bill this week. Industry insiders believe this is one of the largest group letters ever sent on an agricultural issue, showing the unity among groups with varying political and business interests.
“Communities across the nation, from urban to rural have been waiting too long for this legislation,” the letter read. “The Conference Report makes significant farm policy reforms, protects the safety net for America’s food producers, addresses important infrastructure needs for specialty crops, increases funding to feed our nation’s poor, and enhances support for important conservation initiatives.”
Signed by major commodity groups, ag lenders, crop insurers, conservation districts, churches, and more than 100 hunger organizations, the letter admitted: “This is by no means a perfect piece of legislation, and none of our organizations achieved everything we had individually requested. However, it is a carefully balanced compromise of policy priorities that has broad support among organizations representing the nation’s agriculture, conservation, and nutrition interests.”
The Farm Bill is expected to reach the House and Senate floor as soon as Wednesday, where it is expected to pass. Despite the bill’s popularity, the White House has pledged to veto it, which has lawmakers preparing for a possible veto override.
Mike Conaway, a House Member from Texas, was one of the first Republicans to signal his intentions if veto override is necessary.
“I am eager to get the Farm Bill on the House floor next week for a vote and on to the President’s desk. In the event that President Bush vetoes this legislation, I will vote to override the veto,” he said in a statement last Friday.
Lawmakers are racing the clock as the current law expires on May 16.