CONGRESS VOTES TO OVERRIDE PRESIDENT’S VETO OF FARM BILL
Measure receives bipartisan support
Today, U.S Congressman Henry Cuellar joined a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives by voting in support to override the President’s veto of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill. The override passed the House by a vote of 316 to 108.
The President vetoed the bill Wednesday afternoon.
This bipartisan support the override received will strengthen American agriculture to meet the 21st Century needs of the United States and the world with a safe, stable food supply, and will help ease the strain of rising food prices for millions of families. The bill also takes a first step on much-needed reforms to farm payments, and makes a substantial commitment to land conservation and to the fruit and vegetable industry.
The bill is expected to expand food security programs, protect vital natural resources, promote healthier foods and local food networks, and reform commodity and biofuel programs to reflect the nation’s priorities.
The bill, which includes a total of $286 billion in funding, will increase nutrition programs by $10.4 billion that will help 38 million families afford healthy food and $1.25 billion of vital assistance to food banks, including $50 million that will address shortages at food pantries. The bill also assists schools in providing healthy snacks to students, with $1 billion being used for more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Also in the Farm Bill is Congressman Cuellar’s provision to help fund and implement the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program. The program calls for research and grants to be made available to study cattle fever ticks to facilitate understanding of the role of wildlife in the spread of cattle fever ticks. Also included is information to improve the management of diseases relating to cattle fever ticks that are associated with wildlife, livestock, and human health.
A reform in farm programs is also included as part of the bill, which includes a standing disaster assistance program for crops stricken by catastrophic natural disasters such as drought and flood. It also provides supplemental income when farmers are struggling and makes food labeling of the meat supply and produce mandatory.
Conservation programs will also be boosted by $7.9 billion to help reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water and air quality, and increase wildlife habitat and reduce damage caused by flood and other natural disasters. Fruit and vegetable owners will also benefit from more than $1.3 billion for new programs that support research, pest management, trade promotion and nutrition for the industry.
The bill also invests $1 billion in renewable energy focusing on new technologies and new sources, including $320 million in loan guarantees for biorefineries that produce advanced biofuels.