Bush threatens to veto farm bill

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Is President Bush finally facing down Congress on agriculture in his lame duck year? Here are the guts of tonight’s FT story by Alan Beattie:

President George W. Bush has threatened to veto the “farm bill” unless provisions he says amount to tax rises are taken out, and a cap on subsidies given to richer farmers is lowered…

Even if the White House is successful in getting Congress to trim spending, it is unlikely to make US farm programmes consistent with the offer to cut payments that Washington has already made in Doha…

Collin Peterson, the Minnesota Democrat who chairs the House of Representatives agriculture committee, has said failure to agree a bill by the expiry of the current bill on March 15 would mean reverting to a law dating from 1949 that would massively raise support prices for a range of commodities…

Reformers were dismayed by the draft House and Senate bills, which, they say, have done little to reduce the price supports that encourage overproduction and environmental degradation, and have added only minimal amounts of money for fruits and vegetable farming, which currently receives little support.

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