The House Calls Do-Over; Republicans Get a Second Chance
Yesterday, President Bush vetoed the $290 billion farm bill for exceeding his budget request. Democrats were poised to triumphantly reject that veto (with the aid of helpful congressional Republicans), but it turns out he didn’t veto the right version of the farm bill.
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.
Senate Democrats are trying to avoid passing the whole bill again for fear that their Republican colleagues will have grown some balls since the original vote. Instead, they want to override the veto and then pass separate legislation for the omitted portion.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Senate Republicans getting their acts together. They seem completely unable to understand why they’re losing the support of voters, especially voters who cannot be bought with food stamps or farm subsidies. In November they will be scratching their heads wondering what they did wrong.