Congress overrides president's farm bill veto

By Kris Bevill | May 09, 2008
Web exclusive posted May 22, 2008 at 8:24 p.m. CST

Congress almost did it. Hours after President George W. Bush vetoed the farm bill May 21, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to override his veto, 318 to 106. An override vote by the U.S. Senate was all that was needed to make the long-awaited bill law. Then the "oops" was discovered.

A congressional aide had inadvertently dropped an entire portion of the bill before sending it to the president at the White House. That meant the bill Bush vetoed was incomplete and wasn't the same version passed by Congress.

The blunder was an unprecedented occurrence on Capitol Hill.

This morning, the House re-passed the bill by a vote of 306-110. Stephanie Lundberg, spokesman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-N.Y., said there was some debate as to whether or not the entire bill needed to be re-passed or if the representatives could just re-vote on the portion of the bill that was dropped. It was decided to pass the whole thing again.

A few hours later the U.S. Senate voted to override the president's veto by a count of 82 to 13, enacting the bill into law - minus Title 3, the 35-page trade title that was omitted from the President's copy.

Lundberg said it's still unclear as to what the Senate's next step needs to be in order to pass the trade title. The House re-passed the entire bill so it's up to the Senate to decide what the next move should be. Options include a separate vote to pass the Title 3 section of the bill or an extension to postpone consideration until after the Memorial Day break. The previous extension for the farm bill was set to expire tomorrow. Lundberg said it was unclear what would happen if neither a vote nor an extension was granted by that time.