House overwhelmingly OKs farm bill

May 14, 2008 at 8:38 PM

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. House Wednesday approved a $300 billion farm bill by a margin well over the number of votes required to override a promised presidential veto.

The House voted 318 to 106 to approve and send to the Senate a bill President George Bush said Tuesday he would veto. Support for the bill in the Senate appears to be strong enough to make it unlikely Congress would sustain a veto, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Wednesday vote in the House saw 100 Republicans join 218 Democrats in voting in favor of the bill.

The vote may be a sign that lawmakers are averse to bucking popular opinion in an election year and may also be an indication that Republicans are putting some distance between themselves and Bush as his term in office nears an end, the newspaper said.

The White House Wednesday called the farm bill "fit for the compost heap" because, among other things, it provides too much federal aid to well off farmers.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., defended the bill, saying it would benefit "urban, suburban and rural areas." Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the committee's ranking Republican said much of the funding would go toward nutrition, alternate-energy and conservation programs, the Times said.

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