Rep. Tim Walz says farm bill vote could come next weekby Sea Stachura, Minnesota Public Radio
Rochester, Minn. — Democratic Rep. Tim Walz said a new five-year farm bill could get a vote as early as next week. Congress will likely pass another one week extension of the current farm law.
Walz said the bill would cut more than $300 million in direct subsidy payments to farmers. He said the cuts may not be enough for the president, but he said both the House and Senate have strong support for the bill.
"We're very optimistic at least that this thing could be on the foor as early as next week. We will probably vote later this afternoon for another one week extension," Walz said.
Current farm law expires at the end of the week.
President George W. Bush, who called the farm bill "massive" and "bloated," said the bill needs to reduce farm subsidies at a time of record crop prices, and he has threatened to veto it.
Republican Sen. Norm Coleman said he will work to override a presidential veto.
Coleman said the nation needs a farm bill that helps feed hungry people and provides a strong safety net for farmers.
"I believe that would be a terible mistake," he said. "The president's wrong if he vetoes the farm bill. I will work very aggressively to override that veto. You know perhaps we won't get to that point but this is not -- the farm bill is not a partisan bill."
Coleman and other farm bill supporters say the legislation contains significant reforms. Coleman would not say whether he thinks a congressional override attempt would be successful if the president follows through on his veto threat.
Walz said he believes lawmakers who support the farm bill have enough votes to override a potential presidential veto.
Walz said Bush's calls for fiscal responsibility in the farm bill are laughable in light of the spending in Iraq.
(Mark Zdechlik contributed to this report.)