The Bush administration is signaling that it is prepared to veto the $300 billion farm bill that will probably come before the House of Representatives this week. Bush signed similar legislation in 2002, when his Republicans controlled the House, and he will face pressure to do so again with elections approaching next year.
U.S. crop subsidies, which date back to the Great Depression, are among the most popular programs among rural lawmakers. The legislation is backed by a coalition of Midwestern and Southern Republicans, Democrats and farm interests that has beaten back past efforts to limit such aid, including one by Bush just last month.
Despite the president's threats, a veto "is very, very unlikely to happen," said Dan Glickman, a former Democratic congressman who was agriculture secretary under President Bill Clinton. "There are a lot of potentially vulnerable Republican members in the House right now. The numbers don't look great for their party anyway, and this is part of their base."
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