June 19, 2008

CARDIN, MIKULSKI APPLAUD 2ND SENATE OVERRIDE OF PRESIDENTIAL VETO OF FARM BILL

Bill Provides Unprecedented Funding For Chesapeake Bay

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD), today strongly praised the Senate for swift action in overriding President Bush's second veto of the Farm Bill.   The bill will provide $438 million and an unprecedented guarantee of funding for environmental programs that help protect the Chesapeake Bay, America's largest estuary, and also includes increased funding for food and nutrition programs.   By a 80 to 14 vote, the Senate overrode the President's veto; earlier in the day, the House also overrode the President's veto by a vote of 317 to 109.

 

In May, the Farm Bill was enacted by Congress, vetoed by the President and overridden by Congress.   However, 34 pages were missing from the bill, forcing Congress to pass the bill again.  

 

"I am pleased that my colleagues acted quickly in overriding the President's veto so that we can move forward in providing farmers with the resources they need to restore and protect the Bay," said Senator Cardin.   "This is a farm bill that is good for American agriculture, good for American farmers, and good for all of us who go to the grocery store every week."

 

 "I am proud to stand with my colleagues to again reject the President's misguided veto of this critical bill.  This bill represents a major victory for the farmers and families who rely on the Bay -- for the first time, the Bay is receiving a mandatory federal investment," said Senator Mikulski.  "I will continue to do everything I can to stand up for the Chesapeake Bay."

 

 In addition to $438 million over 10 years to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the Farm Bill provides record funding levels of more than $10 billion for key nutritional programs including $1.25 billion for food banks and increased funding for the school lunch and Women's Infant and Children (WIC) programs. The bill also contains a major increase in the Food Stamp Program, the nation's largest anti-hunger program. Currently, more than 317,000 Maryland families depend on food stamps, and the farm bill will fund $5.4 billion over 10 years for the program, providing 131,000 Marylanders with additional benefits.

 

Maryland's 12,100 farms cover more than 2 million acres and produce $1.3 billion of agricultural products annually. The farm bill provides support for Maryland's growing number of organic farmers and adds benefits to small farmers, including family farms across Maryland.