In an unusual case of farm bill déjà vu, Congress voted yesterday to override President Bush’s second veto of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to override the veto by 317-109. “Today's vote will ensure that all parts of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act are enacted into law,” Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said. “Particularly considering the serious concerns about rising food prices and severe flooding affecting crops in the Midwest, this farm bill provides a critical safety net for families and farmers.”

The Senate voted 80 to 14 to override the president’s veto. Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, said the veto override, “completes action on the new farm bill, enacting the full bill, including provisions on foreign food assistance and agricultural trade.

“The White House repeatedly tried to veto this measure, but could not stand in the way of critical farm, food, conservation and energy investments becoming law. Not only did this bill pass both chambers with an overwhelming majority, but with the override votes, we held our majorities. This proves we have a good, strong, bipartisan farm bill. And after all of our hard work, it is a proud result for Congress as this critical legislation becomes law.”

Last month, Congress approved the conference report for the Food, Conservation and Energy Act (H.R. 2419). When that bill was sent to the White House, one of the bill’s 15 titles was inadvertently left out of the official copy of the bill vetoed by the President. Congress overrode the veto of H.R. 2419, which enacted 14 of the bill's 15 titles into law.

To ensure that all 15 titles are properly enacted, the House passed the Food, Conservation and Energy Act a second time with a new bill number (H.R. 6124). That bill was sent to the White House, and following President Bush's veto, the House voted yesterday to override the veto.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com