WASHINGTON – President Bush on Tuesday criticized a farm bill making its way through Congress, saying it would increase spending by at least $16 billion at a time of record farm income.
Bush issued a statement intended to put pressure on House and Senate negotiators to develop legislation that would be acceptable to the White House. Last Friday, Bush signed a one-week extension of current farm law to give lawmakers more time to work.
“The farm bill proposal currently being discussed by conferees would fail several important tests that I have set forth,” the president said. “With record farm income, now is not the time for Congress to ask other sectors of the economy to pay higher taxes to increase the size of government. The proposal would increase spending by at least $16 billion, masked in part by budgetary gimmicks and funded in part by additional tax revenues.
“These tax revenue provisions are unacceptable, including tax compliance initiatives being considered by the House and Senate conference committee,” said Bush. “As important, the proposal also lacks the important reforms I’ve repeatedly called for. ”
Bush said it appeared unlikely Congress would produce an acceptable bill by Friday, and he urged the House and Senate to “provide our agricultural producers with the certainty to make sound business and planting decisions about this year’s crop by extending current law for at least one year.”
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