Defying President Bush’s veto threat, the Senate joined the House Thursday in voting “yay” on the $289 billion omnibus legislation that covers everything from farm subsidies to food stamps. In both chambers, support for the bill tallied strong enough to override Bush’s threatened veto. The legislation has bitterly divided the sustainable-agriculture world. Supporters acknowledge the bill is deeply flawed, but argue it contains important gains in conservation, nutrition, and school lunch programs that would be lost if the bill failed — at least until a new and comprehensively better farm bill could be passed. Critics counter that the small victories for sustainable-ag in the current bill are paltry compared to those won by wealthy farmland owners, who managed to escape stringent subsidy caps.
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