Clinton vetoes bill, presses Legislature for

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers scrambled Thursday to resurrect the agriculture spending bill after President Clinton vetoed it on grounds that a $4.2 billion Republican-sponsored emergency farm aid plan was too small.
Clinton rejected the $60 billion agriculture bill late Wednesday, following through on a warning last weekend that Republicans should add more money to the aid plan.
“I have repeatedly stated that I would veto any emergency farm assistance bill if it did not adequately address our farmers’ immediate needs, and this bill does not do enough,” Clinton said in a veto letter to lawmakers Thursday.
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman praised Clinton for doing the right thing. “They (farmers) deserve much better than this bill provides,” Glickman said.
Democrats want to pass a $7.3 billion emergency aid package, saying the farm industry is in turmoil and needs more money. But Republicans complain the Democrats’ plan, which relies mostly on giving farmers an extra $5 billion through a program that subsidizes growers when commodity prices fall below set levels, is a throwback to the days before the 1996 farm bill when subsidies were tied to crop production.
GOP leaders favor their plan, which offers a mix of disaster relief and about $1.7 billion in direct payments to farmers.
“It is a disgrace the president chose to abandon American farmers in their hour of need,” said House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “Rather than offering support in these uncertain times, the president has offered partisan politics and callous disregard.”
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said the GOP plan was simply too inadequate to respond to the farm crisis.
The entire agriculture bill, which includes spending for school lunch, food stamp and food safety programs as well as for agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, is on hold until lawmakers reach a compromise.