Update on 2007 Farm Bill — Administration issues critique — and warning

On the eve of House consideration of the 2007 Farm Bill, the Bush Administration has just sent a statement from the Office of Management and Budget that the bill needs further reform measures or it risks veto:

The final farm bill should include further real reform, should identify offsets without gimmicks or tax increases, and should not include an expansion of Davis-Bacon. The Administration believes these concerns can be addressed by continuing to work with Congress. However, if the bill were presented to the President in its current form, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. [Underlining in original ]

The letter also deals with some measures in the bill which will invite WTO challenges:

The Administration strongly opposes increases in target prices (income support levels) and loan rates (minimum farm prices) for program crops and sugar, as they would shift the balance of support in a more potentially trade-distorting direction and possibly would encourage farmers to plant for government payments rather than according to market demand.

As a result, our trading partners would question how these changes and new cotton textile mill subsidies would be consistent with existing WTO obligations to limit trade-distorting support.

Take that, you bipartisan porkers.