H.R. 2419, the Food, Conservation and Energy Security Act of 2008, better known as the 2008 Farm Bill, was passed by the House on May 14, the Senate on May 15, and vetoed by the President on May 21. On May 21, the House overrode the President’s veto, and the Senate did the same on May 22. But, the version of the Farm Bill that was sent to the President and which he vetoed on May 21 did not contain Title III – the trade title. Thus, the President did not veto the entire Bill. While both the House and Senate overrode the President’s veto, a Constitutional question remained as to whether the President’s veto and/or the override votes had any effect.
The House passed a substantively identical Farm Bill - H.R. 6124 on May 22. The Senate passed H.R. 6124 (with the same title as H.R. 2419) on June 5. H.R. 6124 repeals H.R. 2419 in its entirety. This time, hopefully, the entire Bill will be sent to the President for his signature or veto (or the Bill could become law by the President simply not signing it by June 15). If the President vetoes the Bill, the Congress will have to undertake another override vote. At this time, however, it looks like the Congress has the votes to override any Presidential veto.
While the legislation is comprehensive and deals with numerous non-tax provisions, this is the first time that a Farm Bill has contained substantial tax legislation. In general, the Farm Bill is a net tax increase - it contains more revenue-raising offsets than tax breaks. That feature of the Bill was one factor in why the President vetoed the Bill. The article below provides a detailed discussion of the Farm Bill tax provisions, but for those readers looking for a quick “heads-up” on the tax provisions, that is provided first.