CRAWFORD, Texas – President Bush told farmers near his ranch Wednesday that a new agricultural spending bill is good for them, though it will contain $2 billion less than many lawmakers had sought.
Joining five area corn farmers for lunch at a cafe, Bush said the $7.5 billion farm authorization defeated in the Senate last week would have contained too much wasteful spending.
Democrats failed to break a Republican filibuster of the measure, which had been approved by the Agriculture Committee, and instead the Senate approved $5.5 billion in farm assistance.
"Some folks tried to increase the (spending measure), but that money wasn't going to the farmers, it was going for other matters," Bush said. "The extra money they tried to put on it would have busted the budget and wasn't going to the farmers."
Bush had threatened to veto the larger spending bill.
"The bill I'm going to sign here next week, it gets to the farmers who are farming," Bush said.
Bush also pledged to restructure federal farm programs next year so that the money goes to those who need it.
Finishing his remarks, Bush dismissed reporters from the Coffee Station. "Having said that, now we can eat," Bush said, waving the journalists away with a smile.
He and first lady Laura Bush ordered cheeseburgers. They stopped at the hub of tiny downtown Crawford on the fourth full day of their monthlong vacation. A sign outside the restaurant read, "Mr. and Mrs. Bush, come by."