Congress Forgets Part of Farm Bill

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The U.S. Congress, which some of you may remember as a third branch of government, roused itself this week to override President Bush’s veto of a popular farm bill.  That was the plan, at least, until somebody noticed that they had forgotten to send part of the original bill to the White House.  So technically, Bush did not veto the same bill Congress actually passed, and nobody seems to have a clue what happens now.

Apparently, bills are printed on fancy parchment before being officially sent to the executive branch for signature (or veto), but Democratic leaders said that a 34-page section of the 628-page bill somehow didn’t make it.  Bush vetoed what was sent to him, although strangely he does not appear to have noticed the omission during his usual painstakingly careful reading of the legislation prior to acting upon it.  Not until after the House had voted to override the apparent veto did anybody notice that Title III was missing.

Seems to me (and this is entirely without research) that Congress passed a bill that the President has not yet had a chance to sign or veto.  He vetoed something else.  So nothing has happened to the original bill either way.   It isn’t clear to me why they don’t just print the actual bill now — this time possibly having somebody check the page numbers — and send it up there.  If they sent him a bill, and for some reason he vetoed his copy of Everybody Poops, wouldn’t they just put the bill back in front of him?

For whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to be possible.  Democrats were scrambling to get the whole bill with all its pages passed again before everybody goes home for vacation.  The White House, though, was enjoying the screwup and in no hurry to help along what it sees as a bloated and expensive bill.

The White House, too, purported to be baffled by what to do next.  "We are trying to understand the ramifications of this," said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman.  "We haven’t found a precedent for a congressional blunder of this magnitude."

You haven’t?  Where’ve you been looking, in your fridge?

Link: CBS News