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GOP Farm Rescue Plan May Be Vetoed

September 25, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Clinton administration is threatening to veto any congressional farm bailout that is inconsistent with a $7.1 billion plan that the president has proposed.

House and Senate Republican leaders have proposed spending $3.9 billion to help farmers overcome a combination of low commodity prices and weather-related crop failures.

The chief difference in the two plans is a $5 billion boost in government price supports sought by Midwest Democrats.

In a letter to congressional leaders Thursday, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman did not mention the GOP plan but he said Congress must provide ``income-based assistance consistent″ with the president’s proposal, including the increase in price supports. Glickman said he would recommend a veto of legislation that falls short.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., praised President Clinton. ``He’s putting the full force of the administration behind our position, which in my mind is very, very encouraging.″

The government supports prices through commodity marketing loans. Producers receive payments on the difference between the government’s loan rate and local crop prices, or they can borrow money at the loan rate and pay it back at the price they can sell their crops for.

The administration is seeking an increase in loan rates that would provide farmers an extra 60 cents a bushel on wheat and 30 cents more on corn.

Republicans fear the loan-rate increase would encourage overproduction and they say it does nothing to help farmers in the South who don’t have crops to sell because of this summer’s drought. The GOP plan includes $1.7 billion in direct payments to all growers and $1.5 billion in disaster relief for this year’s crop failures.

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