WASHINGTON – The U.S. Congress has passed the 2008 Farm Bill and sent it on to President George W. Bush with a veto-proof majority.


The American Meat Institute reported that the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 318 to 106. The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 81 to 15. The president is expected to veto the bill, but the measure has enough support to override the veto.


The measure will cost $289 billion over five years and includes increases of $10 billion for nutrition, $4 billion for conservation, and $1 billion for energy programs, the AMI Web site stated.


“This bill is loaded with taxpayer funded pet projects at a time when Americans are struggling to buy groceries and afford gas to get to work,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer in a statement.


Meat industry groups had strongly supported the bill. “Our goal going into the Farm Bill process was to maintain the competitiveness of the U.S. pork industry, which meant increasing funds for vital programs and keeping out any mischief,” said National Pork Producers Council President Bryan Black. “We accomplished that goal, and the 2008 Farm Bill is good for producers.”