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Politics

Bush signs one-week extension of federal farm bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush has signed into law a stopgap measure keeping Agriculture Department programs running for a week, the White House said on Sunday, allowing lawmakers time to sort out a $289 billion farm bill.

Bush has promised to veto the bill that expands programs to help feed poor Americans on grounds it subsidizes multimillionaire farmers while Americans face higher food prices.

Two-thirds of farm bill spending would go to public nutrition programs. Ten million people would benefit from changes in the food-stamp program. An additional $125 million a year would be spent on donations to food pantries.

The U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval on Thursday and lawmakers said Congress could easily override a presidential veto.

Senate Agriculture Committee chairman Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, said the override could be completed by the end of this week.

Senators passed the bill by a veto-proof margin of 81-15. The House passed the bill, 318-106, on Wednesday. To override a veto, each chamber must call a new vote and pass the bill by a two-thirds majority.

Writing by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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