In the same week that reports of the settlements of spinach-releated death cases were announced, millions of dollars for California citrus growers were OK’d by congressional negotiators on Monday as part of a massive spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill contains:  $20 million for citrus farmers in California to rehabilitate orchards damaged in the five-night freeze in January; $3.5 billion for agriculture disaster relief nationwide, including $1.85 billion for crop loss compensation, $1.7 billion for livestock loss compensation and $21 million for farm worker assistance grants.

Dropped was $25 million for spinach growers who suffered losses from last fall’s E. coli scare in the state. That money had been in the House version of the bill and, along with some other items, had been widely ridiculed (by me) as an example of pork-barrel spending which the White House and some lawmakers opposed.