What Does Cantor’s Loss Mean for Agriculture?

DC Dialogue

House ag spending bill held up as well as some hopes that immigration reform can occur before this fall’s elections.

Published on: June 13, 2014

The No. 2 Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., loss in a primary June 10 has already created ripple effects and uncertainty in the path forward for the House this summer.

Cantor has resigned effective July 31, leading to scheduling leadership changes in the House postponing debate on the ag spending bill until a later time in the summer.

Agriculture appropriations subcommittee chairman Robert Aderholt’s, R-Ala., chief of staff Brian Rell said in an email Thursday afternoon that the “timing for continuing the bill is a l‎ittle fluid right now.”

During the week of June 16, the Senate planned to consider the agriculture bill with two other spending bills that have already passed the House, but that was with the assumption that the House would finish the agriculture bill earlier in the week.

The uncertainty raises the question whether the Senate will proceed with its plan to take up its agriculture bill as part of a “minibus” during the week with other legislation, the National Association of Wheat Growers said in its June 12 newsletter.

The American Soybean Association rightly coined it a “holding pattern” and that’s what we’ll have until we can iron out where the House goes from here.

Immigration dead?

Cantor lost by a resounding 11% to a Tea Party challenger who claimed Cantor would provide “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

Many reform advocates had seen Cantor as someone standing in the way of moving immigration reform along in the House, despite the fact he was defeated because he was viewed as too supportive of immigration reform. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has consistently said he knows the Republican Party needs to get behind efforts to reform the broken immigration system, and stepped up those statements after the 2012 elections.

United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez, and a major influencer of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration package, said the primary results have led some to conclude that immigration reform is dead.

He and other UFW members were arrested in front of Boehner’s office Wednesday to remind people that the weight of historic immigration reform rests on the Speaker’s shoulders.

“Either he shows leadership and reaps the benefits—like Senator Lindsay Graham, R.-S.C., or he continues bending to the extremists and walks the path to defeat—like Majority Leader Eric Cantor did,” he said in a statement.

Rodriguez took aim at the Republican Party saying that either they’ll work with this Congress to pass reform or work to elect a Congress that will.   

An article from CNN predicted that gridlock on Capitol Hill will get worse. If Cantor got beat for working across the aisle on immigration and budget/debt ceiling issues, why would anyone else want to stick their neck out to find the same fate?