House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) caused a stir on Thursday when he seemed to indicate that a standalone farm bill would come to the House floor after the Nov. 6 election.
But lobbyists said the remarks mean, at best, that a modified farm bill could be wrapped into a lame-duck bill dealing with expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts.
“I’m committed to bring the issue to the floor and then to see a way forward so we can get the votes to pass (a bill),” Cantor said at a campaign event in Idaho.
Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) seized on the remarks, saying, “I’m very pleased to hear that Majority Leader Cantor is now committed to bring the Farm Bill to the floor immediately after the election.”
Republican aides, however, quickly made clear that Cantor was not expressing any new support for moving the farm bill as reported out of the House Agriculture Committee this summer.
Washington farm lobbyists said that in the wake of Cantor’s comments, the last best hope for the 2012 farm bill to pass will be if it is riding on fiscal cliff legislation.