Majority Leader Cantor's Office: Comment Doesn't Mean Vote on New Farm Bill Post-Election

02:54PM Oct 30, 2012
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Says the issue will be addressed; labels reports of vote expected on new farm bill as 'misleading.'

Says the issue will be addressed; labels reports of vote expected on new farm bill as 'misleading'
The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) confirm his remarks on the issue of post-election action on the issue of the farm bill were misread by many. Comments last week by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) that the "issue" of the farm bill would be addressed by the House during the post-election, lame-duck session were not a commitment to bring the bill approved by the House Ag Committee to the floor for a vote, a spokesperson for Cantor told the Washington publication Bureau of National Affairs (BNA).

What he said. Campaigning in Idaho last week, Cantor said that he was "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)."

The reports of that comment even prompted Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to issue a statement hailing the plan to bring the House Ag Committee farm bill to a vote.

However, a spokeswoman from Cantor's office, Megan Whittemore, told BNA in an email that the take on the comment that it was a commitment to vote on the Ag panel bill was "misleading." Whettemore said, "All he said was we'd address the issue. Never committed to a specific vote."

Comments: This was the reading several sources gave after the Cantor comment last week so it is not surprising to see the confirmation of this by Cantor's office. As we noted when the news first broke, it really didn't alter or further clarify the farm bill finish line. And this makes clear that this take on his remarks were on the mark.

Now the attention will be on how long of an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is in the cards. That timeline may provide as much signal as anything on how long lawmakers expect the farm bill process to take. If the extension is relatively short in duration, that signals the two chambers believe they are closer than many think on a new farm bill. However, sources continue to signal that little work on the package and/or ironing out differences has taken place as the election has drawn closer and closer and the arrival of Sandy has further made that a reality.