Farm Bill Still Up in the Air

Farm lobbyists in Washington are warning farmers that the odds of a new five-year farm bill passing during the lame duck congressional session are long and that farmers’ best hope for new farm legislation may lay in Congress’ handling of the upcoming fiscal cliff.

Earlier this week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor caused a stir when he seemed to endorse moving the farm bill out of committee and onto the House floor after the November 6 election. “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 stop in Idaho.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow was quick to seize on those remarks, stating, “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.”

GOP aides, however, are walking back Cantor’s statement, claiming that Majority Leader was not expressing any new support for moving the farm bill out of committee.

Farm lobbyists and political experts have criticized Cantor’s statement as empty political rhetoric designed to help rural Republican representatives in tough reelection fights. They are also warning farmers that the best shot for new farm legislation may lie in Congress’ sequestration negotiations.

“People on both sides of the aisle have made it clear to me that the only way it will be passed is as part of the fiscal cliff bill, if there is one,” one lobbyist said.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer