THE number-two House Republican, majority leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.), lost a primary June 10, and it has already created ripple effects and uncertainty in the path forward for the House this summer.
Cantor resigned effective July 31, leading to scheduling leadership changes in the House and postponing debate on the agricultural spending bill until later in the summer.
Brian Rell, chief of staff for House agriculture appropriations subcommittee chairman Robert Aderholt (R., Ala.), said last Thursday that the "timing for continuing the bill is a little fluid right now."
During the week of June 16, the Senate had planned to consider the agriculture bill with two other spending bills that have already passed in the House, but that was going on the assumption that the House would finish the agriculture bill the week of June 9.
The uncertainty raises the question of whether the Senate will proceed with its plan to take up the agriculture bill this week as part of a "minibus" with other legislation, the National Association of Wheat Growers said in its June 12 newsletter.
Cantor lost by a resounding 11% to a Tea Party challenger who claimed Cantor would provide "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants.
Many reform advocates saw Cantor as someone standing in the way of advancing immigration reform in the House, despite the fact that he was defeated because he was viewed as too supportive of immigration reform.
Speaker of the House 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 (UFW) president Arturo Rodriguez 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 last 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, ... or he continues bending to the extremists and walks the path to defeat — like ... Cantor did," Rodriguez said in a statement.
In a memo to House Republicans regarding the June floor schedule, majority whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Cal.) said the House would take up reauthorization for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
The last CFTC reauthorization occurred in 2008, before the height of the financial crisis and prior to the enactment of the financial reform bill. Since then, CFTC has been granted broad new authorities to supervise the futures and swaps markets.
The memo stated that many of CFTC's new rules have negatively affected end users, such as farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, small businesses and utilities, by making it more difficult and costly to manage risks associated with their businesses.
In April, the bipartisan Customer Protection & End User Relief Act (H.R. 4413) easily passed out of the House Agriculture Committee. McCarthy said the bill "would provide meaningful relief from overly burdensome requirements from the CFTC at a time when we need less government involvement in our businesses."