Legislator Cantor


The majority leader in the House has a lot of responsibilities, most notably the scheduling of legislation for votes.

But recently House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has also been crafting high-profile bills. 

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Earlier this year he reworked a Democratic measure that sought to ban insider trading for members of Congress. The legislation attracted some controversy, but ultimately passed the House, 417-2. 

President Obama is scheduled to sign the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act on Wednesday.

Cantor will be at the White House the following day for the signing of bipartisan legislation that the Virginia lawmaker helped shepherd through Congress. 

The Hill last month reported that the relationship between Obama and Cantor has improved since the two leaders clashed over raising the federal debt limit. 

At a White House meeting during those testy talks, Obama warned Cantor, “Don’t call my bluff” and walked out of the room.

The president’s invitation to Cantor to the signing ceremony of the JOBS Act has been viewed as an olive branch. How long this détente lasts is anybody’s guess. But it appears that neither man will attack the other with the same ferocity that they did in 2011.

In an interview with The Hill last weekend, Cantor expressed hope that the bipartisan cooperation would continue this election year, adding, “We all know there are plenty of differences between the two sides in Washington.”

He has other legislation on his plate. He recently introduced the Small Business Tax Cut Act, which is opposed by most Democrats. Senate Democratic leaders say they will offer an alternative small-business tax cut bill. 

It is worth noting that Senate Democrats initially balked at the JOBS Act, then backtracked after it cleared the House, 390-23. 

Cantor is also involved in the legislative effort to renew the charter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

He has offered a plan to renew the bank’s charter for one year with a $113 billion loan limit, while Senate Democrats favor a four-year extension with a $140 billion loan limit. Striking a deal by the May 31 deadline, when the bank’s charter is set to expire, will not be easy. 

It is unclear why Cantor has led the recent charge on a range of bills. Some Democrats attacked him last year for a lack of legislative accomplishment; his supporters counter that he has rounded up votes on many high-profile measures over the last decade.

Others opine that Cantor has his eyes on the Speakership, and burnishing his legislative track record gets him closer to that goal.