By: Congressman Frank Lucas, Congressman Tom Cole, Congressman Jim Bridenstine, Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Congressman Steve Russell
WASHINGTON— Obamacare has failed Americans all across the nation. But Oklahoma in particular is a case study for its failure and the negative impact on insured individuals. As a state that saw 2017 premiums increase an average of 76 percent and as one of only five states with just one insurer participating in the federal exchange, you could argue that Oklahoma has been hit the hardest by Obama’s failed health care policy. All five of our congressional districts have constituents who are adversely impacted by Obamacare.
A small business owner in Oklahoma City believes that Obamacare is negatively impacting his business. Graciously, he has always paid for half of his employee’s health insurance premiums. In three years under Obamacare, this employer’s out of pocket expenses have more than doubled. Obamacare has given him two choices: drop the health insurance benefit and potentially lose quality employees, or go out of business.
A mother of three was an accountant before quitting to raise her family and help her husband start his small business, so when Obamacare came along, she knew how to analyze their options. She made the rational decision to pay the fines, save the value of premiums and high deductibles, and effectively self-insure. Under Obamacare, she became uninsured, and she will be thousands of dollars ahead – as long as she avoids catastrophic illness.
After celebrating a successful harvest, a cotton farming family in southwest Oklahoma was shocked when they learned their health insurance premiums would nearly double under Obamacare. All of their concerns about issues like EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule or the continuation of certain Farm Bill provisions suddenly paled in comparison to Obamacare. They’re now worried that the sudden spike in expenses for their family, not to mention a $6,000 deductible, threatens the future of their farming operation.
One couple in rural Oklahoma was forced to sell their small business a few years ago due to the husband’s sharp decline in health. When they signed up for Obamacare, the most affordable option was a $6,000 deductible and a $1,200 copay. Even worse, the prescriptions they need to fill are “Tier 4,” the section that has the highest copay. All doctors and hospitals under their plan are far from their home and it is almost impossible to schedule a timely appointment with a doctor when they find themselves ill.
A Southern Baptist pastor in eastern Oklahoma is well taken care of by his church, except they do not provide health insurance. His family’s previous health care plan was cancelled in December, so he used Healthcare.gov, which failed to function properly, and was left with a plan that more than tripled their premium. A steadfast believer, the pastor is left with only the belief that God will provide for his pregnant wife, two year old son, and the baby on the way.
Sadly, these stories represent only a sliver of the number of Oklahomans feeling the ill effects of Obamacare. More and more Oklahomans are grappling with the crippling consequences of a failed health care law that is anything but affordable. It doesn’t take long to find a neighbor, a friend, or a community member who is suffering the ill effects of Obamacare. More than 4.7 million Americans were kicked off their health care plan after being promised that they could keep it. Sixty percent of Americans have seen an increase in their deductibles in addition to the average 22 percent increase in their 2017 premiums. The burden Obamacare placed on families, employers, and individuals never seems to end.
Thankfully, House Republicans want to make sure the Obamacare buck stops here. Our goal is to bring the American people more choices and lower costs, without mandating your plan or your coverage. By opening a free market to encourage competing plans and options, Americans can return once again to a health care market that provides access to affordable and reliable health insurance for Americans everywhere, particularly in our home state of Oklahoma.Read More
Today the U.S. House unanimously approved H.R. 353, the Lucas-Bridenstine Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act. This legislation prioritizes protecting lives and property.
“Every minute counts in the lead up before a major storm or tornado,” said Congressman Frank Lucas. “This legislation helps to give those in harm’s way additional disaster preparation time which could ultimately be the difference between life and death or thousands of dollars in property damage. I am encouraged that the House has taken action on this critical matter and hope to see these life-saving policies enacted soon.”
“Our aim is to have zero deaths from tornadoes and other extreme weather events,” said Congressman Jim Bridenstine. “This bill gets us closer to that day. I thank my House colleagues for their support, and anticipate swift Senate passage and that the President will sign it into law.”
This legislation is the product of a bipartisan effort. It directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus resources and effort to:
· Rebalance NOAA funding to place a higher priority on weather-related research and activities;
· Emphasize developing accurate forecasts and timely warnings of high impact weather events;
· Create programs to extend warning lead times and improve forecasts for tornadoes and hurricanes;
· Develop a plan to utilize advanced technology to regain U.S. superiority in weather modeling and forecasts;
· Increase focus and continue development of seasonal forecasts and how to maximize information from these forecasts; and
· Enhance coordination among various federal government weather stakeholders.
The legislation also authorizes and extends a NOAA pilot program already under way thanks to a partnership between the House Science Space and Technology and the House Appropriations Committee. Under this pilot program, NOAA has already issued two contracts to procure commercial satellite weather data. This pilot program could bring about a paradigm shift in how NOAA makes decisions about future procurement of critical weather data.
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith added, "Americans from coast to coast will now be better prepared for severe weather with the passage of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act. This bill has been four years in the making and is long overdue. It will transform our nation’s weather gathering efforts and help save lives and property. This legislation strengthens the underlying atmospheric science while simultaneously advancing innovative technology and reforming operations to provide better weather data, models, and forecasts. America can thank Reps. Lucas and Bridenstine for leading this innovation initiative. We look forward to the Senate approving this bill soon."
The Washington Post called this “the first major piece of weather legislation adopted since the early 1990s.” The legislation, originally introduced in the House in 2013, passed the House in 2015, and last December the Senate approved an amended version. Provisions in the bill approved today are nearly identical to the Senate version, so we can anticipate swift passage again in the Senate and presentation to the President for signing into law.
Links to videos of remarks on the House floor:
Congressman Lucas- https://youtu.be/FmXeb1z7RTw
Congressman Bridenstine- https://youtu.be/tvR19_RzbDw
Chairman Smith- https://youtu.be/bWvm6IeBZnsRead More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-3) today voted to pass the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, legislation to increase the role of Congress in the oversight and review of executive agency rulemaking. The bill requires congressional approval for any major executive action that impacts the U.S. economy by an amount greater than $100 million or would drastically increase prices on consumer goods for Americans.
“The Obama administration’s regulatory regime of the past eight years has cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars,” said Congressman Lucas. “A big part of getting our economy back on track and Americans back to work is to remove the regulatory burdens that are restraining growth and opportunity.”
“As one of the first bills of the 115th Congress, the REINS Act is a serious step toward curbing overregulation and returning to common sense in the way we govern.”Read More
“An Osage leader is never at the back of his band of warriors” – Dr. James Crowder, historian at Tinker Air Force Base
Clarence Leonard Tinker was the first Native American to attain the rank of Major General. Growing up in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, he revered the heroism of Osage military veterans and idolized the legends of Osage bravery in warfare. As a Major General during the Second World War, Clarence Tinker was not expected to enter direct combat, let alone lead a unit headfirst into front lines. Yet Tinker’s Osage upbringing instilled in him the importance of leading the fight himself. Sadly, Clarence was the first General to die in combat during WWII. He was shot down June 7, 1942 while flying a mission over the Pacific during the Battle of Midway.
Tinker’s values were rooted in his Oklahoma upbringing. He spoke the Osage language and always maintained a close relationship with his father throughout his entire life.
Today, the Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City bears the namesake of Major General Clarence Tinker. It is home to the 72nd Air Base Wing, providing material, support, and logistics for our nation’s armed forces. They have established themselves as an indispensable component of our country’s defense apparatus. Which is why it’s fitting the base is named after an Oklahoman who broke barriers, demonstrated tremendous leadership, and courageously laid down his life in combat.
Those who serve at Tinker are representatives of the Oklahoma Way. They were some of the first responders at the Murrah building in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. And when so many homes and businesses were destroyed in the wake of the tornado in May 1999, Tinker servicemen and women were immediately on the ground providing humanitarian aid and support.
Veteran’s Day is a moment to reflect on the legacy of those, like Maj. Gen. Tinker, who served our country. It’s a day to reflect on their sacrifices, their selflessness and their sense of duty that prompted them to join our nation’s armed services. Oklahoma is home to roughly 340,000 veterans and 20,000 active duty military personnel and I’m proud of the way our state has built upon this tremendous legacy of service.
One of the great honors of my job is to meet with these men and women and their families to hear their stories. These are folks who have served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the War on Terror. Many of them recall with great detail their experience in uniform and how it shaped their lives forever. I am always humbled by the overwhelming sense of patriotism I hear from our veterans of past wars – many of them only teenagers when they first answered the call to serve their country.
Maj. Gen. Clarence Tinker was a man who made everyone – his family, his community and his country – proud. Oklahoma is fortunate to have Tinker’s story as a part of our state’s history.
Seventy years have passed since he was lost in combat but the memory and pride for Maj. Gen. Tinker’s service has not faded. At their annual In-lon-shka celebration, the Osage honor military veterans, including Tinker, with a ceremonial song and dance performance. These are closely held traditions passed between many generations. The way the Osage community comes together to honor those who have served sets a remarkable example for the rest of us.
So on this day, I hope that we can take a moment to pay respects to all our veterans whose individual stories, small and large, paint a greater portrait about what it truly means to serve your country. If it weren’t for them, we could not enjoy the freedom, prosperity and peace we have today.Read More
Abraham Lincoln once commented, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will have to sit on their blisters.”
With two of the most unpopular candidates in recent memory, Lincoln’s observation is fitting.
If you were to pick solely on personality or likeability, you might not vote for either candidate in this election. In town hall meetings, my constituents have expressed the notion that politics is all about shades of gray because there is never any difference. While that may sometimes hold true, I can say with confidence that this time around, there is indeed a difference.
President Obama is entering his final 100 days in office. In his first two years we got Obamacare, a law that raised the costs of healthcare and delivered so much less. We also saw the passage of Dodd-Frank, a regulatory framework that has torn the financial services industry to shreds. And towards the end of the president’s second term, we saw the beginnings of cap and trade, as federal agencies work with foreign entities to increase control over the production and consumption of our energy.
But this election is not just a referendum on these policies. The next president should also be judged by the individuals they entrust with power.
Today there are roughly 4,000 political appointees selected by the president to carry out the administration’s agenda. These individuals represent agencies ranging from the Department of Agriculture to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are the apparatus that executes many of the president’s unilateral actions, such as EPA’s unpopular Waters of the U.S. rule that has impacted the agriculture, energy and construction industries here in Oklahoma.
Presidential appointees are not accountable to the American voters, and in many cases, not even your elected representatives. Apart from the Senate nomination process, Congress has relatively limited oversight or legislative control over these agencies and the individuals who run them.
Often the only way to challenge their decisions is through the courts. This method is tenuous and subject to a lengthy appeals process that sometimes reaches the Supreme Court.
As it stands, the Supreme Court sits at eight justices after the recent death of Antonin Scalia. The next president will nominate the ninth justice – and potentially three or four more. Will they pick a constitutional conservative in the mold of the late Scalia, or will they select a liberal judicial activist like Obama nominee Elena Kagan? Issues such as the Second Amendment or immigration hinge on the court’s composition.
At the end of the day, presidents are managers. They cannot possibly address every issue, so they delegate their work by hiring people. This election is about the individuals they will select to carry out their vision for America.
In 100 days, thousands of political appointees are potentially out of work. Voters will have the choice to either fire them all or continue with the status quo of the last administration.
After all is said and done, the mudslinging of this election will be a distant memory but the policy decisions we must live under will not be. However tempting, there is simply too much at stake to turn our backs. If voters want real change, we can have it.Read More
A big part of my job as your representative in Congress is to help you communicate with federal agencies. This assistance is often referred to as casework and ranges anywhere from expediting a passport application to getting an important question answered by the IRS in time for tax season.
I know that getting a straight answer from the federal government can sometimes be an arduous process which is why I have a team of dedicated caseworkers who are based in my office in Yukon. They have experience dealing with federal agencies like the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) or the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Needless to say, we receive a number of requests from constituents. Many of them can be resolved with a phone call or an email but sometimes it takes a little more time and effort to break through the red tape and government bureaucracy.
Ten years ago the Smith family of Stillwater first contacted my office. They had recently adopted Isaiah, a young boy from Cambodia who was eight years old at the time. Unfortunately there were complications with the adoption process when all adoptions were suddenly halted at the Cambodian border. While Isaiah was able to make it safely to the United States, he was forced to be classified as a refugee due to a technicality. In fact, Isaiah’s younger sister who was also adopted had no issues acquiring American citizenship simply because her paper work was processed sooner.
Because of his refugee status, Isaiah could never obtain his American citizenship. Growing up in Stillwater with his family and going to school, his lack of citizenship did not present any immediate issues.
But then last year, Isaiah’s mom, Linda, contacted our office again when they found out that Isaiah would not be able to get a job or pursue higher education without first applying for a Visa.
My office put Isaiah’s family in touch with Angela Jennings, a lawyer who works with Catholic Charities. With the help of my caseworker, Jill Shero, Angela was able to communicate with the proper federal agencies to clarify Isaiah’s case and eventually secure his American citizenship.
Thanks to USCIS of Oklahoma City, Isaiah made it official at his naturalization ceremony last month. At the ceremony, Isaiah said he had been waiting for this moment for a long time and that he appreciated everyone who helped make it a reality. He was excited that he would become an American citizen just in time to vote in the upcoming elections.
I’m very proud of the efforts of everyone who worked to help Isaiah realize his dream. The naturalization ceremony is an emotional and patriotic occasion – people from all around the world under one roof with the same aspirations. Our country’s story is rooted in immigration and if there’s any doubt the American dream is not alive and well, I encourage you to visit one of these ceremonies.
I hope that we can help write more positive stories like the one of Isaiah and his family. If you or a family member ever need help resolving an issue with the government please do not hesitate to contact my office at www.lucas.house.gov or (405) 373-1958.
Isaiah (left) with his parents, Linda and Charles (center) and Rep. Lucas caseworker Jill Shero (right)Read More
Yukon, Okla. – Congressman Frank Lucas will hold town hall meetings in Beaver, Guymon, and Boise City on Monday, August 22nd and Tuesday, August 23rd. Residents of these locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington. Lucas will be discussing his work in Congress, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for input on legislation currently before Congress.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Beaver Town Hall Meeting
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Beaver County Farm Bureau
812 S. Douglas
Beaver, OK 73932
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Guymon Town Hall Meeting
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
PTCI Meeting Room
607 S. Main
Guymon, OK 73942
Boise City Town Hall Meeting
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
115 West Main Street
Boise City, OK 73933Read More
Yukon, Okla. – Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce an upcoming town hall meeting in Yukon on Thursday, August 18th. Lucas will be discussing his work in Congress, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for input on legislation that’s currently before Congress. All residents are invited to attend and share their views on current events in Washington.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Yukon Town Hall Meeting
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Events at 10 West Main
10 West Main Street
Yukon, OK 73099Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas is pleased to announce upcoming town hall meetings to be held in Pawnee, Pawhuska, Bristow and Chandler on Tuesday, August 9th and Wednesday, August 10th. Residents of these locations are invited to attend and share their thoughts on current events in Washington. Lucas will be discussing his work in Congress, taking questions about issues important to constituents of the Third Congressional District and asking for input on legislation currently before Congress.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Pawnee Town Hall Meeting
Pawnee City Hall
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
510 Illinois Street
Pawnee, OK 74058
Pawhuska Town Hall Meeting
Pawhuska Community Center
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
520 Lynn Avenue
Pawhuska, OK 74056
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Bristow Town Hall Meeting
Bristow Public Library (Large Conference Room)
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
111 West 7th Street
Bristow, OK 74010
Chandler Town Hall Meeting
Route 66 Interpretive Center
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
400 E 1st Street
Chandler, OK 74834Read More
2311 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Frank Lucas is a fifth generation Oklahoman whose family has lived and farmed in Oklahoma for over 100 years. Born on January 6, 1960 in Cheyenne, Oklahoma, Lucas graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1982 with a degree in Agricultural Economics. He was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election in 1994, and is currently serving his 11th term as a Member of Congress.
Frank proudly represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District includes all or portions of 32 counties in northern and western Oklahoma, stretching from the Oklahoma panhandle to parts of Tulsa, and from Yukon to Altus in the southwest. It takes up almost half the state’s land mass and is one of the largest agricultural regions in the nation. Lucas has been a crusader for the American farmer since being elected to Congress in 1994 as well as working to protect Oklahoma values.
Congressman Lucas serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. In addition, he serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Frank also serves as a member of the Republican Whip Team. The Republican Whip Team is led by Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-22). The representatives who are members of the team serve as leaders in their party and work with the Republican leadership team to ensure every American’s voice is heard in Congress.
Prior to his service in the U.S. Congress, Lucas served for five and a half years in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, where he tirelessly defended the rights of private property owners and focused on promoting agriculture issues.
Frank and his wife Lynda have three children and one grandchild. The Lucas family belongs to the First Baptist Church in Cheyenne.
If you're in town for the inauguration, you can find some important security & transportation info here:… https://t.co/oXTNmXNbFe
From skyrocketing premiums to a lack of insurer participation, Oklahoma has been a case study in Obamacare's failur… https://t.co/fncHSbxqhw
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Oklahoma has been an unfortunate case study for the failure of Obamacare – 2017 premiums increased an average of 76 percent and we are one
This week the House took action to pass a bill I introduced aimed at strengthening and modernizing our country's weather forecasting. This legislation
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