Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) issued the following statement after President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address this evening:
“Tonight the president laid out his vision for the remaining two years of his presidency. Americans are eager to see the president work with – not around – Congress, and the new Republican majority in both the House and the Senate is prepared to find areas where we can come together with the president.
“We are only two weeks into the 114th Congress and so far we have worked aggressively to introduce commonsense, conservative legislation to get our country back on track. Many of these measures are aimed at making it easier for small businesses to hire new employees by rolling back inefficient regulations that hurt economic growth.
“For instance, the House voted to fix a provision within Obamacare that defines full time employment as 30 hours per week, rather than the traditional 40 hours. This provision is just one of many in the president’s vastly complex and unworkable health care law that has discouraged a large number of businesses from hiring more employees.
“The House has also passed legislation to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project the president’s own State Department predicts will support roughly 42,000 jobs and generate over $2 billion in earnings for American workers. More importantly, the pipeline will establish a pathway toward American energy security by helping to shield our country from the constant global volatility of oil supply and prices.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is just one of many energy projects awaiting federal approval. Shale energy production, for example, has the potential to support millions of American jobs while offering a safe and reliable supply of energy. President Obama has the opportunity to make significant progress in this area. Instead, he has focused his efforts on targeting small businesses and ag producers through the Environmental Protection Agency, under arbitrary environmental rulemaking.
“Congress has shown that we are willing to get to work. Unfortunately, the president has chosen to further entrench himself in the same political rhetoric we have heard before. This month alone, he has issued six veto threats. And tonight he proposed yet another tax increase, which has essentially no chance of becoming law.
“Americans already pay enough in taxes. If anything, we should be working to create a simpler and fairer tax code. Oklahomans know that we cannot tax our way to prosperity, and a larger government will only get in the way of a growing private sector. The president’s plan is flawed because a healthy economy does not originate from Washington.
“I strongly believe that jobs and prosperity come from our community – from the small businesses, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers. It’s our innovation and hard work that will keep our country strong for years to come.
“If the last six years are any indication of the next two, the president’s promises will prove to be more empty rhetoric. Congress stands ready to work with the president on a number of issues, but every time President Obama chooses to act unilaterally or go around Congress, it contributes to his growing trust deficit with Congress.
“Our constituents elected us to represent their interests and values in Washington. Oftentimes, the legislation President Obama is blocking is the same legislation the American people sent us here to pass. The president has an opportunity to set aside his all-or-nothing approach that has driven a sharp ideological wedge in our country. I am willing and ready to work with my colleagues in Congress and the president on the solutions we need to get our country back on track and back to work. I look forward to being a part of a productive 114th Congress.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) today voted in favor of H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. This appropriations bill funds the Department of Homeland Security through FY 2015 and includes several measures aimed at strengthening border security, supporting our country’s current immigration laws and reversing President Obama’s executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Lucas released the following statement upon passage of the bill.
“Last year, we witnessed record numbers of illegal immigrants – many of them teenagers and children – cross into our country and overwhelm state and local resources. Instead of swiftly and decisively acting to stem this tide of illegal immigration, President Obama’s words and actions sent a mixed message to many in other countries that it is all right to enter the United States illegally.
“There is a reasonable expectation and responsibility for the federal government to secure our nation’s borders, yet the president seems more interested in granting amnesty to the millions of undocumented immigrants who have already entered our country.
“The president’s unilateral power grab on immigration back in November was unprecedented, undemocratic and circumvents the principles of our Constitution. Today’s legislation serves as a reminder that apart from signing or vetoing legislation, the White House cannot write or change laws on its own. President Obama can no longer rely on the Senate to obstruct legislation for political reasons, and I look forward to working towards more common sense solutions, whether it’s on immigration, national security or cutting red tape,” said Congressman Lucas.
H.R. 240 provides $39.7 billion in funding for the Department of Homeland Security. The bill increases funding for CBP (Customs and Border Protection) to support the largest operational force of nearly 50,000 Border Patrol agents and CBP officers. It also increases funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by $689.4 million and fully funds the E-Verify program to discourage businesses from hiring illegal immigrants.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) voted today in support of H.R. 3, legislation to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The bill passed the House by a vote of 266 to 153. Lucas released the following statement upon the bill’s passage.
“It’s time for President Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline. While I believe this project is a no-brainer in terms of promoting American energy security and spurring job growth in our country, the president continues to walk a fine political line with members of his own party.
“After over half a decade of deliberation and increasing support from the public, it’s time to move forward and build the pipeline.
“I am disappointed that President Obama has already threatened to veto this commonsense project, and I look forward to hearing his explanation to the American people as to why he is blocking legislation that will boost our economy and create jobs.”
The State Department has predicted construction of the pipeline will support roughly 42,000 jobs and generate $2.05 billion in earnings for American workers.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) voted today to support passage of H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act, legislation that changes Obamacare’s definition of a full time employee from 30 hours per week to 40 hours per week.
“By defining full time employment as 30 hours per week, rather than the traditional 40 hours, Obamacare has had a devastating impact on many small businesses and hourly workers in our country. The Save American Workers Act allows these businesses to hire more employees and helps ensure part-time workers the increased financial security of a steady paycheck and consistent hours.
“This legislation represents the priorities of the new Republican majority in Congress by suggesting a commonsense fix to the president’s vastly complex, unworkable and expensive health care law.” said Congressman Lucas.Read More
“Gentlemen, say that there are, in this country, three interests, the agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing. And how happens it, sir, that the agricultural, the great leading and substantial interest in this country, has no committee; no organized tribunal in this House to hear and determine on their grievances? If the commercial or manufacturing interests are affected, the cry resounds throughout the country; remonstrances flow in upon us; they are referred to committees appointed for the purpose of guarding them, and adequate remedies are provided. But, sir, when agriculture is oppressed, and makes complaint, what tribunal is in this House to hear and determine on the grievances?”
And thus, Lewis Williams, a U.S. Representative from Surrey County, N.C., in 1820, sponsored a resolution to create the House Committee on Agriculture. Since then, the committee has been led by 48 Republicans and Democrats, and it has grown in size and scope of jurisdiction. And while the number of lawmakers with direct ties to agriculture has dwindled over the years, the committee’s focus has remained the same – maintaining a healthy agricultural industry.
Fortunately for today’s farmers and ranchers, the committee’s chairman is one of their own – Frank Lucas, a farmer and rancher from Western Oklahoma.
Lucas’ family, corn and cotton farmers, moved to what was the Oklahoma Territory in 1900 and 1905. They have been in the same part of Western Oklahoma since then, through the Great Depression, severe droughts and multiple economic downturns.
After earning a degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University and serving the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, Lucas was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1994. In addition to recently being re-elected to his 11th term and noting that he has crossed the 4 million mile-mark flying between Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma for the last 20 years, Lucas says he has worked very hard to be a working farmer and rancher with his wife and a part of his community.
“Lynda Lucas is the herdsman as I like to refer to her. She runs the operation during the week,” he says. “That’s given me a perspective – not only being on the farm every weekend with Lynda but being home with my neighbors, my fellow farmers, ranchers and citizens. You’d be surprised at the advice you get on a Sunday morning, after the basketball game on Friday night or at a family gathering on Saturday.”
Agricultural Act of 2014
While his term as the helm of the Agriculture Committee is nearing its end, Lucas’ impact on American agriculture is most evident in what he calls his single biggest accomplishment as chairman – passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014, which he says is different than previous Farm Bills.
Doing away with the old direct payment program in the commodity title and strengthening the safety net for livestock producers, Lucas says the “fundamental guise in this farm bill is insurance.” In fact, the 2014 Farm Bill includes livestock disaster assistance for losses dating back to 2012 (when previous livestock disaster assistance expired), including, most notably, the Livestock Indemnity Program for death loss due to agricultural disasters and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program for drought and fire losses to grazing capacity.
“My family has lived in a part of the world where the soil is measured in inches, not feet, and where until I was 17, I didn’t know you could have a prayer that didn’t ask for rain,” he says. “I’ve lived in a volatile economic market, getting through gyrations that Mother Nature put us through. Trying to provide a safety net to my fellow farmers and ranchers across the country is something I believe in.
“No farmer wants an insurance check. We want a good livestock or grain crop. We want a good price. We want good markets. But when things are beyond our control, or has been the case occasionally in my lifetime, have been manipulated by outside forces, outside governments or even sometimes government actions here at home – then these safety nets are necessary,” he says.
Drafting the Farm Bill was the first fence to cross; next came educating the other 434 members in the House of Representatives about the need for a strong farm safety net, working with the Senate Agriculture Committee and carefully maneuvering the legislation through what ended up a nearly three year process.
“After the first year and a half no one ever thought a Farm Bill would pass,” he says. “But we proved all the naysayers and doubters wrong, and we did it through regular order. We did our work in open committee and on the floor. We went to conference with the Senate. They did their work in open committee. We passed a bill the way my eighth grade civics book said you should do legislation. And I think that was good for the body.”
A good bill but not perfect
While Chairman Lucas’ pride in the 2014 Farm Bill is evident, he admits there are some things that did not get done in the legislation, including addressing the U.S. mandatory country-of-origin-labeling law (COOL). As of late October, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has twice ruled the U.S. COOL law to be out of compliance with international trade obligations. He says the House-passed version of the five-year bill included language to address COOL but notes that the Senate “declined to work with it.”
The two WTO rulings against the U.S. law put COOL in a different category than the rest of the 2014 Farm Bill.
“If we don’t take definitive action, sanctions under the WTO will be imposed against certain U.S. agricultural products or other U.S. items. What the Canadians and Mexicans will as for – I can’t honestly say but I would tell you it will be the most sensitive pressure points imaginable. That’s just good negotiating. So while I would generally say the farm bill should be left alone, in this case, if you don’t take action, there will be areas of the farm economy and the general U.S. economy that will pay a horrible price.”
Passing the gavel
Just as a rancher’s job does not end when the calves are sold, Chairman Lucas’ job serving farmers and ranchers and his Western Oklahoma constituents will continue after his tenure as chairman. He will continue to serve on the agriculture committee, noting current efforts related to breaking down non-tariff trade barriers and stopping the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing burdensome regulations, including the Waters of the United States proposed rule that would expanding the agency’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
Chairman Lucas also serves on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees banking and insurance. He says with its influence over the cost and availability of credit, the Financial Services Committee is a “logical place” to spend time. He will also continue working to educate his House colleagues about production agriculture.
“The lion’s share of the people I serve with are really decent people trying to reflect the focus and the needs of their constituents,” he says. “It’s just a lot of times there are occasions when members have no background, nor do their constituents, on issues as complex as production agriculture and rural America.”
He was re-elected in the November midterms, earning nearly 79 percent of the votes in the district, and says as long as that continues, he has no plans to change.
“As long as Lynda Lucas and the citizens of the third district of Oklahoma will allow me to work on their behalf – I enjoy the work. I think we’ve made progress and I want to defend that progress,” he says. “The House Agriculture Committee, and I believe to a degree myself, have established a degree of credibility with leadership on both sides of the room and the membership because they came to realize that we were trying to do things the right way, for the right reason to get the right results for everyone’s constituents.”Read More
Last week, Congress voted on and passed a bipartisan spending bill that will fund the federal government through the rest of the bookkeeping year. This legislation, also known as an omnibus, combines twelve different appropriations bills into a single bill.
This year the omnibus contributed to $165 billion in overall spending cuts since 2010, while protecting jobs, strengthening our nation’s national security, and directing funds to many vital parts of our government. It also includes several provisions and budget cuts directed at areas where the government has overstepped its bounds.
For example, the IRS budget has been cut by $345.6 million amid reports earlier this year of gross incompetence and abuse of power, and Obamacare will not receive another dollar in new spending.
Farmers and ranchers will receive needed relief from regulatory overreach by the EPA. The spending bill cuts the agency’s staffing to its lowest levels since 1989 and requires them to withdraw a new rule under the Clean Water Act that would’ve allowed government regulation of on-farm irrigation ditches or ponds.
This bill also does not provide a single dime for President Obama’s unilateral executive amnesty.
In fact, it challenges the president’s entire approach on immigration by withholding yearlong funding for the Department of Homeland Security. This sets up a real debate on amnesty and illegal immigration for next month so the new Republican majority in the House and Senate can fully weigh in on the issue.
Apart from signing or vetoing legislation, the president’s responsibility is to implement the law, not write the law or rule by decree. The showdown on the president’s immigration policy will occur next year and there will be several more debates throughout the rest of his two years in office.
It’s clear from the recent election that President Obama’s unpopular policies are what cost many of his fellow Democrats their job in Congress. As a result, Republicans will take control of the Senate and have the largest majority in the House since the 1920’s.
The shift in power means we now have a new set of chairmen and chairwomen who control the hearing schedule, we now have the ability to control the appropriations process, and the Senate will now control the confirmation process – meaning they do not have to approve executive appointments or treaty proposals.
Through his actions and rhetoric over the course of the last six years, the president has made himself into a lame duck. He is beyond salvaging his failed agenda. His only remaining option is to drag the rest of us down through political gamesmanship, and I will not be complicit in allowing that to happen.
This spending agreement isn’t perfect, but it represents real priorities and most importantly keeps the federal government open. It keeps the USDA offices open; it keeps Social Security offices open; and it ensures our country’s servicemen and women receive their hard earned paychecks.
We now have an opportunity to return to a regular legislative order. The president’s policies have caused grief not only to his own party, but the American people at large. In the 114th Congress, I look forward to reversing this trend by supporting commonsense policies that will get our country back on track.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, voted today to support passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (TRIA), legislation that helps establish insurance coverage for acts of terrorism. This bill strengthens economic growth and security in our country by providing certainty over the next six years to American enterprises.
“The long-term extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance program means greater stability for our nation’s job creators. We cannot allow grave threats from the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations to stifle our country’s growing economy. Rebuilding is a critical element in standing up to terrorism, and I believe this wartime measure provides an extremely important piece of mind for consumers and industries in the United States,” said Congressman Lucas.
The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act originally established the Federal Terrorism Insurance Program in 2002 to oversee a public-private system of compensation for insured losses due to acts of terrorism after many businesses were unable to purchase insurance protection following the attacks of September 11. Since its inception, the program has incurred a net cost of zero dollars to the United States Treasury.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s recent announcement that he will issue an executive order to prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants who entered the United States illegally.
“Rather than working with Congress on the issue of immigration, President Obama has declared amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. The president’s brazen use of executive action to bypass our nation’s immigration laws threatens the sanctity of our border, does nothing to stem the growing tide of illegal immigration and delays the prospect of fixing our legal immigration system.
“The president’s single-minded approach on immigration will not work, and he must remember that it is his constitutional duty to implement, not write, the law. If he is serious about immigration reform, President Obama must first work with Congress to secure the border and enforce, rather than ignore, our nation’s laws,” said Congressman Lucas.Read More
Thirteen years ago, our nation suffered one of the most devastating terrorist attacks in modern history. The lives of thousands of innocent Americans were suddenly taken by an evil we did not yet fully understand.
September 11th was a sobering moment for the entire country. When it finally hit home, it came as a complete shock.
I will never forget that morning in my Washington office. Much like my grandparent’s generation that could tell you where they were when Pearl Harbor was announced or my parent’s generation when they heard the news of President Kennedy’s assassination, I will always remember watching the live footage on TV of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center before police officers evacuated us from the building.
Recovering from a tragedy of this magnitude is no simple task. However, the character of our nation was on full display that day. First responders, police officers, and firefighters selflessly fought through the soot and rubble to help survivors to safety.
In the immediate aftermath, many Americans answered the call to serve, and many have laid down their lives to fight this pervasive evil. Their service has sent a clear and resounding message to the rest of the world: The United States will not tolerate terrorism and will take decisive action to protect its citizens and interests.
Over the past decade, our country has grown to understand the harsh realities of terrorism.
Just two years ago, the horrific attack in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans reminded us that the threat of terrorism persists. It reminded us that we cannot slip into complacency.
Today, we face the burgeoning threat of ISIS, a terrorist organization that has slaughtered countless innocent men, women, and children in the name of establishing an oppressive Islamic state. In their attempt to create a political state, they have managed to take control of significant regions in both Syria and Iraq – all while recruiting more supporters and militants to their campaign of violence.
ISIS has actively threatened harm to American civilians at home. The brutal filmed execution of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, only served to confirm their intent.
Unfortunately, the response from the White House has been incomplete and troubling up until this point. In January, the president dismissed the Islamic militant organization as a “J.V. team” even after they overwhelmed Iraqi security forces to take control of Fallujah. Then, just last week, when asked about the threat of ISIS, President Obama told reporters that “We don’t have a strategy yet.”
It was not until last night the president addressed the nation on this matter. I am glad he acknowledged the threat of ISIS and laid out a general strategy to dismantle the militant organization. However, words alone will not defeat these extremists.
I wish the president had come to this observation before the Islamic state had the opportunity to develop into such a critical national security threat.
We are dealing with extremists who will do whatever it takes to hurt American citizens, which requires a definitive and serious response. In the coming days, I will review the president’s plan to ensure our military has the tools and resources to carry out this mission.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas issued the following statement today upon passage of H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. This legislation prohibits the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing, implementing, and enforcing a proposed rule that would redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. It is the authority of Congress, not the administration, to change the scope of the Clean Water Act.
“I’m pleased the House approved this commonsense legislation to block the EPA from expanding its control of our nation’s land and water resources. This bipartisan bill will preserve states’ rights and it ensures the Obama administration consult state and local officials on any future proposal to regulate our nation’s waters under the Clean Water Act.
“The EPA is once again seeking to overstep its authority and we are here to remind them of the balance of powers. The agency’s proposed rule to redefine waters of the United States would trigger an onslaught of additional red tape for farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma and across the nation. Protecting our natural resources is a noble cause and one that the agriculture community stands solidly behind. However, the EPA’s proposed rule is an underhanded way to harm American agriculture and threaten our country’s food security,” said Congressman Lucas.
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.
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