This week marks five years since President Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law. At 2,300 pages and 400 new rules – many of them not even implemented yet – the legislation is one of the most widespread restructurings of our nation’s finance and banking sector in history.
After the 2008 financial crisis, Americans were left with a lot of questions: What does this mean for my retirement? What caused markets to take a turn for the worse? Can we expect any financial stability in the future?
Much of the criticism centered on the concept of banks being “too big to fail”. In other words, a handful of the largest banks in our country had become so systemically important that our nation’s entire economic health hinged on the success or failure of these institutions.
Congress hastily moved to find ways to prevent this from ever happening again. The result was Dodd-Frank. This far-reaching piece of legislation was enacted in an attempt to prevent another financial crisis.
Early on it became clear that the big operators on the east and west coasts – those considered “too big to fail” – were not the ones facing the greatest pressure under the new law. Just as I feared when I voted against Dodd- Frank, it was the small banks that took the hardest hit.
They were quickly overwhelmed. Many have been squeezed out of the marketplace and the barriers to entry have gotten even steeper.
One survey from Harvard University found that the rate of decline in community banks’ market share has doubled since Dodd-Frank was enacted. The authors of the study attributed this downswing to an “increasingly complex and uncoordinated regulatory system.”
For those who live in rural America, these smaller institutions are the lifeblood of the community. In nearly one out of every five counties in our country, community banks are the only physical institution according to the FDIC. It’s the bank where you know the teller and the loan officer, where you have your savings account and where you have your mortgage.
Unfortunately, Dodd-Frank hasn’t done rural America any favors. Community banks are experiencing a downward trend and many small town bankers simply don’t have the time or staff to keep up.
One community banker told me the biggest challenge, five years after Dodd-Frank, is just the sheer volume of regulations issued in the law’s 2,300 pages. For every page, she says, you have implementing regulations. Some of which strip away their discretion to the point where long-term customers with a history of reliable payments must be turned away.
Many smaller banks simply can’t keep up. Unlike larger financial institutions, these banks can’t afford to hire staff to work on compliance full-time. They end up spending thousands of dollars sending staff to compliance classes just so they can continue to follow the deluge of new rules and regulations.
These costs inevitably hit the consumer. For many community banks, Dodd-Frank has driven them out of the mortgage lending business altogether. Your local financial institution, which knows the customers, knows the properties, and knows the values, won’t be able to write mortgages anymore.
The bottom line is our country’s community financial institutions need relief. They were never the intended target of Dodd-Frank and members on both sides of the aisle realize this. Rather than drive these institutions out of business, Congress should act to bring some commonsense to a law that has left us with more paperwork but fewer solutions to the problems that got us here.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Vice Chairman of the House Science Committee, congratulated NASA on the recent success of its New Horizons space probe. Launched in 2006, the probe was designed to collect data on Pluto and its moons.
“Who said there are not new things to see in the world?” said Congressman Lucas. “The spectacular images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons space probe are simply inspiring. The program’s success reflects years of hard work by the men and women behind this project, and I join the rest of the country in congratulating the entire team behind the mission. From where I’m sitting, it looks like a planet to me.”Read More
Everyone’s got to eat. So in agriculture, we are always planning for tomorrow. Not only does our livelihood depend on it, millions of Americans rely on access to affordable and safe produce to feed their families. However, most people don’t think too much about how their meal made it to their plate.
A poll conducted earlier this year by the Pew Research Center surveyed the gap between public perception and scientific consensus on issues such as climate change, vaccinations and evolution.
The issue that showed the single largest gap between the public and scientists? Whether genetically modified (GM) foods were safe to eat.
While 88 percent of scientists polled believed there was no danger in consuming GM foods, only 37 percent of American adults shared that same opinion.
To get to the bottom of this puzzling disparity, I recently led a bipartisan roundtable in the House Science Committee to discuss the science behind GMOs. A genetically modified organism, or GMO is essentially the result of transferring a desirable trait from one plant or organism to another. The goal of this process is to strengthen an existing crop, thereby increasing its yield, durability or even nutritional value.
This technology has existed for many years. The scientific concept and practice of crossbreeding plants for stronger traits has been around since the dawn of agriculture.
But as the term ‘GMO’ appears on more and more packaging in our grocery stores, it’s reasonable for people to have honest questions about them.
At our roundtable discussion, Dr. Kevin Folta, chair of the Horticulture Sciences Department at the University of Florida, addressed many of the misconceptions and challenges facing the public perception of GMOs. Dr. Folta contended that common health concerns surrounding GMOs are simply unscientific, and that the nutritional value and safety of these foods is no different than traditional crops.
There has been no single case of a person developing any illness, sickness or disease from GM food.
GMOs are actually well researched and stringent academic and industry studies continue to take place, even before the products go to market. From seed to grocery store aisle, there is an exhaustive process a GM product must first undergo. Seed varieties are tested by the USDA, FDA and EPA, not to mention the businesses and organizations whose success relies on sound scientific research.
Biotechnology has also made great strides in sustainability for both our environment and food supply. Land is a finite resource but the demand for food follows a forever upward trend. GM crops offer an innovative solution to this escalating issue.
A GM seed can grow in a wider variety of soils. It can withstand harsher conditions. It can require less pesticides or herbicides. Research today even suggests we can augment the nutritional value of certain produce through biotechnology.
In fact, we have already begun to see this through Golden Rice, which was developed to address malnutrition in developing countries that lack access to certain vitamin-rich foods.
The bottom line is GM crops are better suited to grow in their environment.
For farmers, this means a measurably lower rate of crop failure, with less time and money spent on pesticide application. For the everyday consumer, it means cheaper trips to the grocery store. And for those in developing countries, this technology means food is on their plates rather than rotting in fields from drought or pests.
While some local communities have hastily banned or issued restrictions on GM products, federal policy must remain grounded in science. That’s why I believe we should have a uniform national policy on labeling. We can achieve this by taking advantage of existing resources within the USDA and strengthening the FDA’s role in certifying the safety of GM products.
Consumers should have access to the same information about GM products that they have for organic foods today. These steps would uphold our commitment to food safety and meet consumers’ demand for diverse and affordable foods.
The journey from the farm to your table ought to be a transparent one. And whether you’re a farmer, rancher or concerned parent, it’s important we have an open and honest conversation about the merits of using biotechnology.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Vice Chairman of the House Science Committee, today questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy about the science used to justify the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) final rule. WOTUS seeks to expand the EPA’s regulatory control over waterways in our country by expanding the definition of “navigable water” under the Clean Water Act to include potentially any flowing or standing water on public or private land.
“Coming from a rural area, I’m a little sensitive about the Waters of the United States rule,” Lucas said.
He stressed to McCarthy that the scientific data used to justify these burdensome regulations should be made available to the public for review.
Lucas also pointed out to McCarthy that comments from the Chairman of the EPA’s own Science Advisory Board and the President’s science advisor have reflected that the data used to justify regulations should be made publically available.
Lucas concluded his remarks saying, “there’s a fine line between doing things for people and doing things to people… there’s a perception across the country – whether it’s in ag or construction –you’re not doing things for people. You’re inevitably doing things to people.”
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015. The bill prevents the EPA from implementing the WOTUS rule. It requires the agency to reconsider the thousands of public comments from concerned Americans and rewrite the rule to reflect the public’s perspective.
In February, Lucas introduced the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, legislation to ensure the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is objective and available for public review. The bipartisan bill passed the House of Representatives in March.Read More
Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) visited with the winner of the Third District Congressional Art Competition. Hadley Smith, a student at Cheyenne High School, was named this year’s winner for her piece entitled, “Working Cowgirl”. She traveled to Washington this week with her parents, Tracy and Loren of Cheyenne, Okla.
Hadley’s artwork, which made use of vivid colors in acrylic paint, will be featured in the United States Capitol for the next year alongside winners from other congressional districts.
“It was a pleasure to visit with Hadley to discuss her inspiration for the piece,” said Congressman Lucas. “Her artwork is a terrific reflection of Oklahoma’s Third District and will be enjoyed by thousands of Capitol visitors from across the country. I wish Hadley the best of luck and hope to see more of her unique and talented work in the future.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) today released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell ruling to uphold Obamacare’s federal subsidies for state-run health exchanges.
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling doesn’t change the reality that Obamacare has failed to live up to most of its promises – premiums have risen and care choices are even more limited,” said Congressman Lucas.
“The president may be content with Obamacare narrowly surviving legitimate legal questions and the public’s concerns. However, I continue to believe it’s time to repeal this mess and replace it with a patient-centered system that doesn’t assume one size fits all when it comes to you and your family’s health care decisions.”Read More
Every few years a farm bill must be passed to ensure the stability of American agriculture. Farmers like Danny Davis of Oklahoma rely on the provisions granted in the legislation to maintain their farms, and Americans rely on farmers like Davis for everyday needs like food and clothing.
However, with Congress more divided than ever, this task is threatened. Congressman Frank Lucas, then-Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, put his all into creating a bipartisan solution to pass the Agricultural Act of 2014.
Yukon, Okla. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) recently welcomed Jill Shero to serve as field representative for the northeast portion of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, which covers 8 counties. Shero is an eastern Oklahoman native and Oklahoma State University graduate with a degree in international business.
“We are pleased to have Jill on our casework and fieldwork team,” said Lucas. “Her extensive internship experience at the US Department of Treasury in D.C. and familiarity with Oklahoma make her a valuable part of our team.”
“Eastern Oklahoma is the place I grew up and call home. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of Congressman Lucas’ staff and look forward to serving the people of Oklahoma’s third district,” said Shero.
In addition to Shero’s previous involvement with international nonprofit organizations, she brings grounded experience and knowledge of Oklahoma’s energy and agricultural industries.
Shero is the daughter of Earl and Cindy Shero of Wilburton, Okla. and the granddaughter of Stanley and Ella Davis of Grove, Okla. Her brother-in-law and sister, Jordan and Jessica Cash, live in Miami, Okla.
Shero will provide grassroots communication and casework assistance for Congressman Lucas’ district office located in Canadian county. She can be reached at (405) 373-1958.Read More
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) recently named Alison Slagell as staff assistant in his Washington office. Slagell, a native of Hydro, Oklahoma, graduated from Oklahoma State University in May with a degree in Agricultural Communications. She will assist constituents who call into Lucas’ office, in addition to organizing tours, managing the internship program and handling flag requests.
“I am pleased to have Alison join our team,” said Lucas. “With her knowledge of the district and experience serving as an intern in my office, she will be a tremendous asset to my staff and the constituents of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District.”
“As a native of the third district, I consider it a great honor to serve my fellow constituents. I am excited to join Congressman Lucas’ staff and extremely thankful for this wonderful opportunity,” said Slagell.
Last summer, Slagell interned with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. Prior to that she served as an intern for Congressman Lucas during the summer of 2013. She is the daughter of Dennis and Candace Slagell and granddaughter of Ida Slagell and the late Walter Slagell.
Pawnee, Okla. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) today released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States final rule:
“Today the EPA stands by its decision to expand federal control over our nation’s waterways. This means anything from the largest lakes and rivers to the smallest drainage ditches commonly found on farms and ranches are subject to government scrutiny and penalties. The public has spoken loud and clear on this issue, yet the Obama administration has shut out rural America from its decision-making process.
“Oklahoma’s ag producers share the same conservation goals as the rest of our country; subjecting them to arbitrary fines and even more regulation will not make America’s water any cleaner. I continue to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in strong opposition to this brazen government overreach.”
EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule seeks to define the rivers, streams, and other bodies of water that fall under the agency’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The final rule redefines “navigable waterway” – which has traditionally guided federal policy – to potentially any flowing or standing water on public or private land.
Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015. This legislation prevents the administration from implementing the Waters of the U.S. Rule. It also requires the EPA to rewrite the rule and consider public input from the thousands of Americans who submitted comments on this matter.Read More
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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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