Frank Lucas

Frank Lucas

OKLAHOMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Lucas Presses Federal Reserve Chair on Consequences of Low Interest Rates

2015/02/25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, today questioned Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen about the impact of the central bank’s quantitative easing policy on older Americans and those saving for retirement. The Federal Reserve’s policies have artificially restrained interest rates, threatening the value of traditionally safer assets such as bonds or bank deposits.

At a House Financial Services hearing Lucas noted, “Over the course of the last six years, policy decisions have been made… dramatically causing interest rates to be less than they would have normally been, and at the same time, having an aggressive buying program on certain assets that would in effect hold up their value above and beyond what they would normally be worth that there is a cost there.”

Lucas expressed concern about the consequences of these policies on older Oklahomans and those approaching retirement. “Someone is paying for the economic methadone we’ve been existing on for six years,” Lucas said. In response, Yellen acknowledged that “it’s been a tough period for savers…retirees especially”.

Addressing concerns from older constituents, Lucas requested numbers from the Federal Reserve reflecting the transfer of value between one asset class to another as a result of quantitative easing.

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Lucas, Peterson Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen EPA Independent Scientific Advice

2015/02/25

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Congressman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) today introduced H.R. 1029, the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015, legislation to ensure the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is objective, independent and available for public review. The bipartisan bill establishes guidelines for membership to the Science Advisory Board, which advises the EPA’s regulatory decisions. Companion legislation was also introduced today in the Senate by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“I appreciate Congressman Peterson joining me in this bipartisan effort to ensure the best experts are free to undertake a balanced and open review of regulatory science. The Science Advisory Board (SAB) informs the EPA on regulations that impact the lives of millions of Americans,” said Congressman Lucas. “The heavy costs of these regulations warrant some degree of public oversight to ensure SAB’s findings are free from bias or conflicts of interest and not simply provided by a set of handpicked advisors. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act addresses these issues by ensuring the science guiding EPA’s regulatory policy is open to review by the public and requiring members who serve on this board to disclose their professional backgrounds.”

The Science Advisory Board’s work is important to making sure the EPA considers all scientific information when writing regulations that will impact American farmers, families and small businesses. This legislation builds on the work done in the 2014 Farm Bill and is necessary to ensure the EPA takes into account the best information possible, with input from the public and independent stakeholders. A balanced and independent Science Advisory Board will help alleviate some of the unintended consequences surrounding EPA regulations,” said Congressman Peterson.

Background:

The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2015 amends the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1978 to:

  • Protect the independence of the Advisor Board
  • Provide clear membership requirements of the Advisor Board
  • Make the Board’s advice and comments, including dissenting views, publically available
  • Strengthen and encourage public participation
  • Protect the integrity of scientific advice and process
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Lucas Names Kirby Smith as Field Representative

2015/02/19

Yukon, Okla.  – Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) recently welcomed Kirby Smith to serve as field representative for the southwest portion of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, which covers 11 counties. Smith, a native of Elk City, previously served as the Public Information Manager for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

“I am glad to have Kirby join our team,” said Lucas. “With her knowledge of the district and previous work experience, she will be a tremendous asset to my staff and the constituents of Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District.”

“Western Oklahoma is my home, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Congressman Lucas’ staff. I look forward to serving the people of Oklahoma’s third district,” said Smith.

Smith is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, earning both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Agricultural Communications. She is the daughter of Ralph and Tammy Smith of Elk City.

Congressman Lucas’ district office provides several services to constituents, including assistance with federal casework and information regarding federal grants. Smith will work out of Lucas’ Canadian County office. She can be reached at (405) 373-1958.

 

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President’s Budget is Irresponsible

2015/02/06

This week President Obama released his annual budget proposal for the federal government. And for the first time in years, he actually sent it to Congress on time. In fact, this is only the second time in his presidency he has met his legal obligation to submit this important spending plan on time.

While it’s the duty of Congress to pass a budget, the president releases his budget to outline his agenda for the year to come. Unfortunately, this agenda amounts to nothing more than a big government wish list. The president has laid out his vision for the coming year – more taxes, more spending and more debt.

Unlike American families, who must prioritize their spending, the president’s budget never balances – not 10, or even 20 years from now. This is simply irresponsible.

By not paying down our national debt, the interest on this debt will continue to grow, just like a loan from a bank. If the president’s budget were to take effect, the annual cost of interest alone would soon become larger than our nation’s spending on national defense, Medicaid or all other agency spending for that matter. This means it will become more difficult – if not impossible – to pay off our debt burden down the road. Simply borrowing more money is in effect taxing tomorrow’s generation to pay for bigger government today.

And most Americans don’t even want a larger federal government. Like many of you, I have greater faith in the ability of individual Americans to create prosperity than the government. That’s why several of my colleagues in Congress, including myself, have called for a balanced national budget. We need to practice fiscal restraint today so that ten years from now, we don’t find ourselves exponentially deeper in debt.

It’s common sense. The federal government should not spend more than it takes in. Rather than reaching deeper into the pockets of taxpayers, we need to sit down and figure out where money can be saved. However, President Obama has indicated he is content with continuing the trend of tax-and-spend government by proposing more than $2 trillion in new taxes over the next decade.

Many of these the taxes would indiscriminately hit ordinary Americans. For example, President Obama would like to raise the Death Tax to 60 percent. This will make it even more difficult for families to pass their farm or ranch down to their children or grandchildren. It’s absurd to place the burden of more government spending on the backs of farm families in rural America.

Today our national debt sits at over $18 trillion. Since President Obama took office, our national debt has risen by over $7.5 trillion. There’s no debating the fact that something must be done to address this, and I look forward to working towards a budget that pays for our nation’s priorities, while addressing the major issues that contribute to our national debt.

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Lucas and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Commemorate One-Year Anniversary of 2014 Farm Bill

2015/01/30

El Reno, OK – Today, Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, in El Reno to discuss the 2014 Farm Bill and its impact on the state of Oklahoma. The legislation has strengthened several agricultural programs, such as crop insurance, while increasing accountability by repealing direct payments and tightening eligibility requirements. Today’s event at Redlands Community College marks the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the 2014 Farm Bill.

“I am glad to be in Oklahoma today to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Farm Bill,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The Farm Bill has already created jobs, helped farmers reach new markets at home and abroad and boosted the country's economy. This bill has provided much needed disaster relief and reformed programs to better help farmers manage risk. It has also helped families secure home loans, extended credit to small businesses, and invested in innovative research and conservation partnerships in every state. I want to thank Chairman Lucas once again for his hard work in getting this bipartisan bill through Congress and to the President's desk.”

“I appreciate Secretary Vilsack joining me in this forum to discuss the Farm Bill and address the legislation’s implementation with constituents,” said Congressman Lucas. “In addition to saving taxpayers $23 billion, this Farm Bill provides a true safety-net to producers in Oklahoma and the rest of the country. As I stressed during the creation process, the Farm Bill is not written for the good times but for when times aren’t so good. I am proud of the work we did and look forward to working with the Secretary in continuing to effectively implement the important reforms included in this Farm Bill.”

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Lucas Reaction to President’s State of the Union Address

2015/01/21

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.”

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Lucas Supports Bill to Defund President Obama’s Executive Amnesty

2015/01/14

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.

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Lucas: "It's time to build"

2015/01/09

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.

 

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Lucas Supports Measure to Repeal Obamacare Work Week Provision

2015/01/08

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.

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A Cattlemen’s Chairman

2014/12/17

   

“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 the story at Drovers Cattle Network]

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Contact Information

2311 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5565
Fax 202-225-8698
lucas.house.gov/

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.


Serving With

Jim Bridenstine

OKLAHOMA's 1st DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom Cole

OKLAHOMA's 4th DISTRICT

Steve Russell

OKLAHOMA's 5th DISTRICT

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