Congressman Lucas Optimistic The 117th Congressional Session Will be Good Despite The Negative Events Leading up to The New SessionTue, 26 Jan 2021 15:33:45 CST
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) is brimming with optimism as the new Congressional session gets underway.
Maybe thatís because his other job as a farmer and rancher requires a healthy dose of optimism!
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Lucas this week about his optimistic approach despite the myriad of sometimes negative news and events coming out of Washington, D.C.
After what we went through in the final part of the last session of Congress, Covid-19, storming the Capitol, an inaugural with an audience of 25,000 National Guard troops, it is hard to imagine how the rest of 2021-22 could be any more complicated, Lucas said.
Like every wheat farmer, I put seed in the ground hoping for a good crop and I am optimistic weíre going to do something good in the 117th session of Congress, Lucas said.
A closely divided U.S. House and Senate has created a whole new set of dynamics, Lucas said.
The only reason that Chuck Schumer of New York is the majority leader of the Senate now instead of Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is because the Vice President of the U.S. comes to the Senate every morning and decides there are 51 Democrat votes as opposed to 50 Republican votes, Lucas said.
On the House side, weíre just a handful of seats from being the majority, Lucas said.
Thatís why the President is issuing a slew of executive orders because he knows he wonít be in position to slam anything through, Lucas said.
If they canít work on things we can all agree on, itís not going to happen, Lucas said.
And maybe in the world we live in now, thatís a good thing, he said.
From the perspective of rural America, having Tom Vilsack as USDA chief back in the saddle (from the Obama administration) is a good thing, Lucas said.
I am optimistic as we start this new session, Lucas said.
Lucas was not surprised by Vilsackís appointment as he was a strong candidate for the Democratís choice for Vice President if Hilary Clinton had won over Trump.
I think his experience as Governor of Iowa gives him a better feel for the Heartland than anyone else from the Democrat party, Lucas said.
Of all the people they could have picked he is the best, Lucas said.
The other Biden appointments are more troublesome, Lucas said.
When you come from an energy producing area, you always have concerns how energy producers are going to be treated, Lucas said.
That includes agriculture, which is a big energy consumer.
The bottom line is if the new administration is willing to make sure we do not turn off domestic energy sources, then there is an opportunity, he said.
The Oklahoma third district congressman is more encouraged by the latest round of Covid-19 relief funds.
I was very pleased that we were able to put our RAMP UP language in the final bill, Lucas said.
This will create more options for livestock producers and retailers to market products, Lucas said.
The need to equalize state and federal meat inspection is a critical issue, Lucas said.
We have to address this imbalance so you will have more competition, Lucas said.
Although Cong. Lucas is not currently on the House Agriculture Committee, which he chaired from 2011-2015 and passed the 2014 farm bill, he nonetheless takes his role as ranking minority member on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, seriously.
Lucas hopes leadership will find a place for him on the Agriculture Committee when it comes time a work on the new farm bill.
I expect to be there, Lucas said.
He expects climate change to be a major issue for the Agriculture Committee.
Many of the current ag committee members are from states with a very diverse agriculture industry and that is good, Lucas said.
Livestock is the one commodity that dominates our state and much of rural America so it is vital that we can make sure there is true price discovery, Lucas said.
There is a legitimate problem in how the current food supply chain works, he said.
The system isnít working right now, he added.
It has to be more robust and equitable, he said.
You can click on the listen bar below to hear more of Ronís interview with Cong. Lucas.
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