Congressman Frank Lucas Describes $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan as HaphazardWed, 22 Sep 2021 14:46:26 CDT
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend government funding through Dec. 3, avoiding a partial government shutdown. The continuing resolution also uncapped the federal debt ceiling through the end of fiscal year 2022.
Today, Ron Hays, director of farm and ranch programming for Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, spoke with Congressman Frank Lucas, on why the budget for fiscal year 2022 has Lucas concerned for several reasons.
“(It was) absolutely a party-line vote,” Lucas said. “So, you got (the) continuing resolution to fund the government until Dec. because they cannot get their work done and you also have the debt ceiling being raised to whatever level, until after the 2022 election.”
Lucas said the strategy is to help House Democrats prepare for the expected budget reconciliation bill; a bill that would make President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan be a reality.
“Think of this (bill) as Obamacare for the rest of the federal government,” Lucas said.
Lucas pointed out that the $1 trillion infrastructure plan is not included in the $3.5 budget.
“Just an amazing amount of money, in a hurry, in the most haphazard way,” Lucas said. “The democrats tried to make the argument on the floor that this debt ceiling increase way to pay the past administration. The fact of the matter is, they need the debt ceiling increase so they can do their new spending bill - the so-called budget reconciliation bill.”
Even with potential tax increases, there won’t be enough money to cover the bill democrats have lined up, according to Lucas.
“It is forward-spending that they are preparing for,” Lucas said. “Basically … by adding more national debt.”
Lucas said while so much attention is being given to the budget, he knows the U.S. meat processing chain needs to be addressed. For many Americans, part of fixing the meat processing supply chain means narrowing the gap between live-animal prices and meat prices at the grocery store.
Earlier this week, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta spoke at the National Farmers Union annual Fall Legislative Virtual Fly-In. Ultimately, her comments failed to offer any updates on the continuing investigation of anti-competitive behavior among meatpackers.
“What I have told everybody I know in the Department of Justice is, if the laws have been broken, then prosecute,” Lucas said. “If you determine that you cannot prosecute but there are problems, then tell us in a straightforward fashion, so we can respond legislatively.”
At this point, Lucas said congress is waiting on the Department of Justice, gritting their teeth while doing so.
Lucas also said he finds House Agriculture Committee members’ failure to include conservation dollars in the mark up for fiscal year 2022 spending, instead ensuring it would be addressed later.
“I was taken aback,” Lucas said. “I have had discussions with various active members of the committee now, and they are kind of bewildered too.”
He said if this is a tactic from the Biden-Harris administration to force new conservation concepts into legislation, Lucas said they had better be prepared for pushback.
Hit the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron’s full conversation with Congressman Lucas, where they talk much more about the politics, policies and goings-on of Capitol Hill from a rural perspective.
WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI
Top Agricultural News