Ron Hays Catches Up with Rep. Frank Lucas Talking WOTUS Repeal, Ag Spending Cuts and MoreThu, 29 Jun 2017 16:08:19 CDT
In one of his recent periodical conversations with our state’s Congressional delegation, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the opportunity to get Oklahoma’s 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas’ take on several of the agricultural policy issues currently being shaped in our nation’s capital. You can listen to that full conversation between Hays and Congressman Lucas, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below, at the bottom of this story.
Topping Hays’ list of topics, is the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement that it has begun the process of repealing the existing Waters of the United States rule as it stands. The Congressman whole heartily agrees that its repeal is a major victory won for both rural and urban Americans.
“We’ve been dependent on court case wins, but the real issue is the rule itself,” Congressman Lucas said. “Now that EPA Director Pruitt has announced they will begin the process of taking the rule back - basically cancelling it - is a great victory and one of those occasions where the Trump administration has done exactly what they said they would do.”
Still, the road to repeal has many winding curves left ahead to traverse. With many in D.C. that wish to keep the existing rule in place, a number of legal actions and processes must first be overcome before the rule is finally terminated. Nonetheless, the Congressman remains confident Administrator Pruitt will prevail and the alternative language he replaces the current rule with will reflect a mirror image of the law’s intent.
“That rule, where the previous administration was trying to literally give the federal government control over everything,” he said, “was one of the most devastating attempts at expanding power I’ve seen in my time in the nation’s capital.”
It is not just the WOTUS supporters ag policies leaders are dealing with currently either. Opposition is being faced on several fronts. Particularly on the subject of significant cuts to Farm Bill spending, as budget appropriation hearings dominate discussions in Washington presently.
“The focus right now in the United States House is on the social nutrition side of the Farm Bill spending,” Lucas explained. “That’s where a number of people are gunning for substantial savings.”
He went on to explain House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway’s stance, which he agrees with, saying that the agriculture industry has already paid its dues, having saved the government more than $100 billion from cuts to the 2014 Farm Bill, nearly quadruple what they had anticipated to do. He insists that there truly is not much more fat to trim. Nevertheless, he hesitates to say how things will play out as the government works to balance the budget as best it can by making the hard decisions of what programs to cut and which to keep.
“It comes down to how much money is available to us,” Lucas retorted. “We’ve done our part. I don’t personally see much to give up - don’t use the Farm Bill as the cash cow to go fund something else. And then when it comes time to write a new Farm Bill in 2018, leave us without the ability to create good policy.”
As much as constituents are paying attention to the legislation that will insure the health of their business, they also are watching closely the legislation that will insure the physical health of themselves and their families.
“I believe at the end of the day the Senate Republicans will come up with a workable document that will muster 51 votes, pass the Senate, come back to us,” he said, “and I believe at that point, you’ll see a rather extensive - very intense conference and ultimately, we’ll come up with a document to replace Obamacare.”
Listen to the full conversation between Hays and Congressman Lucas, talking about the progress of these policies and others in Washington, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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