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Frank Lucas: Don’t Cut My Pork

Speaker Boehner said yesterday that the Republican caucus would rally behind the Ryan plan when it comes to the House floor next week.  “I am confident that we will have the votes,” Boehner told reporters.

None of the House Democrats are expected to support the Ryan plan. Like their Senate Democrat colleagues, they would probably prefer to have no budget at all.

frank lucasThe plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has caused some Republicans some concern due to not having deep enough spending cuts.  Other Republicans think some cuts are too much.  Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, disagrees with the proposed $33 billion in cuts to farm subsidies and crop insurance.

Lucas prefers a compromise cut of about $10 billion over ten years and an increase in the crop insurance program.

“I would caution people about reading too much into the numbers or policy proposals in either the President’s budget or the Ryan budget. They are only suggestions. During our process, both policy and deficit reduction targets will be developed in conjunction with Ranking Member Peterson [(D-MN)] and members of the Committee as we write a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that ensures Americans continue to have a safe, affordable, and stable food supply,” Lucas said in a statement.

Lucas has represented the western portion of Oklahoma since 1994.  Formerly the 6th district, Lucas now represents the 3rd district after population changes cost the state a House seat.  His district has a large amount of farmland and Lucas has been very successful at bringing home the subsidy bacon.

From 2003 through 2005, $14.7 billion in crop subsidies went to the congressional districts of members on the House Committee on Agriculture, an analysis by the non-partisan Environmental Working Group found. That was 42.4% of the total subsidies.  A 2007 USA Today article charts the subsidies and shows Lucas getting $422 million for his district.

Lucas must have forgotten what he said about taxes and government spending on his website:

“Spending in Congress has reached historic levels during the 111th Congress. The fiscally irresponsible behavior of former Speaker Pelosi and President Obama has driven our national debt level to the point that it is almost equal to the size of our entire economy. This is unacceptable and it must stop.

I have opposed – and will continue to oppose – spending initiatives that dramatically increase the size and scope of the federal government while adding to our already massive national debt. I have long been a supporter of tax reform and will continue to fight against increases in taxes and wasteful federal spending. Congress must get back to the business of fiscal responsibility and strive for a balanced budget without raising the taxes of hard-working Americans.”

His voting record would seem to be in direct conflict with his statements on government spending.  The Heritage Action for America legislative scorecard gives Lucas an abysmal 54%.  By comparison, Oklahoma’s lone Democrat in Congress, Dan Boren, scored 47%.

Lucas needs to read the Six Reasons to Repeal Farm Subsidies by Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute.

1.  Farm subsidies redistribute wealth.
2.  Farm subsidies damage the economy.
3.  Farm programs are prone to scandal.
4.  Farm subsidies damage U.S. trade relations.
5.  Farm programs damage the environment.
6.  Agriculture would thrive without subsidies.

But, it probably wouldn’t matter.  $422 million buys a lot of votes.


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