Farm bill: ‘National and equitable’

AgWeek
By: Jerry Hagstrom
October 11, 2011

WASHINGTON — Reflecting on the turbulent weather that continues in his home state, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said the country still needs a strong, comprehensive farm bill.

And, he said, while Tea Party-minded members of the House are “idealistic

. . . the majority has a responsibility to govern.”

Speaking in an interview with Agweek, Lucas also said he thinks both President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, think Congress should cut farm bill spending by $33 billion over 10 years, but that he hopes Congress will not cut that much.

Until he receives guidance on farm bill cuts from the supercommittee in charge of deficit reduction, Lucas said he thinks his agriculture committee is wise to “hold our cards close to the chest,” but he said he still likes the directs payments that crop farmers get whether prices are high or low and thinks nutrition programs should be examined for fraud, abuse and inefficiences.

He also said he doesn’t expect either the renewable fuels standard or the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill will be repealed.

Lucas, who owns a farm and cattle ranch near Cheyenne in Oklahoma’s Roger Mills County, grew up in a family that was half Democratic and half Republican, and became active in Republican politics at Oklahoma State University.

He was elected to the Oklahoma House in 1988 at age 28, and got a chance to run for Congress in 1994 when Glenn English, a 19-year conservative Democrat, resigned to become head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The Almanac of American Politics has noted from Lucas’ home in Cheyenne, his district extends 80 miles south, 240 miles west to the Panhandle, and 270 miles east to the Tulsa, Okla., outskirts — more than 34,000 square miles.
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