FAIRVIEW — Congressman Frank Lucas spoke on a variety of issues Tuesday afternoon in a town hall meeting in Fairview.
Lucas spoke a familiar refrain, stating the “political oxygen” is being sucked from Congress and presidential “silly season” is underway.
Regarding Oklahoma, Lucas said the state needs rain. Two of the state’s biggest economic drivers —agriculture and oil— both are impacted by drought, ethanol and other factors.
“We’re caught in a lack of world demand because of lagging world economies,” he said of the two topics.
Agriculture will balance out, he said, but Congress will need to review some Conservation Reserve Programs next year.
Oil prices also will even out within three years, he said.
“This is not 1982,” he said. “It took 15 years for property prices to recover then. It won’t be 15 years. It’s just a matter of how many. I think two to three.”
Regarding federal politics, appropriation bills and a budget resolution remain at a standstill, and Lucas said Congress may not pass a budget resolution.
Lucas, R-Okla., said one year ago Congress passed a budget resolution that set spending caps. The resolution was amended in December and funded the federal government through September 2016, he said.
“Of the $4 trillion the federal government will spend next year, about $1 trillion is discretionary money — money spent on an annual, year-to-year basis,” he said. “The other $3 trillion is mandatory money — from Medicare to Social Security to crop insurance — all of those things. So, one-fourth of total spending you have year-to-year control on. The caps agreed to a year ago are about $30 billion different than the caps agreed to last December.”
Lucas said lawmakers are discussing operating by December’s agreement or the smaller caps from one year ago.
“If we don’t get one (budget resolution) done, well at some point we have to do our work,” he said.
Lucas also spoke on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death and President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.
Lucas said he does not disagree with waiting to appoint a new justice until the new president is elected.
“But, if you get to a point in November where someone is elected that the majority in the Senate thinks is even more likely to appoint a judge even more extreme, don’t be surprised if the fella that President Obama has nominated — don’t be surprised if given a choice between that nominee or a Hilary Clinton or Bernie Sanders with a nominee that you don’t get this guy lined up at the last minute,” Lucas said.
Lucas has not endorsed a presidential candidate, but stands by his previous statement that Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee.
“We may have a Republican convention this summer where the nominee will be decided on the floor,” he said. “Up until 10 days ago, I may not have said that.”
Lucas compared the presidential race to a reality television show.
“If you were running a business, you’d ask for more resumes,” he said. “It’s like reality TV has come to the presidential campaign. Stop talking about each other's wife. Can you remember a time when there was less focus on the issues?”