Oklahoma Congressional District 3 Representative Frank Lucas expressed concern Friday over procedural approaches recently taken by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“We have to get back to what some of us call regular order,” Lucas said during a Friday morning phone interview with the Herald.
A press release issued by Lucas’s office Wednesday said House leadership negotiated HR1105, an omnibus appropriations bill, in a fashion contrary to standard House procedures.
“This spending bill did not go through the normal legislative process, instead, it was drafted behind closed doors by Pelosi and members of her leadership team,” the release said.
Lucas said that during a recent meeting between President Barack Obama and the Republican House Conference, Republican leaders questioned Obama about promises he made on the campaign trail about open government and governmental transparency.
“We had a pretty lively discussion for about an hour,” Lucas said.
Lucas said Obama politely acknowledged the concerns and promised to discuss the issue with Pelosi and her leadership team.
Lucas said provisions of HR1105 include a $3.15 billion cut from highway funds.
“These are the things that put people to work,” Lucas said.
Lucas cited materials such as concrete and steel as major materials used in highway construction.
“ODOT (the Oklahoma Department of Transportation) does a good job,” he said. “I’m hoping the impact will be minimal on Oklahoma.”
Lucas expressed concern over tax proposals in President Obama’s 2010 budget. First among his concerns is a provision to impose an energy consumption tax, projected to generate $646 billion dollars in revenue, and the negative impact the tax would have on Oklahoma agricultural and energy production.
“We are high energy consumers in agriculture,” Lucas said, pointing to energy demands in agricultural production and in transporting agricultural goods to market. “The flip side is that we are an energy producer.”
The tax, he said, would impact both energy use and production.
“We get it both going and coming,” he said.
Lucas added that the proposed budget totals $3.5 trillion and would increased the federal budget deficit by $2.4 trillion.
Lucas said the proposed budget also places a $750 billion place holder for additional, government funded bail-outs.
In its current form, Obama’s budget is a non-binding proposal submitted to congress for consideration. After receiving the budget, representatives and senators analyze it and make changes before congressional approval. The initial proposal is intended to begin and set the tone for debate.
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