Sapulpa Herald: Lucas Looks to 2010 Session

Jan 14, 2010
In The News

In a monthly interview with U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas on Tuesday, the day the House reconvened for the 2010 legislative session, Lucas provided an inside view on upcoming legislation and the national security issue surrounding the controversial closing of Guantanamo Bay.

Regarding the congressional session last year, Lucas said “a lot of money was spent but nothing passed.”

He said the issues for this new session are the same health care, cap-and-trade, financial regulation, and closing Guantanamo Bay. Also, they must pass an appropriations bill to keep government funded.

Lucas said the House and the Senate are working to combine the two pieces of health care legislation into one package.

“Instead of using a conference report, it appears as though the Democratic leadership will allow the bill to “bounce” back and forth until a compromise is reached,” Lucas said. “There are many differences between the two bills, including the controversial public option and how abortion will fit into the final plan.”

At this time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and the president are working on the bill privately.

Wall Street Reform

Another bill under consideration is H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, that creates a permanent bailout fund for “too big to fail” companies that make poor decisions.

Lucas said he believes this bill, as it is now, only encourages the systemically risky behavior that originally led to the financial crisis. He said the bill is more than 1,200 pages and includes nine separate pieces of legislation.

“(This bill will) dramatically expand the power of the Federal Reserve and establish a “Credit Czar” who will have virtually unlimited authority to restrict consumer choices and impose fees on financial institutions,” Lucas said.

Immigration Reform Package

Lucas said that although no bill has been drafted, there is still discussion of some type of immigration reform package potentially being discussed as well as another “stimulus” package.

2010 Census

Lucas strongly urges Oklahomans to participate in the 2010 Census because that information will determine representation in Congress as well as federal and state funding for each state. Oklahoma is showing an increase in population which, if reflected in the census, could lead to more representation in Congress.

“We will get bigger allocations for our social services, highways, and education if we prove more of us are here,” Lucas said. “It’s important we all participate to get our fair share of resources back.”

The questionnaire has been shortened and will include only 10 questions that take about 10 minutes to answer.

“The information is secure and it is very important that everyone participates,” Lucas said.

Oklahomans should begin receiving census forms in March and should be completed by April 1.

An example of the questionnaire and other information can be found on the Internet at www.2010census.gov. Lucas also provides census information on his Web site at www.house.gov/lucas.

Census Job Opportunities

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently hiring between 3,500 and 5,000 temporary employees in Oklahoma to assist with the census, Lucas said.

For more information, visit www.2010census.gov and click on Job Opportunities.

National Security

Lucas puts national security high on a list of concerns and talked about the closing of Guantanamo Bay and the shipping of terrorists back to their homelands.

“Thank goodness passengers paid attention,” Lucas said about the pre-Christmas airline bombing attempt. “We cannot drop our guard.”

Lucas said he felt Guantanamo Bay is necessary for people involved in these terrorist attacks.

On Christmas Day, Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) he had smuggled on board a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. It was later discovered that he had trained in a terrorist training camp in Yemen operated by al Qaeda, that his father (a Nigerian official) had contacted the United States about his son’s potential terrorist connections and activities, and that he was on the terrorist watch list however he was still allowed to fly.

In addition, on Dec. 30, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi set off an explosive at the entrance of a CIA compound in Afghanistan, killing 8 people. He had been recruited by Jordan’s intelligence service (he was a Jordanian doctor) to assist U.S. spy agencies in their attempts to penetrate al Qaeda operations in the region, but it is now suspected that he was in fact a double agent working for terrorist organizations.

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