Ag Policy Blog

Club for Growth Targets House Ag Chairman Lucas

By Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor

According to the conservative group Club for Growth, "RINOs" have infiltrated the House Agriculture Committee. In fact, House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas is a RINO, or Republican in Name Only.

Club for Growth put out a list of GOP members Wednesday on a new website, effectively hanging out a shingle, so to speak, to encourage conservatives to take a primary shot in 2014 against nine Republicans who just aren't Republican enough for the Club for Growth.

Lucas is on the list, as is Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas and Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama, who serve on the Agriculture Committee as well.

Others on the list included Reps Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Steve Palazzo of Mississippi, Mike Simpson of Idaho, Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock, both of Illinois.

Most of the lawmakers targeted by the Club for Growth are in the second term. Lucas is the longest-serving member of Congress put on this list.

According to the Club for Growth, these GOP members don't meet the scorecard metrics set up by the group and all of them naturally represent districts that are conservative in voting trends.

As chairman of the Ag Committee, Lucas supports farm programs and oversees all the nutrition programs. The House Agriculture Committee's farm bill last year would have cut the growth in spending over 10 years by about $35 billion but those cuts weren't enough to win over House leaders, or apparently quench the thirst of groups like the Club for Growth.

Lucas commented to the Tulsa World newspaper, ""I am surprised ... Club for Growth would target me as a Congressman who has not voted conservatively enough," Lucas said through his Washington office.

"In my record of representing my constituents, ... I have always put their best interest first."…

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


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LeeFarms 3/4/2013 | 10:42 AM CST
Let's see, Rep. Lucas chaired a committee that actually had a bill with $35 billion bi-partisan plan for cuts in it. And Rep. Paul Ryan successfully came up with a bi-partisan plan that produced what?! No, he didn't? In other words, the conservatives had strong principles but could never fashion those principles into legislation. And in fact THEY killed the Farm Bill vote in the House. And I am a Republican, just one that realizes governments need to govern.
Lon Truly 3/1/2013 | 6:16 PM CST
Congress needs to be prohibited from engaging in the selective agricultural investment and profit guaranteeing business. Their sorry record of targeting select farmers with highly discriminatory multimillion dollar investment/profit guaranteeing policies has destroyed countless rural communities by neutering the ability of smaller farmers to compete. To guarantee that the largest and obviously potentially most profitable business always will have a vastly superior incomes renders the smaller farmers incapable of competing in this highly competitive business. If congress is going to be involved in the safety net business all farmers are equally deserving of comparably valued safety nets.

A major reason that margins in ag are tight is because of government not only assuming nearly all the production and marketing risks for many of the major ag crops, but also government guaranteeing a profit to many farmers with current prices and current government insurance schemes. Current farm bill proposals double down on these government risk assumption schemes with new and crazier shallow loss income guaranteeing schemes. When farmers have to budget for more of the production and marketing risks they are not as crazy about driving profitability margins below zero.
The billions in subsidies and investment/profit guarantees the government is targeting to the growers of select grain crops are capitalized into extremely higher land and equipment prices. This extreme inflation in the cost of land and equipment has basically prohibited new and younger blood from becoming involved in the beef production business. We can depend on government to screw up just about everything they touch.
dg 3/1/2013 | 9:58 AM CST
I must say that I have never heard of Club for Growth, but am curious about the factors included in their RINO evaluations. I am from Oklahoma and must say that Frank Lucas is one of the great champions of rural values, rural life, and ag production. It is one thing to challenge our leaders to be more conservative, but I find it to be actually insulting to label the head of the House Ag Committee from one of the most conservative states in the Union as being a RINO. Frank is held in the highest regards by Farm Bureau, Farmers Union, and the Wheat Growers to name a few. Club for Growth should not be running down those that are helping us the most.
David Gammill