Oklahoma Farm Bureau had an opportunity to hear Rep. Frank Lucas’ insight on the issues impacting farmers and ranchers in the nation’s capital during an interview at a recent meeting in Weatherford.
Though many discussions on Capitol Hill impact Oklahoma agricultural producers, Lucas focused on the ongoing investigation into potential manipulation in beef markets and current capital gains tax proposals.
As numerous beef producers in Oklahoma and across the country have become increasingly concerned by the disparity between the price of live cattle and the price of retail beef, Lucas said he is anxiously awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“That’s not a civil investigation; that’s a criminal investigation,” Lucas said. “The wheels of the law move slowly unfortunately.”
Though he is eager to gain answers from the Justice Department, Lucas said a complete and thorough investigation is necessary because of the significance of the results.
“Am I impatient with the Department of Justice? Absolutely,” Lucas said. “But they need to do a thorough job because what comes out of that could potentially either send someone to jail or provide us with the justification to make perhaps some dramatic changes in federal law. So it’s got to be done right.
“If there’s something there, (the DOJ should) determine it, prove it, pursue it in court or provide us the information and we’ll respond with changing the legislation.”
As a cattle producer himself, Lucas said many of the proposals to fund the Biden Administration’s infrastructure package are troubling to capital-intensive industries like agriculture.
Lucas said one of his greatest accomplishments in Congress has been removing the inheritance tax to help family farms and ranches preserve their operations for the next generation, but current proposals to eliminate stepped-up basis in capital gains taxes would essentially reinstate the so-called death tax.
“If you tax the change in value from one generation to the next, through capital gains or eliminating the basis, you’re in effect having a death tax again,” he said. “That’s what we voted to get rid of years ago and what we cannot go back to.”
The Third Congressional District representative said Oklahoma farmers and ranchers have to stand together to work against these policies.
“It’s a fight we’re going to fight, and we all have to fight together,” Lucas said.