Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., has been named ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee for the next Congress. He succeeds Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who had to forfeit his leadership position because of under House Republican Conference rules limiting to six years a member's holding a committee leadership position.
Outlining his priorities as new House Agriculture ranking members on Wednesday, Lucas said implementation of the 2008 Farm Bill and addressing the problems with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are his immediate concerns.
There has been talk of merging the CFTC with the SEC, which would bring it under the jurisdiction of the House Financial Services Committee that Lucas is also a member of. However he said he is opposed to such a move and thinks the Agriculture Committee can respond to strengthen the CFTC's power.
Before the Thanksgiving recess, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduced legislation that would require credit derivatives be sold through regulated exchanges under the CFTC as a way to deal with commodity speculation. Earlier this week, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said he wants to put a similar bill through the House in January to ensure greater transparency.