The decision by U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas to abandon and vote against a research bill he spent three years working on is another example of political election-year gamesmanship in Washington that regular people just don’t understand.
Lucas voted against his own legislation because of the massive tax, climate and health bill deal that was made between Sen. Joe Manchin and the Democratic Senate leadership. Lucas said he couldn’t support the $280 billion research bill he had been working on knowing it would be followed by the new tax bill.
The problem with his logic is the research bill is good legislation that is very much needed to help protect the United States’ economic and security interests. The legislation is expected to increase manufacturing in the U.S. of our own technology. Even Lucas had said that it is a “once-in-a-generation chance to set the direction for American scientific and technological development and to ensure that our values of openness and fairness underpin critical technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum science.”
The chips and research legislation is a package of bills that includes funding to help private companies make computer chips and a range of initiatives to spur scientific research. It would strengthen U.S. global competitiveness. The legislation was supported by 24 Republicans and nearly all Democrats in the House.
Of the five Oklahoma House members, Rep. Tom Cole was the only one to back the bill. The Senate approved the package earlier this week, with both Oklahoma senators in opposition.
We understand the hesitancy of the Republican Oklahoma delegation toward the Democrats’ new, big tax deal. But blaming the no votes for this research bill on Democrats “bad conduct” is just getting tiresome.
If legislation is good legislation that would benefit the country’s economic and security interest, then it should be supported, despite political disagreements over other legislation. The Oklahoma delegation’s no votes don’t matter because the bill has passed and is supported by President Joe Biden.