Congressman Steve King will become the chairman of the U.S. House subcommittee on immigration when Republicans take over control of the House in January.
King was a harsh critic of the immigration reform plan backed by former President George W. Bush. President Obama last week said he hopes to work with the Republican-led congress to resolve the issue.
“I’m all for bipartisanship when I agree with the policy and I think that’s how the president has been, too, so let’s see what we can get accomplished here,” King says. “I’m for moving on some immigration proposals and first thing we need to do is hold some hearings and build a broad knowledge base and take a look at the big picture and where the resources and assets are being placed and get them arranged in such a way that there can be a balance and they can be effective.”
King says he’ll resist any effort to offer “amnesty” to those who’ve entered the country illegally. King also plans to use his authority to block the bipartisan “Dream Act” which would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants who’ve graduated from high school and promise to finish college and then serve two years in the U.S. military.
Before the new members of the U.S. House and Senate are sworn in, though, there’s going to be a “lame duck” session of congress yet this year to act on a variety of proposals. King says if Democrats agree to extend all the Bush-era tax cuts — even those for top income-earners — that may be a sign of things to come in 2011 when Republicans take over the House.
“If it turns into a battle and we end up having a fight instead of accomplishing something for the American people when everybody that understands free enterprise knows we have to extend the Bush tax cuts, if that can be accomplished in a lame duck session it sets a really good tone for the 112th congress coming up,” King says. “If it can’t, it would be an indicator, I think, that it’s going to be a battle all the way.”
King campaigned with many of the new members of the House and he’s meeting with them in Washington this month to chart an action plan for January and beyond.
“The cavalry is over the hill. The last two or three weeks they’ve been charging down the hill and they’ve arrived now. And we really need them,” King says. “America needs fiscal responsibility and constitutional government.”
King, who is from Kiron in western Iowa, was reelected last week to a fifth term in congress. He made his comments during a telephone interview with KJAN Radio.
(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)