Republicans Chuck Grassley and Steve King were the only two members of Iowa’s congressional delegation to vote against the deal that has ended the federal government shutdown and extended the government’s borrowing authority. King said once spending issues and the debt limit were joined in one bill, the momentum toward passage was inevitable.
“The American people have fatigue and I understand that, but it’s worth the fatigue if we can accomplish the goal in the end,” King said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “We didn’t get that done in this battle. This battle is not indicative of the entire war and I intend to continue my efforts to repeal ObamaCare.”
Tom Latham, the other Republican in Iowa’s congressional delegation, voted for the deal to end the D.C. stalemate, but in a written statement he called it “the lesser of two evils.” Latham also said he “could not support an irresponsible path that risks defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States.” Latham’s colleague downplays the idea there’s a rift now among Republicans in the House.
“I think we’re actually more together than it might appear from that vote…There’s more support here for our leadership than one would think. There’s less division. There’s very little acrimony of people pointing their fingers at each other and saying: ‘It’s your fault. It’s your fault,’” King said. “Instead they understand that everybody went through their own crucible.”
According to King, Republicans in the House are “tighter” because of the past 16 days.
“I think that we’ve identified 25 or 30 emerging conservatives who are going to be a voice for a long time to come,” King said. “So we laid a foundation in order to do good things in future.”
King, though, said he shared his doubts about the strategy of shutting down the government with his fellow Tea Party conservatives in congress weeks ago.
“But I also said that this will be tried in the court of public opinion and if the American people step behind this thing strongly enough…then I can expect that we’ll see the House Republicans hold strong enough to get this done, at least in a significant way,” King said. “And, you know, instead, too many of them saw that the polls, they believe, were going against them and they decided it wasn’t worth holding the ground and holding the stand that we had taken.”
King also said he’s “troubled by a culture” that cannot live within its means.
“I wanted to move a balanced budget amendment…We didn’t get that done. I wanted to address the entitlement spending. We didn’t get that done,” King said. “Those things must be approached at some point and sooner is easier than later because every quarter that goes by this gets harder and harder and more and more painful.”
Both of Iowa’s Democratic congressmen voted for the deal, although Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City suggested in a written statement that congress merely “kicked the can down the road” and there’ll be another crisis when the stop-gap spending measure runs out January 15th and the new debt limit expires February 7th. Congressman Bruce Braley of Waterloo said he hopes the bipartisan deal allows congress to “find the space” to reach long-term solutions.
Iowa’s U.S. Senators split in today’s vote, with Democrat Tom Harkin voting for the deal and Republican Chuck Grassley among the 18 senators who voted against it. Grassley issued a written statement, calling the measure a “missed opportunity” to reduce the country’s long-term debt. Harkin said the deal will give congress some “breathing room” to make long-term decisions, but Harkin admits the country may be subjected to another cliff hanger in early 2014.