April 19, 2015

Congressman King condemns murder of Egyptians by Islamic State

Congresman Steve King.

Congresman Steve King.

Iowa Congressman Steve King is condemning the brutal weekend slaughter of more than 20 Coptic Christians in Libya and he says the mass killing should serve as a call to action for America. King, a Republican from Kiron, says the murders of the Egyptian citizens by members of the Islamic State were videotaped and put online for the world to see.

“They were in Libya, looking for opportunities to work and make some money. The economy in Egypt has been bad,” King says. “They were captured by ISIS. The 21 of them were marched down along the shoreline there of the sea and simultaneously beheaded and beheaded because they’re Christians.” King says it’s yet another in a long line of vile, public acts of violence by the radical religious sect.

“It is a tragedy that took place in Libya, the Coptics who were beheaded,” King says. “Their religious leader is the Coptic pope in Cairo whom I have met with and have spent significant time with him and learning the pressures that have been on them.” In recent years, Coptic Christians in Egypt have been vilified, with more than 100 of their churches burned and in one instance, a Coptic wedding was attacked and 50 people were killed, including the bride and groom.

In the past day, the Egyptian air force launched a series of attacks in Libya, reportedly hitting ISIS camps, training sites and a weapons storage area. King says Egypt’s president is responding appropriately. “He is prepared to retaliate or has retaliated and I think that’s one of the things that we must do,” King says. “I’ve come to the conclusion, we’re going to have to defeat radical Islamic jihadism wherever we find it and it’s going to take more than kinetic action to accomplish such a feat.”

King says he and a congressional delegation will travel to Cairo on March 9th to meet with Egyptian officials about ways to stop terrorism by groups like ISIS. The congressman made his comments during a stop in Webster City on Monday.

(Reporting by, Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)


Steve King welcomes crowd to Iowa Freedom Summit (AUDIO)

Congressman Steve King opened the “Iowa Freedom Summit” this morning in Des Moines by suggesting the crowd will hear from one of the Republican candidates who will win the presidency in 2016.

“I wanted to put up a ship’s bow up here and get out a bottle of champagne and just break that over the bow so that we could launch the next era of American exceptionalism together,” King said, to applause from the crowd. “That is what we’re doing. It’s what we must do together.”

Eight candidates who have made clear they are considering a run for president are scheduled to speak today. The list includes the last two winners of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Caucuses. King offered his own opinion about the would-be candidates who did not accept his invitation today.

“Do you believe that the next president of the United States is going to be speaking from,” King asked. The crowd cheered, then King added: “As do I.”

King, who had the first speech slot of the day, laid out a few issues which he expects the possible candidates to address today, including national defense. When King called for abolishing the IRS he got a rousing response from the crowd. A few moments later the audience bowed their heads as King delivered this prayer: “And I pray that out of this process you will identify and lift up the individual whom you will use to restore the soul of this great country. Thank you Lord. God bless America.”

AUDIO of King’s speech

A group of protesters are gathered outside of the event hall to criticize King’s stand and statements about immigration. This past Tuesday King used the word ‘deportable’ to describe Texas college student President Obama had as a guest at the “State of the Union” address. The young woman was brought into the country illegally by her parents when she was a child and has been shielded from deportation by Obama’s executive order. Later today a group of “Dreamers” who were brought into the country illegally by their parents will gather at a Des Moines restaurant for hamburgers with “a side of cantaloupe.” That’s a reference to King’s comments a few years ago that there are more drug runners than valedictorians among the young people brought into the country illegally by their parents.

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee held a news conference a block away from the Iowa Freedom Summit event hall, in the hour before the event began. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz suggested GOP candidates would pay a price with the public for being “in such close company” with King.

“It would feel surreal, which is what reality TV feels like, if it weren’t so frighteningly real because these are all people who actually have their hands on the levers of power,” she told reporters. “These are people that actually control power.”

Gov. Walker to tout ‘Wisconsin comeback’ during Iowa appearance

Freedom-graphicA parade of Republicans who’ve said they may run for president will speak at an event on Saturday in Des Moines.

The speaking schedule for Congressman Steve King’s “Iowa Freedom Summit” includes a retired surgeon, two people who’ve made their mark in the business world and four people who are either in congress now or who used to serve there. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is one of the half dozen current or former Republican governors who’ll speak.

“My belief is talking to voters here in state and around the country is that people want someone new, someone fresh with big, bold ideas from outside of Washington,” Walker said during an interview with Green Bay, Wisconsin radio station WTAQ.

Walker will tout what he calls the “Wisconsin comeback” — something he said some of the other would-be candidates can’t match.

“And we need leaders who are not looking to grow things in Washington, but looking to grow the economy in towns and villages and cities all across the United States,” Walker told WTAQ.

The other speakers at Saturday’s event who have state-level chief executive experience are New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Sarah Palin of Alaska and Jim Gilmore of Virgina as well as Rick Perry, whose 14-year run as governor of Texas ended earlier this week. Another Texan, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, is among the afternoon’s speakers, along with Utah Senator Mike Lee, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and businessman Donald Trump, the host of his own reality TV show, will be there, too. Dr. Ben Carson gained notice in conservative circles with his speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast and he will speak at Saturday’s event as well.

(Reporting in Wisconsin by Robert Kennedy of WTAQ; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)

Can Steve King be a ‘kingmaker’ in Iowa’s 2016 Caucuses?

Congresman Steve King.

Congresman Steve King.

Steve King’s role as co-host of this weekend’s big political event which will feature about a dozen potential GOP presidential candidates has sparked speculation that the congressman might be a “kingmaker” if he endorses a candidate in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. King has said he waited too long before endorsing Fred Thompson just before the 2008 Iowa Caucuses and, while he did not officially endorse a candidate in 2012, King gave a strong hint.

“We need to give credit to the people that have worked the hardest,” King said during a November, 2011 appearance on Iowa Public Television. “And that’s going to be Rick Santorum, who’s been to all 99 counties. Michele Bachmann would be a close second.”

But Steve King isn’t the only potential “endorser” in Iowa who presidential candidates will court this year. Just this week, agribusinessman Bruce Rastetter — a major donor to GOP candidates and causes — announced he plans to host a presidential candidate forum in early March, focused exclusively on agricultural issues. And Bob Vander Plaats leads The Family Leader, the conservative Christian organization that plans to host a series of events featuring presidential candidates. Doug Gross, the Iowa Republican Party’s 2002 nominee for governor, said the flurry of “cattle calls” for GOP presidential candidates is the “unintended consequence” of the Republican National Committee’s decision to limit the number sanctioned debates among the candidates.

“Because they’ve limited those (debates) — there’s only going to be one in Iowa, you’re going to have every interest imaginable trying to act like a ‘kingmaker’ by hosting an event that they consider required attendance by all the people that want to run for president,” Gross said during an interview with Radio Iowa, “so I think you’re going to see tons of this.”

And Gross contends it means there’s “a danger” special interests could “hijack” the 2016 race, plus he expects the multitude of candidates to be risk-averse in those kind of “cattle shows” as candidates parade through the event, one after the other.

“So these are going to be the same old thing, over and over again and what’s going to happen, for caucus goers, is it’s going to be kind of a cacophony and they’re going to have a very difficult time sorting out one from the other,” Gross said.

John Stineman worked for Phil Gramm’s campaign here in 1996 and then managed the Iowa Caucus campaign for Steve Forbes four years later. Stineman said there are a number of “high-profile” Republicans in Iowa that represent key constituencies that any candidate would like to communicate with.

“But Iowa’s really about grassroots. The Caucuses are definitely about the individual voter,” Stineman told Radio Iowa. “As my old boss Phil Gramm said, ‘Don’t worry about the head of the table. You spend your time working the rest of the room.'”

Trudy Caviness, the long-time chair of Wapello County Republicans, said a “big-name” endorsement has broad reach throughout the state, but the backing of a grassroots activist can “carry greater weight” at the local level.

“Sometimes people take those endorsements more seriously because they know the person,” Caviness said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

Judy Davidson is in her third term as chair of Scott County Republicans and she agrees that a local activist who endorses a candidate can effectively “bend the ear” of neighbors, co-workers and friends on a daily basis to tout their choice.

“I don’t want to diminish the higher-profile politicians’ endorsement. That also is important. It’s just a different kind of endorsement. You’re looking at people who you respect as a politician, like Senator Grassley or Congressman King…and we respect their opinions,” Davidson told Radio Iowa.

Senator Chuck Grassley endorsed two-time Iowa Caucus winner Bob Dole in 1988 and 1996. Governor Terry Branstad endorsed Dole’s second bid for the White House as well and, in late 1995, Grassley and Branstad played key roles as surrogate campaigners for Dole in Iowa because Dole, who was the senate majority leader at the time, was stuck in Washington negotiating with President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich over a government shutdown.

Congressman King praises France, criticizes president’s response to terror attacks

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Iowa Congressman Steve King is praising France for its actions in response to terror attacks last Wednesday that left 17 people dead. France ordered 10-thousand troops into the streets Monday to protect sensitive sites, half of them to guard Jewish schools, as authorities there continued to search for accomplices to the Islamic militants who committed the acts of terror.

King says the French people have taken to the streets to show that they want the threat from the extremists to be stopped. “When you see that they have demonstrations in the street greater than anything since France was liberated from the Nazis near the end of World War Two, you can tell there’s some momentum in that country to do some of these things to clean up their society to some degree, and do a lot better job of identifying people who are threats to safety and security,” King says.

The 4th district Republican says the Obama administration apparently didn’t understand what was happening in Paris. “Our president has not yet identified who are enemies are in this, he sees it as a police action,” King says. “He sent his attorney general over to France. Eric Holder apparently caught a plane and left before the actual march through Paris.”

King says the president’s recent decision to release more prisoners from the “Gitmo” prison in Cuba is just putting more terrorists back into the field. “These are bad, bad guys and he’s turning them loose and sending them back into I guess other Islamic neighborhoods where 29-percent of them have already been identified as going back to war against the United States. We have a president working in exactly the wrong direction of what we need to be doing. We need to tighten this country down on security a lot,” King says.

King says he will introduce a bill in the house this week that will cancel the passport of any American who goes oversees to join a terrorist organization.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)


All of Iowa’s congressmen vote for Keystone XL pipeline bill (video)

Congressman Dave Loebsack being sworn in by House Speaker John Boehner as his wife Cindy holds the Bible.

Congressman Dave Loebsack being sworn in by House Speaker John Boehner as his wife Cindy holds the Bible.

All four of Iowa’s Congressmen voted for a bill today to move ahead with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring oil to the U.S. from Canada.

Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kyron, issued a video message after the vote, acknowledging the president has threatened to veto the bill.

“If it gets to the president’s desk and he vetoes the bill, he’s vetoing 40,000 jobs, he’s vetoing 830,000 barrels of oil a day coming into the United States. Canada is our best trading partner, that oil is going somewhere,” King says. He says if the oil doesn’t come to the U.S. for refinement, it will go to China.

The bill passed the U.S. House with 238 Republican votes and 28 from Democrats. “We’ll send this bill over to the Senate, I’m confident the Senate takes it up,” King says. “We needed to pass this legislation early, it’s jobs, it’s economic growth. It helps make us energy independent in the North American continent. It’s good for our trading relations with our great friends and trading partners and neighbors to the north, Canada,” King says.

Freshmen Republican Congressmen David Young and Rod Blum also voted for the bill. Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack was one of the 28 Democrats to vote for the bill.

Loebsack released a statement following his vote:

“I have long subscribed to the belief that the best course of action regarding energy policy is to move from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy as quickly and as feasibly as possible. I understand the concerns about the potential impact of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. At the same time, any decision such as the one regarding Keystone is hardly a simple or easy one to make. Environmental concerns are important, but so are other factors.

“In my mind, one of the most important reasons is the infrastructure jobs that will be created due to the construction of the pipeline. I am fully aware of the short-term nature of the 40,000 plus jobs that will be created by this project. But I cast my vote today in favor of creating these jobs that can’t be shipped overseas and for the countless hardworking men and women who put their hard hats on every morning so that they can put food on the table and help their children pay for college. We have seen Wall Street recover, yet working folks across Iowa and America continue to wait their turn. Our focus must continue to be on improving the economy, getting Americans back to work, and moving our country forward. It is unfortunate that Republicans have refused to move any comprehensive jobs legislation to keep jobs from going overseas. A good first start would be an immediate consideration of a long-term transportation bill so American workers can get back to work and the U.S. economic recovery can be further enhanced.

“Additionally, today’s vote marks only the beginning of the work Congress must do on energy policy during the next session and in the years beyond. First, we must do all we can to reduce carbon at its sources and ensure that polluters bear the costs of their action. This can be done by imposing a carbon fee on the pollution emitted by the use of fossil fuels, with the revenue generated returned to households. We also must extend the Production Tax Credit to continue to spur the generation of wind power, extend the Investment Tax Credit to incentivize the development of solar power, and continue other policies to enable the increased use of other renewable forms of energy. These policies will both protect our environment and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across America. These efforts will continue to move our nation on a path that practically and affordably moves us farther from reliance on fossil fuels and towards significantly more use of renewables.”

King, Blum among 24 who vote against Boehner for speaker

Rod Blum

Rod Blum

Only one of the three Republicans from Iowa who are now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to give Ohio Republican John Boehner a third term as Speaker of the House.

David Young of Van Meter said he had “thoughtful conversations” in the past 24 hours with each of the three publicly announced candidates for speaker and he decided to vote for Boehner.

Long-time Iowa GOP Congressman Steve King had been trying to deny Boehner the job, arguing Boehner had thwarted Republican attempts to respond to President Obama’s policies on immigration and health care.

Rob Blum of Dubuque, the other rookie member of Iowa’s congressional delegation, joined King in trying to get rid of Boehner as speaker. Blum issued a written statement, saying he “was elected by Iowans to stand up to the status quo in Washington, DC, and I refuse to turn my back on them with my first vote…I must follow the will of the Eastern Iowans who rejected politics as usual in November and are calling for change in D.C.”

Blum and King were among the 24 Republicans who voted against Boehner as speaker, five short of what was needed to stymie Boehner’s bid to stay in the post.

Young — the rookie Republican from Iowa who voted for Boehner — said in a written statement that “while there were many differing opinions about this vote, from the numerous conversations I had with my constituents and other members of the House, it was clear that we are all unified in wanting the best for this great nation and her people.”