July 7, 2015

Congressman Steve King praises Donald Trump’s ‘scrappiness’

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Iowa Congressman Steve King has come under fire in the past for making controversial comments about immigrants and King now is coming to the defense of GOP candidate Donald Trump. In mid-June when Trump formally entered the presidential race, Trump said some of the people coming into this country from Mexico are “people with problems” like drug runners and rapists.

During an interview with KAYL Radio in Storm Lake this morning, King said he appreciates Donald Trump’s “scrappiness.”

“Donald Trump is one of the few individuals that will speak boldly about what he believes in and he’ll be challenged by the P.C. Police, the Politically Correct police, and instead of backing up and curling up, he just goes forward,” King said.

There is truth behind Trump’s comments, according to King.

“In this country, if you speak the truth — if it is the demonstrable, objective truth — that should always be a defense for uttering a statement,” King said. “And instead, you know I catch some of that criticism…Eventually, if you can corner them, they’ll say, ‘Well, O.K., I’ll have to concede what you said is true, but you should have found a different way of saying it.’ And my answer to that is: ‘I said it the real gentle way for a long time and you weren’t listening, so I had to tell you in a way that you actually got it.’ That’s what Donald Trump does.”

Macy’s today announced it would no longer sell Trump merchandise. Trump has been featured in the company’s commercials in the past.

Trump is suing Univision after the network announced it would not air the Miss USA beauty pageant Trump owns. NBC Universal also ended its business relationship with Trump, who had been the star of the network’s “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV show. Trump has called the network “weak and foolish” and is threatening to sue NBC, too.

(Reporting by Joel Hermann, KAYL, Storm Lake; additional reporting and editing by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)

Congressman King critical of gay marriage ruling, Loebsack praises it

Steve King

Steve King

Iowa Congressman Steve King, a republican from Kyron, says today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on gay marriage is another example of “extreme judicial overreach,” just like the decision on Obamacare.

“If gay marriage is to be the policy of this land — that needs to be a decision made by the people through their elected representatives — not by judicial fiat,” King says. In a video statement, King says this court decision is like the Dred Scott decision on slavery, and the other Supreme Court decisions that banned prayer in public schools and allowed abortion. “The Supreme Court has a terrible record in trying to transform our society and put an end to issues,” King says. “The only way we put an end to issues if it is the will of the people. It’s not the will of the people to have same-sex marriage. Now there is no reason to have civil marriage whatsoever.”

King says there’s a way to deal with the ruling. “So, I’m calling upon the states, just abolish civil marriage, let’s go back to holy matrimony the way it began. Do that alone,” King says. “And by the way, I want to send a message to the Supreme Court — a good strong message — and in the next days and weeks I will be introducing legislation to do just that.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack.

Congressman Dave Loebsack.

On the other side of the issue, Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City, released this statement on the gay marriage ruling:

“Iowans are no strangers to being on the forefront of fighting for greater civil rights. We have long strived for equality, whether it is based on race, gender or sexual orientation. That is why I am thrilled that the Supreme Court today struck down state laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, effectively legalizing marriage between two people of the same sex nationwide. This is a momentous day in civil rights history, and I am so happy that same-sex couples are one important step closer to the equality they deserve.”


Carson says GOP must offer ‘really appealing’ ObamaCare alternative; Congressman King reacts to ruling

Ben Carson

Ben Carson

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said this morning he’s “deeply disappointed” in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that “ObamaCare” subsidies are legal. But Carson is urging ObamaCare opponents not to “waste time and energy mourning” the decision, but instead “redouble” the effort to get congress to repeal the law.

“We have to come out with something that is really appealing,” Carson told reporters in Sioux Center. “…That’s going to require some legislative changes, which means we’ve got to get brave people in there in leadership positions.”

Carson said it’s important to “get rid of things” in ObamaCare that are “killing the economy” and that means ending the “employer mandate” which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance or pay a fine.

“It used to be as your company was growing, you were really happy. You got 40 and then you got 50 and then you got 100 employees. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now you get to 40 and you start backing off,” Carson said. “That antithetical to growth in our society.”

Carson made his comments after speaking to a big crowd this morning at the Fruited Plain Cafe in Sioux Center.

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Iowa Congressman Steve King, a leading critic of ObamaCare, issued a video statement late this morning on the ruling.

“This is a frustrating day when you’re in the business of writing laws and watching the Supreme Court amend them at their will,” King said, “by using their own judgment on what public policy should be in the United States.”

King said when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, the court has decided to “make it up” as it goes along.

“And they have ruled, essentially, that the law doesn’t mean what it says,” King said.

This decision on “ObamaCare” was the first of two big rulings expected from the court before it recesses for the summer.

“I’m really concerned about what can happen with the decision on marriage,” King said. “They’ll likely conclude that the Constitution doesn’t mean what it says either.”

Senator Chuck Grassley, the senior member of Iowa’s congressional delegation, issued a written statement late this morning. Grassley said he respect the court, but Grassley said ObamaCare “remains a terrible law” and he is “committed to repealing and replacing it with effective reforms driven by the marketplace, not the heavy hand of government.”

Congressman Dave Loebsack, the only Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation, called today’s decision “a big relief for the thousands of Iowa families who would have faced large, unforeseen, out of pocket increases in their health care costs.” Loebsakc said in his written statement that it’s time to “move forward and work to strengthen this law, not continue to try and dismantle it.”

Congressman David Young of Van Meter, one of Iowa’s two rookie Republicans in the U.S. House, issued a statement this afternoon saying there are “real problems with the Affordable Care Act” and it “needs to be repealed and replaced with a common sense patient-centered solution.”

Senator Joni Ernst was the first member of Iowa’s congressional delegation to react today. Read her statement here, along with analysis from a University of Iowa law professor. Freshman Congressman Rod Blum, a Republican from Dubuque, has not released a statement on today’s ruling.

Two other GOP presidential candidates are campaigning in the state today. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee called the ruling “an act of judicial tyranny” and he says congress should “admit they screwed up” and repeal the law. Rick Santorum will be in Glenwood this evening. The former Pennsylvania senator calls the ruling a “reminder” that in order to get rid of ObamaCare, the nation must elect a “conservative president.”

(Reporting in Sioux Center and Ben Carson photo by Doug Broek of KSOU Radio)

(This post was updated at 1:31 p.m. with additional information.)

UPDATE: Ernst & King giving white supremacist’s campaign donation to South Carolina church

Congresman Steve King.

Congresman Steve King.

Two Iowa Republicans are redirecting a campaign donation from a white supremacist who reportedly influenced the man accused of killing nine African Americans in a South Carolina church last week.

Senator Joni Ernst and Congressman Steve King are giving the money to church in South Carolina and the families of those murdered there.

Earl Holt of Longview, Texas, is a leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens and the church shooter has said he was inspired by information he found on the group’s website. Holt’s occupation is listed as “retired” alongside the FEC’s record of his $1,000 donation to the Ernst campaign as well as those made to King.

Holt gave $1,000 to Congressman Steve King’s 2012 campaign and another $1,500 to King’s 2014 reelection effort. “Our prayers are with the families and friends of those affected by this tragedy (in South Carolina),” King said in a statement posted on his campaign website early this evening.

Holt, who has called African Americans “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world,” also donated to presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, all of whom have denounced Holt in the past two days and redirected his money to help the South Carolina church and the families of the African Americans who were slain there.

Holt has posted a statement on the website saying his group is “hardly responsible” for the actions of a “deranged” shooter “merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.” The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Holt’s “Council of Conservative Citizens” as the “reincarnation” of “White Citizens Councils” of the 1950s and ’60s that served as a national network for white supremacists.

(This post was updated at 7:34 p.m. with additional information about Congressman King’s announcement.)

Congressional delegation hoping for EPA hearing on renewable fuel levels

Senator Chuck Grassley

Senator Chuck Grassley

Members of Iowa’s congressional delegation are urging the federal Environmental Protection Agency to hold a public hearing in Iowa over the agency’s proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. It’s feared those changes could hurt the ethanol industry and Iowa is the nation’s top ethanol producer.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he hopes the EPA takes the request for a hearing in Iowa seriously. “They’re going to say they’re in Kansas City but Iowa, anyplace in Iowa, is the center of ethanol production and that’s where they should be,” Grassley says. “Why they aren’t, I don’t know.”

A letter sent to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy iss signed by all six members of Iowa’s congressional delegation. Members say the decision to drop RFS levels set by Congress has left the biofuels industry in an uncertain situation which has slowed investment.

Grassley says it’s important for the agency’s leaders to fully understand the impact of their rulemaking. “It’s to embarrass them into understanding why avoid Iowa?,” Grassley says. “It’s going to embarrass them to come where the information is, make it easier for those that are in the middle of ethanol production and things of that nature. It’s that simple.”

Iowa has 42 ethanol plants in operation, producing nearly three-point-eight billion gallons a year, about 25 percent of all ethanol produced nationwide. Iowa plants also produced 230 million gallons of biodiesel in 2013.

Letter sent to EPA: RFS Joint Delegation Letter PDF


King seeks to forbid federal funds for Obama legal defense

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Most of the Republicans in the U.S. House have endorsed Iowa Congressman Steve King’s latest attempt to block President Obama’s executive actions that shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation.

King’s amendment to a bill that outlines spending for the U.S. Justice Department forbids the agency from using federal funds to defend legal challenges to the president’s action.

“A lot of money has been spent and wasted in an attempt to — let’s say the gracious way to say it would be to stretch the constituion beyond any bounds it had been stretched before,” King said during remarks on the House floor today.

King, a Republican from Kiron, successfully offered another amendment to the same bill that would forbid U.S. officials from discussing visas for immigrants during trade negotiations. King said congress stopped such a move during the Bush Administration and there are reports the Obama Administration has discussed U.S. visa policies during negotiations with 11 Asia-Pacific countries.

“There is a long history on this with me and it’s been an important issue to maintain the separation of immigration policy and the congress from the executive branch negotiations in trade,” King said.

The Obama Administration had already threatened to veto an earlier draft of this bill, but the additions of King’s amendments on immigration policy are likely to increase the likelihood of a veto.

Congressman King prefers keeping bird flu animals on site

Congresman Steve King.

Congresman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King says he’s concerned by the push to get Iowa landfills to accept the dead birds from poultry operations that have been hit by avian flu.

“My level of enthusiasm for going to landfills has been relatively low,” King says. “…I have long thought that we needed to maintain the birds on the location. That should be the ideal.”

King says turkeys can be composted and chickens can be burned on the property — or the poultry barns can be super-heated after they’re “shrink wrapped” to destroy the virus, then the barns can be cleaned out. “I think we need to put together more of an industrial approach to this and bring the technology to bear so that the next time there’s a disaster like this, we have developed a model in northwest Iowa,” King says, “to meet a disaster of this scope anywhere in the country.”

King says since he’s a member of the ag committee in the U.S. House, he’s been kept up to date daily on the situation. He’s concerned that investigators haven’t yet determined exactly how the bird flu is being spread. “There are four or five theories, any one of which could work and could be the real reason,” King says. “But we have to figure out as best we can how it got in, especially to the laying houses, and what carried it. And if we can’t figure that out, then we can’t raise the biosecurity to a level that we’ll have enough confidence to repopulate these buildings.”

King says he’s working with others to figure out some sort of federally-financed “risk management tool”– like federal crop insurance – for poultry producers, perhaps something like “business interruption” insurance. “But it’s not coming together with enough clarity that I can predict the shape of things to come,” he says. Iowa is the number one egg producing state in the nation and this bird flu outbreak has hit hardest in King’s northwest Iowa district.