December 21, 2014

U.S. Representative King says it’s time to put Obama in ‘political straightjacket’

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Republican Congressman Steve King tried, but failed to get House approval of his attempt to “cut off funding now” so President Obama’s executive order on immigration cannot be implemented. King asked the Republican-led House Rules Committee for permission to put his plan forward for a House vote, but he was rebuffed.

“It’s time that we stood up and fight now rather than fund now and fight later,” King said in a video statement posted on YouTube.

Sometime today a House vote is expected on a massive spending plan that will keep most of the government running through next September. A vote to prevent Obama’s action on immigration will come in January, GOP leaders say, after the new congress is sworn in and Republicans have control of both the House and the Senate.

“We’re sitting here with a majority in the House and soon a majority in the Senate, but waiting for the Senate is waiting too long because if we wait, we are then compelled to fund now and fight later, if we fight at all,” King said. “I say, instead, cut the funding now. Start the fight now.”

King’s alternative plan would have funded federal government operations through January 31st.

“That seats the new Republican majority in the Senate, it seats the expanded (Republican) majority in the House and it makes us stronger in fighting this president,” King said. “We will have to put him in a political straightjacket or there won’t be anything left of the Constitution by the time we elect another president.”

The spending plan congress is expected to pass only funds the Department of Homeland Security through February. That’s the agency which oversees most immigration policy.

Retiring Congressman Latham’s advice to congress: listen more

Congressman Tom Latham during his retirement speech Monday.

Congressman Tom Latham during his retirement speech Monday.

Colleagues in congress paid tribute to Republican Tom Latham Monday as he prepares to leave the U.S. House of Representatives after 20 years as a member of the institution.

Fellow Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron praised Latham’s “quiet” yet effective influence behind the scenes.

“Everybody that comes to this place has their own style and their own way of getting things done,” King said. “But the people that have worked with Tom Laatham for these years know that it isn’t always an issue that’s run up to the flag pole. It doesn’t come necessarily with lights and blaring horns, but it gets done.”

Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City called Latham a “humble Iowa guy” who has been a “model” of how to work in a bipartisan way.

“It seems as though our politics in America has just gotten uglier by the day, sometimes, and even in the middle of all of that Tom Latham has stood tall. He’s stood proud as an Iowan. He’s got a lot of common sense, like most Iowans do, and he works with the other side,” Loebsack said, “because he knows that the job is to get things done.”

Congressman Steve King congratulates Tom Latham after speech.

Congressman Steve King congratulates Tom Latham after speech.

Latham offered a bit of parting advice.

“I never learned a thing when I’m talking,” Latham said, pausing before adding: “You learn things when you’re listening to other folks and I think we should all maybe step back and listen to each other more.”

Latham’s best friend, House Speaker John Boehner, was on his way to the White House when Latham’s tribute was held on the House floor late yesterday afternoon. Latham said there could be “no better friend” than Boehner.

“The thing I’ll miss most are my good friends here and that part of it really is hard because it becomes an extended family over time,” Latham said.

Latham called serving in congress “the honor of my life.”

“I’m extraordinarily proud to have served here…and will always feel that my time was well spent here, but more so today, I’m excited about the future,” Latham said.

Latham, who is 66, has represented more than 60 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Latham announced last December that he would not seek reelection and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.











Congressman King says House deportation bill didn’t go far enough

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Republican leaders in the U.S. House have held a vote on a bill designed to let conservatives vent their frustration over President Obama’s executive order on immigration, but Iowa Congressman Steve King says the legislation didn’t go far enough.

“I don’t think it makes it clear enough that the president has clearly violated the constitution of the United States,” King said during remarks on the floor. “I don’t want this to be entered into the record as something that’s ambiguous.”

Some conservatives, including King, are now plotting strategy to try to take stronger action, like trying to deny funding to the agency that would carry out the president’s executive order that delays deportation proceedings for an estimated six million people who lack legal resident status. King merely voted “present” on the House bill leaders presented as a response to the controversy. “The bill moved a little bit from the time that it was first presented,” King says, “It had the word ‘amnesty’ in the title. It said, ‘Preventing Executive Amnesty on Immigration Act.’ Now it says, ‘Preventing Executive Overreach’ — tones it down a little bit for me.”

The debate over immigration is colliding with efforts to craft an overall spending plan for federal government operations. The last budget deal that cleared congress expires next week, on December 11th. The bill passed in the House yesterday states that the president does not have the authority to stop deportations of certain categories of undocumented workers in the U.S. It passed the House, but will not be taken up in the Democratically-led Senate.


Congressman King and Republicans talk about action on immigration

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Iowa Congressman Steve King says he met with fellow House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss possible action on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. King says House GOP members strategized on options to deal with what King calls the “unconstitutional actions” of the president.

“I walk away from that disappointed to some degree, a significant degree, because I do not detect enough will inside that conference to stand up and defend the Constitution,” King says. “Yes, they want to. Nobody in our conference will say that the president acted in a lawful or constitutional way, I don’t think anybody there believes it.”

King says many of his colleagues want to wait until January to act when Republicans will control both chambers of Congress. He says the power of the purse should be used to prevent the president’s order from taking effect. “Two-hundred-and-eighteen members of the House of Representatives with resolve can block any spending by the federal government and that’s what we need to do,” King says. “We need to fund everything prudently, just say, ‘Mr. President, you didn’t need the money to carry out your lawless, unconstitutional executive amnesty in the last year’s appropriation bill and you’re not going to have it in this one either.”

King says President Obama’s executive order creates serious problems for the country. “This is a constitutional crisis that the president has thrown us in over an immigration issue and we must defend the constitution and the legislative authority of the United States Congress,” King says. “If not, what is the limitation on the president? Can he appropriate money? Can he ignore all laws he wants to ignore? Can he write new laws? Yes, he’s done essentially all of those things.”

House Speaker John Boehner is urging Republicans to pass a long-term spending plan next week to avoid a government shutdown and wait for a budget battle when the 2015 Congress convenes. King would prefer to see money for the Department of Human Services be withheld to prevent the immigration reforms from being implemented.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

Congressman King says resignation of Defense Secretary Hagel continues pattern of defense politics

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Representative Steve King. (file photo)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned after serving as the Pentagon chief since early 2013 when he succeeded Leon Panetta. Hagel is a former Republican U.S. Senator from Nebraska. Iowa Republican Congressman, Steve King, says Hagel and the president appear to have been at odds over handling military policy in the middle east.

“Chuck Hagel might have spoken out a little too boldly about what we needed to do beef up our forces against ISIS. And it doesn’t fit very well with the president’s no boots on the ground promise,”King says. “And it doesn’t fit so well with the deconstruction of the U.S. military, the weakening of the military that the president has pushed so hard for.”

King says it looks like there is a significant disagreement at the root of Hagel’s resignation. Hagel was the third person to serve as President Obama’s defense secretary following Robert Gates and Panetta. King says there has been a pattern of politics in defense briefings since President Obama took office, going back to some staffers who were holdovers from the Bush administration.

“They would be sitting there briefing us and it changed dramatically one president to the next. Same faces of the briefers, it became political responses instead of tactical and factual classified briefing. And that is very troubling if you are going to push your military into a political operation,” according to King. Hagel has agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate. King made his comments during an appearance on KSCJ radio in Sioux City.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)


Congressman King suggests ‘censure’ for Obama over immigration order

Representative Steve King.

Representative Steve King.

The reaction from Iowa’s congressional delegation to Predident Obama’s immigration order includes one suggestion that congress vote to publicly and formally reprimand Obama for his actions.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin says Obama has taken “common sense steps” and “is doing the right thing.” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says Obama has taken “the wrong way forward” and is “poisoning the well for future action” om immigration reform. Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City says he has “concerns about the president acting without congressional approval,” but Loebsack says he hopes the president’s executive order now spurs House Republicans to vote on an immigration reform bill.

Republican Congressman Steve King of Kiron is a leading critic of “amnesty” for any illegal immigrant. King says no one in congress wants to throw the country in turmoil and impeach the president, but King suggested during an appearance last night on CNN that congress might vote to censure Obama instead.

Iowa businessman urges GOP to ‘fix’ immigration system

Jon Troen

Jon Troen

A Republican businessman from Iowa is joining today’s nationwide push to encourage Republicans to pass some sort of immigration reform.

“Republicans now have the opportunity to lead and to solve this problem,” says Jon Troen, president of Mittera Group, which includes companies like Rock Communications that publishes newspaper inserts and catchfire media which develops websites and mobile apps as well as the Colorfx printing plants.

He says that’s because Republicans not only will control the U.S. House in 2015, but Republicans will have a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate and will be able to control the debate agenda there.

“One of the things that’s been frustrating is for a long time Republicans have let Democrats define this issue,” Troen says. “Now that we’re running both houses on congress we can actually solve this problem and improve America’s economy, improve border security and do it in a way that’s compassionate and is consistent with conservative beliefs.”

In the fall of 2013, Troen flew to Washington, D.C. to join a U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbying effort to encourage the Republican-led House to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill that had cleared the Democratically-controlled Senate. This year, Republicans like Congressman Steve King say Republicans won victories in the 2014 election because Americans do not want amnesty for illegal immigrants. Troen says “no one” is supporting amnesty.

“I don’t think anybody believes there should be a blanket provision that just says, ‘Hey, never mind. Everybody’s fine,’ but what we did elect leaders of congress to do is to lead and to govern and to solve these problems,” Troen says. “And I don’t think anybody including Representative King or anybody on either side of this issue would look at our immigration system and say, ‘Hey, that’s a system that really works.'”

Troen says his company is like many others — it needs highly-skilled foreign workers and that’s one reason reform of the immigration system is necessary. Troen has helped one employee with a visa navigate what Troen calls the “non-sensical” immigration system.

“The system is completely outdated,” Troen says. “It’s completely broken and, frankly, it’s easy to complain about problems. It’s hard to fix them and it is time for both sides of the aisle and our leaders in both houses of congress to fix this problem.”

Troen argues the U.S. economy would have recovered more quickly had congress addressed immigration reform sooner. Troen appeared today at the state capitol, at a news conference organized by business groups pushing for immigration reform. Over 100 top GOP donors today co-signed an ad published in the Washington Times that calls on Republican congressional leaders to act on immigration reform in 2015.