July 25, 2014

Congressman King says talks continue on undocumented kids at the border

Iowa Congressman Steve King says members of Congress are continuing to discuss how to handle the influx of undocumented children across the southern border of the United States. King, a Republican, placeS the blame on the lack of response to the issue with the Obama administration. “There are some who think that we have to figure out how to pass something and take this off the table, even if that means give the president some of the 3.7 billion dollars he’s asked for,” King says. “There are others — and I’m in this camp — that think that is a ‘man-caused disaster’ to quote Janet Napolitano. But the man who caused it was Barrack Obama.”

King says the Obama administration has made it difficult to return anyone who has illegally entered the country back to their own nation. “If you are in this country illegally — whether you overstay your VISA or whether you commit the crime of illegal entry by coming across the border illegally — if you don’t commit a felony or a combination of these three mysterious misdemeanors, you’re going to get to stay in America,” King says.

King says a report that 38 children have been returned to Honduras by the administration is just gesturing or posing. Reports say more than 57,000 undocumented, unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S. border with Mexico since last October.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)

 

King seeks end to prevailing wage rule on federal contracts

Republican Congressman Steve King says it’s time to do away with a federal requirement the “prevailing wage” be paid to employees working on construction projects that are financed with federal funds.

“When you have a relationship between two people and they agree to a wage scale, that’s all that should be required here,” King says. “Instead, this federal minimum wage scale sets a union scale. It’s not prevailing wage. It’s union scale.”

A federal agency calculates the prevailing wage for laborers, electricians and other construction tradesmen in areas of the country. King argues the requirement inflates the cost of federally-financed construction projects, like highways.

“I started a construction company in 1975. We almost immediately had to deal with the federal government coming in and saying: ‘On this side of the road you shall pay your shovel operator this and on the other side of the road you shall pay him something that might be half again more than that and the guy that’s with the grease gun gets this and the one that runs the excavator gets that,’” King says. “The federal government micromanaging and disrupting the efficiencies in our construction companies results in far higher costs for our construction projects.”

The prevailing wage requirement is for any federally-funded construction contract worth two-thousand dollars or more. King made his remarks on the House floor this past week as he proposed an amendment which would have repealed the prevailing wage requirement. King’s amendment failed on a 181-239 vote.

Mowrer says Congressman King partly responsible for border predicament

Democratic congressional candidate Jim Mowrer says Republican Congressman Steve King bears some responsibility for the flood of unaccompanies children crossing into the U.S. along the southern border.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around, but in many ways he is responsible for this because he is against immigration reform,” Mowrer says. “He’s spent the past few years going around and claiming that this administration is going to grant amnesty and now he’s surprised that people listened to him and they’re trying to come to the United States.”

King has been a leading opponent in congress of so-called “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants. King has also advocated for construction of a 12-foot-tall wall along the U.S./Mexico border. Mowrer, who is challenging King’s bid for a seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, says that’s not a decision for congress to make.

“I supported the immigration reform bill that passed the senate that would double border security and I’ll defer to the experts, the border experts, on what way the best way to secure the border is,” Mowrer says.

Mowrer says “it is o.k.” to treat children from Central American countries differently than adults and even children from Mexico who’ve crossed the border. President Obama visited Texas this week to discuss the sitution, but critics say he should have gone to visit the border. Mowrer says he’s not sure what would have been gained by such a move.

“A photo op with the president visiting the border doesn’t actually change anything,” Mowrer says. “What we need to do is actually take action and fix our immigration system.”

Mowrer, who is from Boone, made his comments during a taping of the Iowa Press program that airs tonight on Iowa Public Television.

King says cut U.S. aide to Mexico, Central America to stop tide of kids walking across southern border

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King.

Congressman Steve King says the U.S. should be negotiating the return of thousands of unaccompanied children who’ve flooded across the U.S. southern border. According to King, “no country in its right mind” would do what the Obama Administration is doing and place those children with relatives in the United States.

“Violating the law and completing the crime and putting these children into households where there’s an illegal mom or an illegal dad or both,” King said this week during a congressional hearing.

King said the Obama Administration quit deporting children brought into the U.S. illegally in 2012 and that news has “echoed out” into Mexico and Central America.

“Families who’ve abandoned their children and pushed them across a thousand miles of Mexico and handed them over to the Border Patrol,” King said. “And now the HHS is going to deliver them into these households and not enforce the law? This is so appauling to me.”

King, a Republican from Kiron, has been a leading voice against efforts to grant some form of legal status to illegal immigrants already living in the United States. King said the U.S. should use a “gentle hand” in dealing with these kids — some as young as three — who’ve walked across the border, but King says the children should be returned to the “donor countries.”

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” King said recently on CNN’s “New Day” morning show. “It will get a lot greater if we don’t shut this down.”

According to King, U.S. foreign aid to Mexico and Central America should be reduced until those countries respond to the crisis.

Border Patrol agents can legally bar any Mexican children at the border from entering the U.S., but children from non-contiguous countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras must be taken into custody and transferred into the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. That agency is then trying to find relatives or guardians who will care for those kids as they await deportation.

King says House leadership change may bring ‘high risk’ of immigration reform vote

Steve King

Steve King

Republican Congressman Steve King says efforts to keep immigration reform from passing the U.S. House are at risk because of a shift in leadership.

“There is that risk in September or October and then, of course, in a lame duck session it gets to be a very high risk,” King says.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Republican Primary in Virginia this past Tuesday and California Congressman Kevin McCarthy is poised to take Cantor’s slot as the number two Republican in the U.S. House.

“Kevin McCarthy has advocated for the senate ‘Gang of 8′ bill and we know what that is, so I’m apprehensive about this change in leadership,” King says.

Eight members of the U.S. Senate crafted what has been called “comprehensive” immigration reform and the bill passed the Senate last year, but has never been considered in the House. King has been a leading critic of immigration reform — he calls it “amnesty” — and King believes House leaders have “missed the message” from Cantor’s loss.

“The anti-establishment vote that cost Eric Cantor his seat doesn’t seem to be something that the House leadership has considered,” King says.

King suggests it’s time for new conservative leadership in the U.S. House, and he speculates that while House Speaker John Boehner easily survived his own Republican Primary in Ohio this spring, Boehner may be “mentally fatigued” and may not try to remain as speaker in 2015.

“It’s well-published that he’s bought a place in Florida very close to one of his favorite golf courses and that’s read as an indicator,” King says. “There have been a number of top level staff personnel that have moved on. That usually doesn’t happen if you’re going to stay in power, so reading the tea leaves would indicate it’s less likely rather than more likely that he will run for another term as speaker.”

King, who was first elected to congress in 2002 and is seeking reelection in 2014, says he would like to see a “strong conservative” from a “red state” get elected speaker of the House. King and Boehner clashed last summer over King’s comments about illegal immigrants.

Steve King says Obama has chosen ‘dither option’ on Iraq

Steve King

Steve King

Republican Congressman Steve King calls the situation in Iraq “urgent” and King says President Obama is offering a “flat-footed” response.

“What’s going on over there is a blitzkrieg tragedy compared to the loss in American blood and treasure that was invested in Iraq,” King says.

Insurgents have swept through Iraq and have surrounded the government in Baghdad.

“We’ve watched as this radical Islamist, militant, cruel group has advanced into Iraq, taken multiple cities…and has Baghdad half surrounded…and the president’s announcement is, ‘Well, we’re going to think about it for three or four days, but we’re not going to send troops in. I have several other options,’” King says. “It looks to me like the option that he has chosen Is the dither option.”

King says there’s no time to “fool around” and waiting may just give neighboring Iran time to move in to fill the void.

“The time to act is probably getting late now, but I don’t think it’s too late yet,” King says.

The insurgents in Iraq come from the civil war in Syria. They’ve declared themselves the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” and they have seized major cities in northern Iraq. Reports indicate “hundreds” of Iraqi government soldiers and residents in Mosul were decapitated. Their brutality has even led al-Qaeda’s leadership to denounce the insurgents.

Congressman King not sure mandatory reporting of PEDV will work

Iowa Congressman Steve King is raising concerns about the U.S.D.A.’s plans for the mandatory reporting of a virus that’s striking hog herds called PEDV, or porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. King, a Republican, says he’s not sure the federal reporting program will achieve the desired results or that all producers will comply.

King says, “The regulation has been brought down and to the extent that we can work with our state veterinarian and our vets within the state and to the extent that they can sell this to our producers is the extent it’s going to be effective.”

Producers have supported reporting and control programs for other diseases, like psuedorabies, and the end result was eradication of the disease, so King remains hopeful. He says another concern is the possibility producer confidentiality will be breached and the information collected by the U.S.D.A. could be used against the pork industry.

“I’m also concerned about the federal records that might be compiled by this order,” King says, “and do we have protection for our producers or are we going to see animal rights people come in here and capitalize on this particular disease.”

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is talking about the need for heightened border security, which King says may hint that the agency believes that’s how PEDV was introduced into the U.S. King spoke at the World Pork Expo this week in Des Moines.

(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)