Two key Democrats in the U.S. Senate say Steve King, Iowa’s Republican congressman, is to blame for the impasse in the nation’s capital over immigration reform.
The Senate has passed what was billed as “comprehensive immigration reform” last year and New York Senator Chuck Schumer this week said King is the main Republican road block to getting the bill through the House.
“The reason the House has done nothing on immigration is because House Republicans have handed the gavel of leadership on immigration to far right extremists like Congressman Steve King,” Schumer said this week during a speech on the Senate floor.
“…It is time for the House Republican leadership to decide whether they stand with the majority of the American people…or if they’re really going to let Steve King continue to dictate the policy of the Republican Party on immigration. Just to be clear, right now Steve King is winning.”
King said he’s “flattered” to get credit for blocking the “amnesty agenda” Democrats are pushing.
“I’ve been hoping not to work on immigration at all between now and the election because the only thing I have confidence in the president doing with regard to that is to do whatever is in his political interest, but he’s not enforcing the law,” King said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “He’s ordering ICE to actually break the law, violate the law and now he’s turned loose 36,007 criminal aliens onto the streets, some of them murderers, some of them rapists numbered in the hundreds, by the way, not just one or two in the 36,000.”
This past week Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid also criticized “extremists in the House” like King for doing “absolutely nothing” to fix the nation’s broken immigration system.
“The senate did its work,” Reid said during a senate floor speech. “For the past 10 and a half months…House Republicans have twiddled their thumbs. It’s time for the House Republicans to act. Let a vote occur in the House. If a vote occured, the legislation would pass overwhelmingly.”
King said the two Democratic leaders in the senate are trying to goad House Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner into taking action.
“Our speaker will occasionally utter something that sends a message to the country that he’s looking for an opportunity to pass some kind of amnesty and the speaker has said that of all the issues that are on the table or even off the table with he and President Obama, the one he agrees with most is the immigration issue and that he’s hell-bent on passing something, so that means the topic is up,” King said. “It’s alive.”
King and Boehner clashed last summer over King’s assertion there are more drug smugglers than high school valedictorians among the ranks of young adults brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents.
King said this week that he’s fighting to preserve the rule of law. If immigration reform passes congress this summer, King said Republicans will be a fractured party heading into the fall elections.