Outgoing Fourth District Iowa Congressman Steve King says he’s skeptical whether a COVID-19 relief package will be passed in the few remaining hours before the year-end holiday recess, and he’s disappointed with how Congress is conducting business.
King, a Republican from Kiron, says the Democrats who hold the majority in the House are to blame, from the top down.
King says, “I want to express how dysfunctional Congress is and I don’t mean this to just be tossing mud out of that place but it has gone downhill badly, especially with Nancy Pelosi as speaker.”
Because of the pandemic, King says there’s social distancing in Congress and a limited number of members are allowed on the floor at one time. He says tens of thousands of conversations aren’t taking place member-to-member which limits their ability to govern. “The decisions become evermore in Nancy Pelosi’s office and Mitch McConnell’s office and in the White House,” King says. “That’s why we don’t really have a good feel for whether there’s going to be a COVID relief package. They’ve sent a signal that they have a deal but I know they don’t or we would’ve voted on it.”
Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year Friday but first has to pass a spending plan that will allow the federal government to continue running. “We are going to get a spending package that keeps the government open,” King says. “I don’t think there’s going to be a government shutdown. It’ll at least be bridged into January if not further into the year. I do think there’s a COVID relief package that’s part of that or becomes a parallel bill along the way, too.” He adds, “In the end, Congress will get its job done, I just don’t think it’s going to be pretty.”
King lost his reelection bid in the Republican primary to Randy Feenstra, who won the general election and is now the congressman-elect. King maintains he’s not going anywhere and says he wants to remain involved and assist with consulting on policy issues.
(By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)