Congressional press releases don’t always tell you about important votes, but they always tell you what members of Congress want you to know about them. Representative Steve King (R, IA-04) didn’t release a statement last week explaining his vote to let John Boehner stay on as House speaker. But I think he’s a little worried about his street cred as a bold conservative, because he quickly moved to flaunt his work on some hopeless right-wing causes.
During the last Congress, King had blamed Boehner for being passed over as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration. Now King has a new position as chair of a House Agriculture Committee subcommittee. I suspect that changed his attitude toward Boehner. Whatever his reasons, King’s support for the House speaker disappointed some conservatives, including talk radio host Steve Deace.
King usually comments publicly on important roll-call votes, but as I mentioned above, he did not sent out a statement about Boehner’s re-election as speaker. Instead, here’s the full text of a press release from King’s office on January 4 (emphasis in original):
King Introduces Three Bills to Start 113th Congress
Washington, DC- Congressman Steve King released the following statement today after introducing H.R. 140, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013; H.J. Res 16, to repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution; and H.R. 132, the ObamaCare Repeal Act. King was sworn in yesterday to mark the beginning of the 113th Congress and will now represent the new 4th District of Iowa.
H.R. 140, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013:
“We need a common sense solution to fix the flawed interpretation of the Constitution’s citizenship clause, and ‘The Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013’ does just that,” said King. “The current practice of extending U.S. citizenship to hundreds of thousands of ‘anchor babies’ must end because it creates a magnet for illegal immigration into our country. Now is the time to ensure that the laws in this country do not encourage law breaking.”
H.J. Res 16, to repeal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution:
“The Founding Fathers envisioned a robust market based economy,” said King, “and our current tax policies do not encourage that system. Replacing the current income tax with a consumption tax will ensure that productivity is not punished in our country, but rewarded.”
H.R. 132, ObamaCare Repeal Act:
“ObamaCare was bad policy when it was passed, and it is still bad policy today,” said King. “Businesses and households are dealing with soaring healthcare costs as it is implemented across the country. My bill would repeal ObamaCare in its entirety.”
At this writing, 13 House Republicans have co-sponsored King’s bill on birthright citizenship. But House leaders won’t want any part of this crusade. King lost his subcommittee chairmanship two years ago right after he introduced a similar bill. Trying to change the long-established meaning of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would stir up a hornet’s nest just when Republicans are trying to figure out how to win back Latino and Asian voters.
King is one of the most prominent Congressional supporters of the so-called “fair tax”, which would replace federal income taxes with a consumption tax (also known as a value-added tax) to most goods and services. Repealing the income tax is another non-starter, especially since King doesn’t serve on any House committee that would allow him to promote that agenda.
Another “Obamacare” repeal bill just makes me laugh. House Republicans have voted many times already to repeal the 2010 health care reform law. If it didn’t move forward when Democrats held 53 seats in the Senate, how’s it going to move now that Democrats hold 55 Senate seats and Barack Obama was just re-elected with more than 330 electoral votes?
King’s far-right positions don’t threaten his career, because he’s safely ensconced in a district with 50,000 more Republicans than Democrats. But his tilting at windmills won’t help the Republican Party’s image nationally.