According to Representative Steve King (R, IA-04), he and other House conservatives are facing “retribution” from House Speaker John Boehner after they insisted that any Homeland Security funding bill must include language against President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
Last week, despite opposition from most House Republicans, Congress approved a “clean” bill funding the Department of Homeland Security through the current fiscal year. During the debate over Homeland Security funding, King warned that Republicans were being “lured into a fish trap.” He later lamented that Republican leaders had allowed the U.S. Constitution to be “eviscerated.”
Until CNN flagged it yesterday, I had not heard King’s interview during the March 4 edition of Simon Conway’s WHO radio program. Click here to listen; the portion with King begins around the 15-minute mark. King said Boehner has been “throwing tantrums” and imposing “retribution on the highest scale that I have ever heard of.” By way of example, King asserted,
In the last 30 minutes, I have learned that a very important diplomatic mission, that I was scheduled to go on, that had been signed off on, certified, authorized, everything all booked–the order came down from the Speaker’s office, that shall be rescinded. And apparently, the people whom he most objects to for disagreeing with him are now grounded to the United States of America by order of the Speaker.
Boehner’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on King’s allegation.
Speaking to Conway, King also alluded to “a Republican organization” controlled by Boehner’s former chief of staff, which has run ads against some House conservatives. He’s talking about the American Action Network, “whose officers include former Republican National Committee chief of staff Mike Shields and House Speaker John Boehner’s former chief of staff Barry Jackson.” The group sought to pressure certain House members to support Homeland Security funding with no strings attached.
The bad blood between King and Boehner goes back several years. After Republicans regained control of the House in the 2010 elections, King was passed over for a subcommittee chairmanship in the House Judiciary Committee because of his long list of offensive public statements. Boehner and then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor publicly condemned comments by King that sparked a firestorm during the summer of 2013, when he asserted that there are 100 drug mules for every “DREAMer” who is a valedictorian. Privately, Boehner was said to have called King an “*sshole” during that furor.
King and Representative Rod Blum (IA-01) were among 24 House Republicans who supported other candidates for speaker in January. During the call-in portion of Conway’s March 4 show, King did not embrace a call to impeach Boehner, but he said he believes opposition to House leadership is growing, and many Republicans regret their votes to re-elect the speaker.