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Iowa Congressman Pete King With A Peek Inside The House GOP Caucus Meeting On C.R. Strategy

Thursday, April 7, 2011
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HH: Joined now by Congressman Steve King from Iowa. Congressman, what’s the word on the Hill tonight in terms of the showdown and President Obama summoning the Speaker to the White House?

SK: Well, we’re having that conversation that I just stepped away from, and there seems to be a growing consensus that shutdown is inevitable, that that has been the intention of Harry Reid and his people all along. And I don’t know how you reverse that, so I anticipate there’s going to be a shutdown at Midnight on Friday night. And then we’ll have to see what proposals get put on the table, and who blinks.

HH: Now my question, I just asked Fred Barnes that, this comes back to who blinks. And Congressman King, you were in the caucus meeting two nights ago. It’s been characterized at Politico and others as being a support John Boehner in negotiating the terms of surrender. What do you think?

SK: Well, I saw some of that, and you know, whether it was all choreographed, part choreographed or not choreographed, it’s worthy of comment. And it’s something that I had not seen before. But the effort of people stepping up to the microphone and either giving the pledge to support the plan, or sometimes accusing people who disagreed as not being loyal members of the tribe. And so I had not seen that before, and I’m in my 9th year here. And I think that every vote up there on that board needs to be considered a principled vote that’s put up not with a measure of any kind of thing that you define as loyalty or disloyalty, but as what’s right for the American people within the Constitution, and consistent with the interest of the district that we represent. And that’s as far as it should go. So I’m going to try to pull the conference back to that principle.

HH: Is it fair to characterize this as this was a demand for party loyalty above whatever your campaign pledges were? Or not actually party loyalty, but Speaker loyalty above and beyond your campaign pledges?

SK: Well, I think that’s pretty close. There were a lot of football analogies that were used. And, you know, such as that you put on this jersey, and now when somebody calls a play and snaps the ball, you don’t ask them whether that’s the right play or not. That’s not how this place works. This place has got to work…it’s more like a confederacy of people that have like-minded principles. And we each have our own individual franchise, and we’ve got an obligation to serve it. And so it’s just the tone of this that I disagree with and the theme. There needs to be, I think, a bold direction taken. You know, Democrats are determined to shut this government down. They’ve convinced me that they are. Then we need to draw a bright line principle upon which we stand. And that principle isn’t a short-term C.R., or $61 or $33 or $48 billion dollars in cuts. The principle, in my view, needs to be the bright line of we shall not allow federal funds to implement Obamacare to the tune of tens of billions of dollars that have been automatically appropriated in a deceptive way by the previous Congress. And I’ve drawn that line over and over again. And it looks to me like the strategy is moving away from that principle rather than towards it.

HH: And with 30 seconds, Congressman King, can you imagine a great division in the Republican caucus if there is a folding up here on everything except the token cuts of $30 or $40 billion dollars?

SK: Yeah, I don’t think it quite comes to that. I think there is more invested in this leadership team than that. I don’t see that there’s a large run group that would do that and encourage that. I want our leadership to succeed. I just want them to lead us down a bold path.

HH: Steven King of Iowa, thank you, Congressman.

End of interview.

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