SIOUX CENTER—U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has kept up a brisk schedule as he campaigns for re-election to District 4 in 2020.
One thing that has dominated political conversations on the trail and in Washington, D.C. has been the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
A prime concern of King’s has been the lack of transparency in the process so far, holding sessions related to the impeachment investigation behind closed doors.
“The public should see what they’re doing inside there. There shouldn’t be secrete impeachment hearings,” King said. “If you’re going to call in witnesses and use their testimony against the president of the United States with or without a crime being designated, that needs to be something that’s done in the full light of day, with all of the public’s eyes and ears on what’s going on.”
It’s a Constitutional matter, King said, adding that this impeachment process is another example of Democrats working to reverse the election results of 2016.
“I’m going to continue to defend the president. I’ve got probably an hour and 10 or 15 minutes that I’ve stood on the floor and defended the president on impeachment this past week, and I’ll keep doing that,” King said.
Of the mostly Republican groups he’s interacted with during his campaign for 2020, King said people are mostly disgusted by the impeachment proceedings so far.
“The people spoke last November, and they need to speak next November. If somehow, the Nancy Pelosi faction of the House of Representatives gets stronger, we’re going to be more immobilized. We have to see the American people rise up and go to the polls and turn this thing back the other way. The country paid a high, high price for electing the majority that’s now in charge,” King said. “Had we held the majority, there’d have been no impeachment hearings. We’d still be working on tax cuts and deregulation and those things that are good for our economy.”
King touted his work to promote renewable energy and ethanol in Washington, D.C., and his pressing Trump to back year-round E15.
But frustrations have come from the Environmental Protection Agency.
“There looks to be an offset; for everything that goes to the renewable fuels industry, the petroleum industry also gets something,” King said.
In response, he crafted two bills.
One bill required that for any future small refinery exemptions (SREs), the gallons exempted had to be added to the blended gallons so that there would be no net loss of gallons to the renewable fuels industry.
The second bill incorporated that language and required going back to recover and add to the RFS the 4.1 billion gallons that had already been exempted by SREs.
“We’re going to keep the pressure up and see what we can get done and try to fix it in any way possible,” King said.
One thing he wishes was more discussed was implementing policies to improve the per capita GDP.
“We’ve got some 46 million Americans who are of working age not in the workforce. They’re not looking for a job. Some retired early. Some are homemakers, some are in school, but not 46 million of them. Anytime you get them to get up and do something productive, they add to the GDP, they add to the per capita the average income of our people. Those are all good things,” King said. “We don’t talk about it enough. The social welfare system competes with that formula.”
And then he hears from employers that they don’t have enough employees and calls for more immigration and amnesty.
“Why don’t we put Americans to work?” King said.
One issue that’s commonly brought up on the campaign trail are continued problems with health care and the cost of health insurance.
“We’re coming up on the 10 year anniversary of the first big vote on Obamacare, on Nov. 7 10 years ago,” King said.
He called the Affordable Care Act a win for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, adding that Congress hasn’t done much to undo the law.
“I fought it with everything I had, and I fought my own leadership because they didn’t have the courage to do a complete repeal of Obamacare. They wanted to finesse it, and they finessed it right into not getting it passed,” King said. “All along, I said we need a 100 percent, rip it out by the roots repeal of Obamacare. No compromise, no vestige of it left behind. Not one particle of its DNA left on the books.”
But with little appetite to take on the ACA even among Republicans, King said that parts of it might be addressed by the Supreme Court.
Regardless of what comes of that, King said Americans and the people of the Fourth District can’t afford Medicare For All.
“I’m not hearing people clamor for Medicare For All. It didn’t have that high of a positive rating. What it is, is Democrats can no longer defend Obamacare, so they had to find an alternative they could try to sell,” King said.
He concluded, “Medicare For All would be the nationalization of your health. The management of your health goes into the hands of government, and people live and die off those decisions. I think people need to make their own decisions.”