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Steve King stripped of committee assignments

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa has been removed from committee assignments following racist remarks, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced.

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 6:47 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 6:47 PM

The House of Representatives, by a vote of 424 to 1, approved Tuesday a resolution rejecting white supremacy and white nationalism after Rep. Steve King of Iowa made racist comments in a story published last week by The New York Times.

Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois was the one member who voted against the resolution, saying it does not go far enough. Rush has introduced his own censure resolution, which represents a stronger rebuke specifically focused on the Iowa Republican.

King was among those who voted for the resolution of disapproval that was inspired by his comments, saying on the House floor he agrees "with the language in it," referring to the part condemning white supremacy and white nationalism. King continues to maintain his comments were taken out of context.

"I can tell you this: That ideology never shows up in my head, I don't know how it could possibly come out of my mouth," King said in a speech on the House floor.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy announced King wouldn't be seated on any committees this Congress because of his comments. And while there is growing pressure for the congressman to resign, Republicans are far from united around calls for him to step down.

During a GOP leadership news conference on Tuesday, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming said she agreed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that King's comments had no place in the GOP and that he should find a different line of work.

Rush specifically commented on Cheney's comments, saying her comments were harsher on King than the Democrats' actions.

"Republicans took a more of a strong stance than the Democrats in the face of this overt racism ... the Republicans took more of a definitive action than the Democrats and it really makes me wonder, what's going on here?" Rush asked.

House Democratic Whip James Clyburn defended his reasoning for putting forward the resolution of disapproval that was voted on Tuesday. He acknowledged there were concerns that a censure of King could ignite a battle of censures over offensive speech between the two parties.

"We have a few people who are uncomfortable with censure but very comfortable with disapproval," he said. "And so I went for that."

If a censure resolution does get a vote, however, Clyburn said he would support it, adding he would even go a step further than that if it were possible.

"I think expulsion would be fine for me," he said, noting that Cheney and GOP Sen. Mitt Romney both said it was time for King to resign.

Republican Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah also said on CNN Monday night that King should step down.

Meanwhile, other Republicans, like McCarthy, say it's a matter up to the voters in King's district whether he should stay in Congress.

King tweeted Monday night that he believes the decision to remove him from committees was a political one. King refused to answer questions from reporters Tuesday about whether he'd consider resigning. On Friday, King said he regretted the "heartburn" his comments had caused his district, but he has not apologized and said his comments published last week by The New York Times have been "mischaracterized," comments he repeated Tuesday in the speech on the House floor.

There's no overestimating how significant it is to pull a member from committees, especially one like King, who was the highest-ranking Republican member on the Judiciary subcommittee that handles constitutional matters.

But King has found few friends or backers at this point. Aside from Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican known for his own controversial comments, members are not racing to King's defense. Gohmert was the only member to speak out in opposition to McCarthy's decision at Tuesday's GOP conference meeting, according to one source in the room.

Otherwise, Republicans have largely been backing McCarthy on the decision, including members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus of which King is a member.

"For Republicans all across the country, not just here in the House, I think it's important to reinforce the message in every way possible that our party does not support racism. It's always been wrong," House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio told CNN.

Besides the vote of disapproval, two Democrats, including Rush, have introduced separate resolutions to censure King. In the history of the Congress, only 23 members have been censured. The last one censured was Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel, who was censured for ethics violations including misusing official government letterhead for fundraising, impermissible use of a rent controlled facility for campaigning and filing inaccurate financial disclosures.

Some Republican members said Tuesday they think there will be support among the GOP for a censure and one Republican is teaming up with Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio to sponsor King's censure.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was noncommittal Tuesday morning in a meeting with reporters on whether Democratic leadership would support a censure effort. Hoyer was asked if he thinks a censure could open up a Pandora's Box where members on both sides of the aisle would be calling for censures over offensive speech.

"The answer is yes," he said, declining to expand on the thought.

Hoyer applauded McCarthy and Republican leadership for blocking King from committee assignments.

"Republicans have taken very strong action, which I applaud them for and I think they did the right thing," he said. "I think they're very concerned about their party being perceived as a Steve King party, frankly."

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 331863

Reported Deaths: 7494
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22855279
Hinds22625437
Harrison19462326
Rankin14765286
Jackson14233251
Madison10658227
Lee10398178
Jones8713169
Forrest8164157
Lauderdale7528243
Lowndes6761150
Lamar665988
Lafayette6446124
Washington5497139
Bolivar4907134
Pearl River4889149
Oktibbeha476898
Panola4719112
Marshall4648106
Warren4612125
Pontotoc438873
Monroe4243137
Union424379
Neshoba4179180
Lincoln4088115
Hancock402788
Leflore3562125
Pike3511111
Tate348988
Alcorn343174
Sunflower342293
Adams331987
Yazoo330573
Scott330175
Simpson313690
Copiah311467
Itawamba309580
Coahoma308285
Tippah298368
Prentiss292563
Covington280183
Marion278980
Leake277975
Wayne269942
Grenada265688
George259851
Newton256064
Tishomingo235769
Winston235084
Jasper225748
Attala220373
Chickasaw215960
Stone209137
Holmes194974
Clay191554
Tallahatchie181542
Clarke181480
Calhoun177332
Smith175334
Yalobusha169240
Walthall140448
Lawrence137026
Greene134934
Amite131843
Noxubee131135
Perry130838
Montgomery130644
Carroll124531
Webster116732
Jefferson Davis112934
Tunica110827
Benton104425
Claiborne104231
Kemper100329
Humphreys99033
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw80919
Wilkinson73232
Jefferson69028
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 565510

Reported Deaths: 11468
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson828061584
Mobile44938853
Madison36534532
Tuscaloosa26589465
Shelby26409255
Montgomery25598623
Baldwin23319324
Lee16691179
Calhoun15030332
Morgan14877288
Etowah14563368
Marshall12723235
Houston11302292
Elmore10576217
St. Clair10449251
Limestone10420158
Cullman10198204
Lauderdale9883253
DeKalb9226191
Talladega8705187
Walker7545286
Autauga7388113
Jackson7216117
Blount7147139
Colbert6522142
Coffee5962131
Dale5224117
Russell463942
Chilton4603117
Covington4502125
Franklin439781
Tallapoosa4343156
Escambia414782
Chambers3813124
Dallas3674163
Clarke361562
Marion3354106
Pike323179
Lawrence3176101
Winston289672
Bibb276165
Geneva267383
Marengo257367
Barbour241860
Pickens238862
Butler233571
Hale230578
Fayette223863
Henry203345
Cherokee192347
Randolph192244
Monroe190241
Washington174539
Macon167252
Crenshaw163457
Clay161859
Cleburne158445
Lamar149138
Lowndes143854
Wilcox128431
Bullock125342
Conecuh117730
Coosa115229
Perry109628
Sumter107532
Greene95935
Choctaw63125
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