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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: 307836

Reported Deaths: 7119
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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