Iowa Republican Rep. Steven A. King told Breitbart News Tuesday that as the 115th session of Congress opens, he is more confident he will succeed in passing conservative priorities than at any time since he entered Congress in 2003.
“I asked Hal Rogers if he ever felt anything like this–and he said: ‘Yeah, when Reagan was sworn in,'” said the congressman. Rep. Harold D. “Hal” Rogers (R.-Ky.) is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; he entered Congress in 1981 at the same time President Ronald W. Reagan began his two-term presidency. “That’s pretty big. That’s a pretty high mark and I am not the only one who senses that.”
King said that as the Republicans assume control of the House and Senate — and soon the White House — there is a feeling of shared purpose and teamwork after years of infighting.
“Two years ago, it was bitter and acrimonious,” he said. “It was one of the hardest days of my legislative life–I nominated Daniel Webster.” Rep. Daniel Webster (R.-Fla.) was one of the opponents put up by House conservatives to keep Speaker John A. Boehner (R.-Ohio) from reaching the required 218 votes. The move failed, but Boehner eventually resigned in September 2015 after months of pressure from House conservatives.
The Iowan said the difference between the atmosphere two years ago and the Jan. 3 opening of the session is night and day.
“Think about the acrimony then and the harmony now,” he said.
King said he was especially impressed by the speech Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) gave after he defeated his Democratic rival Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), 239-to-189, to win his second term and first full term as speaker.
“He looked over to the Democrats and he said, ‘I’m going to give you respect. Agreement when we can find it and respect always,’ and he looked at them with that look that said: ‘I mean it’ and he does mean it,” he said. “We should all mean it.”
The Iowan said he has reached out to House Democrats to tell them that he understands that the whiplash of history cracks in both directions.
“Yes, they are in the minority party–a beleaguered minority–but, I want to deal with them as respectable human beings and many of them friends,” King said.
“This is the opportunity of the lifetime to move forward on the agenda that has been blocked for me,” he said.
“I have done battle with, for nine or 10 years, this combination of people: Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” he said. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) retired at the end of the 114th Congress that had its last, or sine die, session Tuesday before closing forever.
“That swallows up most of the last decade of my legislative life and now coming forward on Jan. 20, the only obstruction from any of those four obstructors is Nancy Pelosi as the minority leader in the House,” King said. “That’s a pretty good scenario for a guy like me.”
The congressman said he is not wasting any time moving on his agenda.
He said he was the first congressman to file a bill repealing the president’s healthcare reform legislation—the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare—and on the first day of the new session, he filed a new bill to repeal the PPACA.
King said the repeal bill is not linked up with a replacement, which he said would only complicate the bill and the process. “We don’t want to tie them up in one bill and the repeal has got to be clear.”
But, he said, his bill does have a provision that not only reverses any and all of the Obamacare-related executive orders and actions and rules and regulations.
There is a companion bill that instructs the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary to disregard all legal precedents that have emerged during the legal battles over the healthcare legislation, he said.
“That means Congress rips out everything that it wrote, the executive branch rip out all the rules that they wrote on Obamacare and we can’t have a Supreme Court or a federal bench referring precedent cases that were decided upon a defunk piece of legislation, so that’s gotta go, too,” he said.
“It has passed the House multiple times and I suspect it will pass again in the first 100 days,” he said.