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Steve King: Blame Obama for a government shutdown, not the GOP

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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that if the simmering disagreement over immigration leads to a government shutdown next week, it would be the fault of President Barack Obama, not congressional Republicans.

King spoke on C-SPAN, where he indicated that a shutdown is possible if Republicans pass legislation to block Obama's executive action on immigration, and Obama and his Democratic allies refuse to accept that language.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 8.49.53 AM Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that a government shutdown would be President Barack Obama's fault.
Image: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

"The House of Representatives would not shut down the government," King said. "We want to avoid that, I want to avoid that. I don't want to go through that fight."

"But if it happens, it'll be the president that does so," he said.

King said it was Obama who moved on immigration just days after huge Republican victories in the midterm elections, which forced Republicans to respond to what they say is an unconstitutional action from Obama. House Republicans will meet Tuesday morning to discuss whether and how to use legislation funding the federal government to block Obama's action.

"If he brings this fight, Congress can't just simply say, OK, we'll give you what you want, Mr. President, to avoid the conflict," King said. "The Founding Fathers call upon us to use the power of the purse to restrain a president that gets outside his constitutional bounds."

"And if the president then throws this country into a conflict, it's the president saying, 'I insist on having the funds to commit my unconstitutional act,' " he said. "It's a hard argument for the president to make."

One plan the GOP will discuss today is whether to fund the entire government for the rest of the fiscal year, but only provide short-term funding for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, which would oversee Obama's immigration plan. While it's possible Democrats could accept short-term funds for those departments, King said he would use the Tuesday meeting to push for language that disallows funding for any part of Obama's immigration plan, regardless of whether it's in a short- or long-term bill.

"Even in that short-term bill, we cannot be funding the president's unlawful act," he said. "If we do that, we've essentially endorsed it with federal taxpayer dollars, and I think that would be crossing a line that would be awfully hard to get that back."

"This would be my message to the conference," he said. "And that is, do not ask us to vote to fund a lawless, unconstitutional act, especially one that the president has defined as a lawless, unconstitutional act."

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