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Retribution: King Says Boehner Canceled Trip After Immigration Fight

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner canceled a foreign trip by Rep. Steve King in retribution for his opposition to Boehner’s cave on “clean” Department of Homeland Security funding, according to the Iowa Republican.  

King told a local radio station last week that he was all set to travel abroad on “a very important diplomatic mission,” when he suddenly got word that official funding for the trip had been canceled.  

It’s payback, King said, for his opposition to funding the Department of Homeland Security because the bill didn’t explicitly block President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions.  

“[The trip] had been signed off on, certified, authorized, everything all booked,” King told Iowa talk show radio host Simon Conway . “The order came down from the speaker’s office, ‘that shall be rescinded.’ And the people who [Boehner] most objects to for disagreeing with him are now grounded to the United States by order of the speaker.  

“This is retribution on the highest scale,” said King. He added that the “appetite is growing” among House conservatives to formalize a coup against Boehner, R-Ohio, who is still taking some heat for allowing the chamber to vote on “clean” funding for the department.  

Typically, members ask for approval and funding for work-related trips, commonly known as CODELs, from the chairmen of committees most relevant to the nature of the excursions.  

Boehner’s office would not comment on King’s allegation, but it wouldn’t be the first time this year that GOP leaders have sought to make examples of members who step out of line.  

When Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., made himself a nominee for speaker on the House floor at the start of the 114th Congress, his membership on the speaker-appointed Rules Committee was revoked; a fellow Florida Republican and Rules colleague Richard Nugent, who voted for Webster for speaker, was also removed from the panel’s roster.  

There have also been murmurings that Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., will strip his whip team of members who vote against procedural measures to bring bills up on the chamber floor.  

In King’s case, his opposition to the DHS bill might have just been a final straw in a pile-up of rebukes to leadership and the GOP establishment, not the least of which was his vote for someone other than Boehner for speaker back in January.  

A source familiar with House Republican campaigns told CQ Roll Call that King’s unwillingness to give back to the party is particularly glaring in light of what the party has done for him.  

In 2012, King was fending off the biggest electoral challenge of his congressional career from Democrat and former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack. The National Republican Campaign Committee’s $600,000 investment in the race was crucial to King’s victory in a presidential election year when Obama ultimately won the state by 6 points.  

Yet King still doesn’t come close to paying his annual NRCC dues, said the same source: “[He] likely wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the support of the leadership team and other Republicans who bailed him out in 2012. He is not a team player in any way, and can’t be expected to be rewarded with perks like taxpayer-funded overseas trips.”  

Boehner, of course, was reported to have called King “an asshole” in a conversation with a House Democrat  after the Iowa member’s “calves the size of cantaloupes” comment.  

There was also that time  King was part of a bipartisan CODEL that culminated in a tour led by action movie star Steven Seagal.  

King’s office did not immediately respond to a request from CQ Roll Call for more information about the canceled trip.  


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