With the arrival of January, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, is in a House chamber that has even more Republicans than it did last year, following a November 2016 election that had bountiful results for the party. Things will get even better for Republicans on Friday, when Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president.
At that point, Republicans will hold strong control of both federal legislative chambers and also the presidency. That gives a huge opportunity for Republicans to control public policy by pushing bills that fit their priorities for smaller government and tax code changes. Democratic President Barack Obama for the last eight years had a veto pen that could set aside Republican bills if he wished.
King represents Iowa's 4th congressional district and has been busy since Jan. 3 in terms of introducing bills. King draws barbs from Democrats for his ineffectiveness in moving bills through the House. There are no guarantees his bills will advance this year, but certainly the issues of importance to King have a better chance of being addressed.
Of course, at the top of his list is the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act also often called ObamaCare. King also wants a physical barrier built at the Mexican border to reduce illegal immigration.
As the 115th Congress convened on Jan. 3, King began by introducing four bills dealing with immigration policy. HR 144 is a bill that King says would end "birthright citizenship or the anchor baby agenda," as he says up to "750,000 babies are born in America each year that get automatic citizenship even though both parents are illegal."
King in a release said his 'Birthright Citizenship Act of 2017 fixes it, clarifies the 14th Amendment and clarifies the Constitutional meaning of the clause, ‘And subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ President-elect Trump repeatedly called for this bill, and it should be a top priority in Congress."
King introduced another bill on Jan. 6, then on Jan. 11 he introduced two bills dealing with health care. One of those, the Tax Free Health Insurance Act, would enact King's goal to "eliminate taxes on health insurance for those in the individual market."
Also on Jan. 11, King introduced a bill that he sees as a way to reduce abortions. King introduced The Heartbeat Bill, which he said "would require physicians to detect the heartbeat and prohibit the abortion of a baby with a beating heart."
That bill appears to pit a legislative approach with the power of the judicial branch. King contends the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion from more than 40 years ago is unconstitutional.
King explained that bill in a release: “Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies' lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government. Human life, beginning at the moment of conception, is sacred in all of its forms and today, I introduced a bill that will protect the lives of voiceless innocents.
"My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected."