By Molly K. Hooper - 08/13/13 02:47 AM EDT
RICHMOND, Va. — GOP Rep. Steve King blasted his party's House leaders Monday for allowing an immigration vote that would "benefit the elitists, political power brokers, employers of illegals.”
The Iowa lawmaker charged that the current congressional push for immigration reform amounted to amnesty.
Cantor chastised King several weeks ago for remarks made to newsmax.com, in which King said that for every “valedictorian” child born to parents illegally in the U.S., there were "another 100 out there … [with] … calves the size of cantaloupes ... hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert."
Event coordinator, Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, made a point of saying that the rally spot was chosen because Cantor needed to hear from the "wage earners" who Beck said would be harmed by comprehensive immigration reform.
“We’ve got to make sure that Eric Cantor pays attention to the wage earners — that's why we're here looking over his district as we talk tonight,” Beck said.
The House majority leader is now leading a group of lawmakers in Israel.
A handful of speakers took the mics during the two-hour plus event in the Old Dominion State's capital city, demanding that individuals who broke the “rule of law” not benefit from doing so.
And King, a longtime foe of granting a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million residents in the U.S. illegally, decried the comprehensive immigration reform bill the Senate passed in June.
Calling it the "always is, always was and always will be Amnesty Act, " King warned his listeners that his growing crew of anti-amnesty House colleagues might not be able to delay a floor vote on a yet-to-be-seen House bill.
“We have a group that is counted in dozens and scores … now we are strong and have at least delayed this immigration legislation in the House … getting through October is going to be the tough part because there's more legislative days,” King said.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Cantor have strongly criticized the Senate immigration measure and indicated it won't receive a vote on the House floor. House GOP leaders are eyeing moving narrow immigration and border security bills that have cleared the House Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, Cantor and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are working on a GOP version of the Dream Act. That effort has troubled King and other conservatives in the House. It is unclear when the House will act on the Cantor/Goodlatte initiative.
Several times in his speech, King emphasized his deeply rooted opposition to granting citizenship to individuals who defied the U.S. “rule of law” to remain in this country.
Asked if he had ambition for higher office, he laughed off the question.
Still, King raised eyebrows recently when it was reported that he planned to make a stop in the important presidential nominating state of South Carolina.
Though he wouldn't rule out a presidential run, King told The Hill that he wasn't "actively seeking" it either.
This article was updated at 7:45 a.m.