GOP lawmakers say they don’t want to put Steve King back on committees

Top Republicans are pushing back at the idea of putting Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) back on committees he was removed from last year following his controversial comments about white supremacy and Western civilization. 

“It’s bullshit. We have not discussed this at steering,” one member of the Steering Committee, which with GOP leadership decides committee assignments, told The Hill. 

King — who is facing a primary challenge from state Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) — said he and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reached a deal in which McCarthy will advocate that King take his place back on the committees.

“On April 20, Kevin McCarthy and I reached an agreement that he would advocate to the steering committee to put all of my committees back, all of my seniority,” he said during a forum, the Sioux City Journal first reported. 

“When Congress comes back into session, when the steering committee can (inaudible) together, I have Kevin McCarthy’s word that that will be my time for exoneration,” King said. 

But members of the Steering Committee — which is tasked with choosing what panels members sit on — said they have no plans to place King back on the panels.

“Someone forwarded me an article where Rep. Steve King claims he will get his committees back next year,” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) said in an Instagram post. 

“I am a member of the Republican Steering Committee and former NRCC Chairman, and as long as I am a member of the Steering Committee, I will not allow that type of person or that type of ideology to influence the legislation passed by Congress. He will not be serving on any committee. Steve King does more to hurt Republican and conservative causes than help,” he said. 

Another member said they had not heard any discussion of the potential reinstatement. 

King has repeatedly made comments that have sparked bipartisan backlash. He also blasted Stivers’ criticisms, arguing that the Ohio Republican’s sentiment doesn’t represent the majority of the members on the Steering Committee.

“Never-Trumper Stivers is only one vote on Steering, known for his singular inability to discern fact from fiction,” he said in a statement.

“No one trusts his leadership since he sacrificed the Republican Majority as NRCC Chair in 2018, enabling Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff to impeach President Trump,” he continued. “Stivers should be held accountable. No respectable Republican believes the New York Times.”

House GOP leaders opted to strip King from his committee assignments after he questioned when “white nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization” became “offensive” during an interview with The New York Times published last year. 

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) asserted he doesn’t believe King has taken any action that would justify Republicans reinstating his former committee seats. 
“I totally agreed with the actions the minority leader took in requesting he be removed. …. It’s not the first time he’s done that. I’ve not seen anything that he’s done to date that would warrant his being put on any committees in the future. His continued self-promotion at the expense of the rest of the conference is unacceptable,” he told The Hill. 
“If it comes up next term, his actions don’t warrant any committee assignments,” Joyce added. “There’s nothing to talk about. He’s not up for committee assignments.”

King asserts his remarks were taken out of context and a handful of Republicans called for his reinstatement last year. 

Top Republicans — including McCarthy — have repeatedly pointed to their decision to remove King from committees when calling for Democratic leadership to reprimand members of their caucus over controversial comments. And a number of GOP lawmakers have opted to donate to King’s primary challenger, with House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) previously having called on King to “find another line of work.”

While King has had a number of controversies in recent years, recent polling shows him with an 8-point advantage over Feenstra ahead of the June 2 primary. 

McCarthy’s office said that while King will be able to make his case to the members of the Steering Committee, he has not been promised reinstatement. 
“Congressman King’s past comments cannot be exonerated,” a spokesman for the California Republican said.  “Committee assignments are determined by the steering committee and he will have the opportunity to make his case.”

Al Weaver contributed.

Updated: 8:13 p.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Donald Trump Iowa Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Nancy Pelosi Steve King Steve Stivers

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