Congress

House will vote Tuesday to condemn Steve King

Majority Whip James Clyburn introduces resolution of disapproval

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said the House could vote as soon as this week to condemn  Rep. Steve King. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:02 p.m. | The House will vote Tuesday to disapprove of comments Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King made in a New York Times interview questioning how the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” had become “offensive.”

The resolution of disapproval, introduced Monday by Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, actually only makes one specific reference to King.

“Whereas, on January 10, 2019, Representative Steve King was quoted as asking, ‘White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?’”  the resolution opens. 

The measure goes on to make a number of other “whereas statements” regarding the racist connotations of those terms, prominent renunciations of racism and incidents of racism that have still permeated the country. 

The resolution concludes with the actual statement of disapproval, which is directly broadly rather than specifically at King: “The House of Representatives once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”

In 2009, Clyburn sponsored a disapproval resolution condemning South Carolina GOP Rep. Joe Wilson for yelling, “You lie!” at President Barack Obama during an address before a joint session of Congress.

Clyburn’s current resolution is a different, seemingly softer approach to condemning King’s remarks compared to the censure resolutions two Democrats, Bobby L. Rush of Illinois and Tim Ryan of Ohio, have introduced against King

Ryan and Rush gave notice on Monday evening on their censure resolutions. The resolutions’ privileged status triggers a two-day time clock for consideration.

Ryan said he prefers censure because it’s “more firm” than disapproval but noted he plans to talk to Clyburn about the path forward.

Rush said the disapproval resolution “is not strong enough” and “skirts the issue,” whereas his resolution is “right to the point.”

“I may not have everybody with me, but this is one member of Congress [who] will stand up to Steve King and his entire ilk and ideology,” he said.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland told reporters he plans to support Clyburn’s disapproval resolution.

House Republicans, meanwhile, decided not to seat King on committees for the 116th Congress

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