As the fourth round of NAFTA negotiations start in Washington, D.C., Congressman Steve King is releasing a copy of a letter he sent to United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer (USTR) reminding him that, under a federal law including language King authored, trade agreements cannot change immigration law in the United States or obligate the United States to grant or expand access to visas to Canadian and Mexican nationals.
“In 2016, I authored language which prohibits the executive branch from including either immigration or climate change provisions in trade agreement negotiations,” said King. “These provisions were signed into law by Barack Obama. The Constitution places authority over immigration in the legislative branch, not in the executive. It is important to remind our USTR that Congress is dedicated to the preservation of these provisions, and that Speaker Ryan and I are in full agreement on the topic.”
Text of Letter:
August 14, 2017
The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
With the first round of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. from August 16th through the 20th, I write to express my concerns that the proposed agreement includes provisions related to U.S. immigration laws, particularly any provision obligating the United States to grant access or to expand access to visas issued under section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 101(a)(15)).
As you know, under NAFTA, the TN nonimmigrant classification permits qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to seek temporary entry into the United States to engage in business activities at a professional level. Such professionals include accountants, engineers, lawyers, pharmacists, scientists, and teachers—excellent positions that could be filled by American citizens, providing opportunity and advancement for individuals, economic security for families and a lessening welfare burden on the Americans taxpayer.
I understand that the Administration is renegotiating NAFTA under trade promotion authority (TPA), which is also known as fast-track authority. TPA allows President Trump wide authority to independently broker a trade agreement before submitting it to Congress for a vote that can be approved or denied, but not amended or filibustered. Particularly considering this process, it is important to ensure that the Article I Constitutional authority given to the United States Congress alone to establish immigration law is respected through the renegotiation.
It is essential to our duties under the law that the representatives of the people ensure that such policy is not being written through trade agreements negotiated by the Executive Branch. This is a long-held view of the Legislative Branch. In 2005, bipartisan letters from both the Senate and House Judiciary committees were sent to USTR, expressing the view of the chambers that immigration policy in trade agreements is unconstitutional, limiting Congress’s ability to debate, amend, and later modify the immigration provisions.
The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law on February 24, 2016. Language that I offered was included in Section 914 of the law, PL 114-125, and states that:
‘‘(14) to ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to the immigration laws of the United States or obligate the United States to grant access or expand access to visas issued under section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)).’’The effect of this language is that trade agreements cannot require changes to U.S. immigration laws. Specifically, the effect of this language is that any provision in new trade agreements that would obligate the United States to grant or expand access to visas would not be consistent with the negotiating objectives in the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act. If visas are included in NAFTA, the remedy is moving a Consultation and Compliance Resolution under the Act through the Ways and Means Committee through litigation.
I request an explanation of your position on visas in the renegotiation of NAFTA. Furthermore, I urge you to consider the illegality of a NAFTA renegotiation that violates the dictates of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 by requiring changes to U.S. immigration laws.
Steve King (IA-04)
Member of Congress
Congressman Steve King released the following statement celebrating the House passage of important pro-life legislation he cosponsored. The legislation, H.R. 36, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” seeks to end abortions after an unborn child has attained the post-fertilization age of 20 weeks. There is substantial medical evidence that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain at least by 20 weeks after fertilization, if not earlier. Under the legislation, an abortionist killing an unborn baby during or past the 20th week could be subject to both criminal penalties and civil remedies. The “Pain-Capable” legislation passed the House of Representatives today on a vote of 237-189, with King voting in favor of passage.
“Each one of these lives is so utterly precious, and we’re not going to stop," said King. "We’re going to defend every life that we can; we’re going to protect every life we can. We’re going to do the right thing that we can for the babies that we can save.”
To watch Congressman King’s remarks, click here.
Congressman Steve King released the following statement after writing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to express concerns about the Administration’s decision to cut $95.7 million, and to delay $195 million, in aid to Egypt. Congressman King considers Egypt, under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, to be a key ally in the region and an important counterweight in the fight against terrorism fueled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Congressman King was joined on his letter by Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-08), Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).
“President Sisi has boldly promoted greater tolerance for religious minorities by fostering a strong and unprecedented relationship with the Coptic Christian community and by constitutionally guaranteeing the reconstruction and restoration of all churches that had been damaged by acts of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said King. “Egypt is a key player in the fight against Islamic Radicalism, and these suggested cuts appear to contradict the Trump Administration’s own stated desire to support Egypt and its people in the fight against terror.”
In a separate action, King accused the State Department of missing “historic opportunities” not only in Egypt, but by failing to recognize the results of the recent independence referendum held by Kurds in Iraq. In this referendum, 92% of those voting opted for independence from Iraq.
“By cutting Egypt’s funds and by declaring that the Kurdish independence referendum ‘lacks legitimacy,’ the State Department is missing out on historic opportunities to strengthen American efforts to combat Islamic terrorism in the region,” said King. “Both of these actions are relics from a misguided Obama-era approach to the Middle East which did little but embolden Islamic terrorists from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We should work with the Kurds to help them cement their status as an independent nation and an ally, not side with the rogue elements in Turkey and Iran who reject the creation of a Kurdish state.”
It has been reported that Speaker Paul Ryan has formed a “task force” to develop legislation to save the unconstitutional Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). Based on the voting records of those he has selected for this task-force, it appears that the Speaker has wrongly decided that Republicans’ top priority should be to incentivize a new wave of illegal immigration across our southern border. It appears that House leadership now intends to revive DACA as a means of “Delivering Amnesty to Central Americans.”
A quick analysis of the members Speaker Ryan has selected reveals that the fix may be in for an open-borders, pro-Amnesty recommendation. Of the 10 members appointed to his “DACA task force,” at least six of them (a task force majority) are on record favoring a path to legal residency or a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Three of those selected were members of the “Group of 8,” a House effort to pass an Amnesty bill in 2013 that mirrored the Senate’s controversial “Gang of 8” efforts. (Interestingly, there were only 4 GOP members of the “Group of 8” and Speaker Ryan managed to appoint 3 of them to his hand-selected group.) One of the selectees is even an outspoken opponent of President Trump’s proposed and necessary border wall.
To make matters worse, not one of these task force members will call DACA what it is: Amnesty. Not one will tell the task force that the Rule of Law is more precious than our sympathy for a small group of “Dreamers.” Not one will admit that MS-13 gang members will be included in this amnesty. Not one will ask the questions “Why are we leading with Amnesty again? Why aren’t we enforcing the law, keeping our promises and restoring respect for the Rule of Law?”
By stacking his task force with pro-Amnesty members, Speaker Ryan is betraying the faith that America’s voters placed in President Trump and in GOP congressional majorities last November. Americans believed “Making America Great Again” included the GOP working with the President to:
“Build The Wall” along our Southern border to stem the flow of illegal aliens coming predominantly from Mexico, Central, and South America. Americans voted in favor of building a wall and increasing removals and deportations. Saving DACA does neither, it simply rewards those who were able to take illicit advantage of the fact that our southern border is so porous, we don’t know who is coming and going through it.
Restore our ability to enforce our existing immigration laws. Saving DACA will place a strain on our enforcement efforts. When the world is sent a signal that our nation will foolishly compromise on its immigration laws, the world will respond by swamping our nation’s borders and draining that nation’s limited enforcement resources in the expectation that, down the road, our nation will compromise again.
End DACA on Day One. Perhaps most importantly for this debate, President Trump filled massive rallies with tens of thousands of supporters throughout the country who cheered his many specific promises to end DACA, an action which works to restore respect for the Rule of Law. Like it or not, DACA recipients are in the country illegally, and they ought to have the law equally applied to them instead of modified to grant them a special exemption from its application.
Make no mistake, Americans voted for a high-energy President to enforce our borders against those who would make breaking the law their very first act. Similarly, Americans voted for a Republican Congress in the belief it would work with President Trump to prioritize the economic interests of our citizens over those of illegal aliens.
What is an American citizen to make of the fact that current GOP leadership can’t or won’t deliver on a promise it has repeatedly made to repeal ObamaCare but instead works to pass a DACA bill they won the Presidency and Congressional majorities by opposing? In both cases, someone’s interests are being placed first, and it isn’t the interests of America’s citizens.
Every American should take note of those candidates who stand with the economic interests of America’s citizens, and who stand with the Rule of Law, by rejecting Amnesty in all its forms. It is wrong when Democrats seek to demean the intrinsic value of American citizenship by importing the Third World to replace the millions of voters their redistributionist policies and racial grievance politics have driven away. It is also wrong when Republican leadership conveniently chooses to waive the application of the law to guarantee a supply of unskilled and low cost workers for their corporate benefactors.
President Trump was correct to rescind DACA, and Congress should work to ensure it remains another failed part of former President Obama’s unsuccessful effort to build a legacy on unconstitutional actions.
Congressman Steve King represents Iowa’s 4th District. He is a member of the House Judiciary, House Agriculture, and House Small Business committees.
NOTE: This article originally ran in Breitbart News on 9/26/17.Read More
Congressman Steve King released the following statement regarding Iraqi Kurds participation in a non-binding referendum to determine whether the Kurdistani Region of Northern Iraq should become an independent country.
“Iraq’s Kurds were asked whether they wanted to sever ties with Iraq and become an independent nation. I hope they have seized this historic opportunity for self-determination. The Kurdish fighting force, the Peshmerga, have been effective in the fight against the radical Islamic terrorists that comprise the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Kurds are a proud, independent people who have long been persecuted and who have earned the right to form an independent state. They would be a long-term ally of the United States, and I would call upon them to protect the rights of religious minorities, including the Christians of the Ninevah Plain and the Yezidis of Shengal, should they choose independence.”
The Kurds comprise the largest stateless nation in the world; their population is projected to number between 30 and 40 million. They are spread throughout the Middle East, mainly concentrated in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
On June 7th, 2017, Kurdish Regional Government president Masoud Barzani announced that the region had set September 25th, 2017 as the date for a referendum on independence.
On July 28th, 2017 Congressman King was the keynote speaker at a symposium titled, “The Kurdistan Region: Strategic U.S. Ally in a Tough Neighborhood.” The purpose of the symposium was to discuss the referendum effort and to discuss the Kurds’ ongoing efforts to protect religious minorities in the region from Islamic persecution.
Congressman Steve King today released the following video of his appearance before the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health. King was asked by the committee to testify this morning in support of legislation he has introduced which seeks to improve the quality of wheelchairs that are provided to veterans with service-connected disabilities through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). King’s legislation is H.R. 1943, the “Restoring Maximum Mobility to Our Nation’s Veterans Act of 2017.” During his remarks, Congressman King recognized Sioux City’s Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient, and Jack Zimmerman, a disabled veteran who lost his legs to an improvised explosive device, as inspirations for his bill.
Complete Video of Congressman King’s Testimony can be seen: HERE.
Video of Congressman King citing Bud Day and Jack Zimmerman as inspirations for this legislation can be seen: HERE.
From King’s Submitted Testimony:
“In the aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have strived in Congress to halt veteran suicide. We have worked to ensure that every veteran has access to the health care and services they need. Sadly, the somber statistics demonstrate that we have far to go to adequately take care of our veterans. That’s why I champion H.R. 1943, which amends Section 1701 of Title 38 of the United Code to ensure wheelchairs provided to our veterans include ‘enhanced power wheelchairs, multi-environmental wheelchairs, track wheelchairs, stair-climbing wheelchairs, and other power-driven mobility devices.’ This legislation ensures that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may provide a wheelchair to a veteran because the wheelchair restores an ability that relates exclusively to participation in a recreational activity.”
Under current law, the Veterans Health Administration does not allow a veteran with a service-connected disability to receive “motorized and power equipment or equipment for personal mobility intended solely for a recreational leisure activity” because the VHA wrongly presumes that such devices “do not typically support a rehabilitative role.”
The result of the existing policy is to deny wounded veterans access to medical equipment that would, if granted, allow them greater access to recreational activities such as hunting and fishing. Congressman King believes that the ability to undertake activities like these, to the fullest degree possible and even in the face of disability, are rehabilitative and are critical to ensuring our nation’s veterans are as healthy as possible in body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Our nation currently faces an epidemic of veteran suicides, and Congressman King believes H.R. 1943 helps promote the care and support that our nation’s veterans have earned.
Congressman Steve King released the following statement and photos after joining with Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, IEDA COO Rita Grimm, Iowa Corn’s Mark Heckman, Iowa Soybean’s Rolland Schnell, and Taiwanese government officials today in Des Moines to finalize a deal in which the Republic of China (Taiwan) will purchase American corn, soybeans, and wheat worth an estimated $2.8 billion. Congressman King recently traveled to Taiwan to personally meet with Taiwanese officials, including Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen and her highest ranking government ministers, on behalf of Iowa’s corn and soybean producers to successfully pitch this agreement. Much of the corn and soybeans to be purchased by the Taiwanese government will be grown on Iowa’s farms.
“It was a pleasure to welcome Taiwan’s representatives to Des Moines today, and I give their pledge to purchase $2.8 billion worth of corn, soybeans, and wheat a big ‘Thumbs Up!’,” said King. “It is important for Iowa agriculture that we work to open foreign markets to our home-grown products. This is a win-win deal which promotes both Iowa’s economic interests and also Taiwan’s food and national security needs.”
Congressman Steve King (second from right), Lt. Governor Adam Gregg (center, left), and representatives of the Taiwanese government give this $2.8 billion agriculture deal a big “thumbs up!”
Congressman Steve King (center, standing), IEDA COO Rita Grimm, (right, standing), Iowa Corn’s Mark Heckman (center, seated), Lt. Governor Adam Gregg (right, seated) and Iowa Soybeans’ Roland Schell (right, back to camera) and Taiwanese representatives finalize the trade deal.
Under the terms of the agreement struck with Taiwan, the Taiwanese are pledging to purchase between 359.1 and 370.1 million bushels of U.S. grains, worth a projected total value of $2.8 billion, in 2018-2019. The grains included in this deal are corn, soybeans, and wheat.
Congressman King recently traveled to Taiwan to represent Iowa’s interest in concluding this trade deal. During his meetings, Congressman King successfully encouraged the Taiwanese to enter into this purchase agreement. In order to solidify Taiwan’s intent, King personally met with President Tsai Ing-Wen, Minister of Agriculture Tsung-Hsien Lin, President of the Legislature Jia-Chyuan Su, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. David Tawei Lee, Minster of National Defense Admiral Tze-Chun Pu and Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang.
On Wednesday, September 13, Congressman King participated in a signing ceremony in Washington D.C., in which the Taiwanese government formally announced their intention to enter into this trade agreement. Details about Wednesday’s signing ceremony can be found here.
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Steve King released the following statement after joining with representatives of the Republic of China (Taiwan) at a ceremony to sign “Letters of Intent” announcing Taiwan’s decision to make significant purchases of American corn, soybeans, and wheat in 2018 and 2019. Under the terms of the letters signed today, Taiwan is declaring it will purchase 359.1 to 370.1 million bushels of U.S. grains, worth a projected total value of $2.8 billion, over the next two years. Today’s signing ceremony follows Congressman King’s strong advocacy efforts on behalf of Iowa agriculture. Last month, King personally met with Taiwanese officials including President Tsai Ing-Wen, Minister of Agriculture Tsung-Hsien Lin, President of the Legislature Jia-Chyuan Su, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. David Tawei Lee, Minster of National Defense Admiral Tze-Chun Pu and Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang to encourage these government officials to pursue these agreements and to purchase more agricultural goods.
“Taiwan’s decision to purchase approximately $2.8 billion of U.S. grains is good news, particularly for Iowa’s corn and soybean producers,” said King. “I look forward to welcoming the Taiwan trade delegation to the Heart of the Heartland on Friday to finalize this agreement. Taiwan is an important trading partner, and I am pleased that my efforts to encourage them to buy more American agricultural goods are paying off. When Taiwan buys American grains to feed their countrymen, Iowa’s rural economy benefits and the national defense posture of Taiwan gets stronger. Looking forward, it will be important to build on our success trading with Taiwan to expand market access for Iowa’s goods throughout Asia.”
Congressman Steve King delivers remarks before signing “Letters of Intent” with Taiwan.
Congressman Steve King (left) witnesses Taiwan’s signing of Letters of Intent to purchase $2.8 billion of corn, soybeans and wheat.
On Friday, September 15, Congressman King will be meeting with a Taiwanese trade delegation in Iowa to finalize the trade agreements agreed to this afternoon.
Washington, D.C.- Congressman Steve King released the following statement following House passage of an amendment he introduced which prohibits the expenditure of federal funds by federal agencies for any new hires who have not been subjected to an E-Verify review. The King amendment was adopted by the House of Representatives on a voice vote, and it was attached to seven different appropriations bills. The seven appropriations bills to which King’s amendment has been attached are: Agriculture, Interior, Commerce/Justice/Science, Labor/Health and Human Services, Financial Services, Homeland Security, and Transportation/Housing Urban Development.
“Current law requires the federal government to use E-Verify to enhance enforcement of federal immigration law in all hirings,” said King. “However, it’s been brought to my attention that it isn’t consistent across the different departments and we need to ensure that it is.”
The E-Verify system is operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). E-Verify checks the Social Security numbers of newly hired employees against Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security records to determine work eligibility.
King’s immigration law enforcement amendment seeks to ensure that jobs within federal agencies are not being taken by aliens who are in the country illegally. King’s amendment not only helps to ensure agency compliance with current federal law, but also serves to protect the interests of American workers seeking jobs within their own government.
Congressman Steve King announced today that he has introduced H.R. 3688, the “Winnebago Land Transfer Act of 2017”. King’s legislation seeks to restore several tracts of land located in Woodbury and Monona Counties to the Winnebago Tribe. In 1976, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the United States lacked authority to take the land through the eminent domain process because Congress had not taken the necessary actions to abrogate the Treaty of March 8, 1865. The treaty set apart the land at issue “for occupation and future home of the Winnebago Indians, forever.” Despite this court ruling, the land currently remains in the possession of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to the federal government’s improper use of the eminent domain power.
“My legislation corrects a historical wrong that dates back to the 1970’s,” said King. “At that time, the federal government improperly used the eminent domain process to take land from the Winnebago Tribe even though their rights to that land are protected by treaty. H.R. 3368 requires that this land be held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Winnebago Tribe subject to the same terms and conditions that were agreed to in the Treaty of March 8, 1865. After over 40 years, it is time the federal government returned this property to the people with the lawful claim.”
Congressman King’s legislation is cosponsored by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). The Monona County Boards of Supervisors supports King’s legislation.
2210 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Steve King grew up in a law enforcement family in Storm Lake, Iowa. He attended Denison Community High School, where he met Marilyn Kelly, whom he married in 1972. They have lived in Kiron for 38 years and are members of St. Martin’s Church in Odebolt. Steve and Marilyn have three grown sons and five grandchildren.
King studied math and science at Northwest Missouri State University. He started King Construction in 1975 and built the business up from one bulldozer. He brings valuable knowledge to Congress as an agribusinessman and a small business owner for 28 years. King’s oldest son now runs the construction business.
He served in the Iowa State Senate for six years where he assumed roles as Chairman of the State Government Committee and Vice Chairman of the Oversight Budget Subcommittee. He was a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Judiciary Committee, Business and Labor Committee and the Commerce Committees. He worked in the State Senate to successfully eliminate the inheritance tax, enforce workplace drug testing, enforce parenting rights, including parental notification of abortions, pass tax cuts for working Iowans, and pass the law that made English the official language in Iowa.
King was elected to Congress in 2002 to represent Iowa’s Fifth Congressional District. During the 2012 election cycle, Iowa was redistricted to four districts. King now represents the Fourth Congressional District in the 113th Congress which includes: Ames, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City and Spencer. He brings personal experience, Constitutional principles, traditional marriage and family values and the perspective of representing one of the top producing agriculture districts in the nation to the people of Iowa’s new Fourth Congressional District.
King serves on the Agriculture Committee and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, and Nutrition. He has long been dedicated to adding value as close to the corn stalk and bean stubble as possible, as many times as possible. The Fourth District is one of the leading agricultural production districts in America. It will lead the nation in egg and pork production and will be near the top in corn and soybean production. The Fourth District will also rank first among all 435 congressional districts in ethanol and total renewable energy production. King’s very first bill in Congress was an expansion of a tax credit to small ethanol and biodiesel producers. His language was included in the Energy Users Act of 2005, which President George W. Bush signed into law.
As 97% of Iowa’s businesses are small business, King received a special waiver to serve on the House Small Business Committee so he could work to restrict government regulations that impede the growth of business and jobs. He continues to sit on the Small Business Committee as he serves Iowa’s new Fourth District and he brings with him to the Committee firsthand knowledge of challenges faced by small business owners. He also sits on the following Subcommittees within Small Business: Agriculture, Energy and Trade; Healthcare and Technology; Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access; Contracting and Workforce.
King is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where he sits on the Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee and the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. He believes the Constitution means what it says and that it should be read with the intent of our Founding Fathers in mind. King is never caught without a copy of the Constitution in his coat pocket.
King also chairs the Conservative Opportunity Society, a powerful and legendary House caucus that is best known for energizing Republicans to regain the majority of the House of Representatives in 1994.
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