King predicts hard work ahead

U.S. Rep. Steve King expects the farm bill to be split into smaller pieces of legislation when the House of Representatives returns to work after its Independence Day break.

The Republican from Kiron said Tuesday that he’s not sure that’s a good idea.

He added that he remains firmly opposed to a Senate immigration bill that he said provides ”perpetual and retroactive amnesty” for illegal immigrants. He said there are five bills pending in the House which address various aspects of immigration.

King voted in favor of a version of the farm bill that was defeated in the House on June 20.

During an interview with The Messenger on Tuesday, he said House leaders may split the farm bill into two measures, one containing the agriculture programs and one containing food stamps and other nutrition programs. He called that move ”tactically unwise” because he believes the Democrats who control the Senate won’t address the House bill on the nutrition programs. That, he said, would result in no reforms to the food stamp program.

He estimated that there are 48 million people receiving food stamps.

”Tom Vilsack is spending millions to advertise for more people to sign up,” he said of the agriculture secretary who is a former Iowa governor.

King said the House version of the bill would eliminate that advertising.

He said the farm bill should provide crop insurance and eliminate direct payments to farmers.

He added that he expects some form of farm bill to come to the House floor for a vote by August.

Although the Senate passed an immigration reform bill, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pronounced it dead on arrival in his chamber, according to King.

”The thing they passed out of the Senate is perpetual and retroactive amnesty,” King said. ”I chose those words having read most all of the bill.”

He said the Senate bill would allow any illegal immigrant who came into the United States before Jan. 1, 2012, to stay in the country unless they had been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors. He added that the bill contains no provisions for deporting any illegal immigrant who came into the country after Jan. 1, 2012.

King added that the bill invites anyone who was deported to apply for admission to the United States.

”That’s the we didn’t mean it clause,” he said.

He said the bill ”destroys the rule of law, at least with regard to immigration, and it does so forever.”