Recently, while speaking about DREAM Act-eligible young Americans, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed, “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds–and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” Offensive on just about every level, the statement drew the excoriations from his colleagues that did not accompany his comparison of immigrants to dogs during the 2012 election. Said Speaker John Boehner, King’s comment “does not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party.”
Unfortunately, Boehner is only half-correct. While the American people are deeply opposed to the bigotry espoused by King, the Republican caucus is solidly aligned with King’s worldview.
Since Rep. King first took office as a member of the House in 2003, Congressional Quarterly has identified 110 votes in the House as pertaining to immigration. On 98 of those votes, the majority of Republicans in the House followed King’s lead. Excluding one vote that King missed, that means that the Republican caucus sided with the virulently anti-immigrant King 89.9% of the time when asked to vote on immigration issues.
Republicans may not always appreciate King’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. But they’re more than likely to agree with him when it comes to actually voting on policy.