Congressmen Address King Comments, Shutdown

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, and Bill Johnson, R-6 Ohio, addressed two national talking points Monday: Ryan on the racist comments made by U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-4 Iowa, and Johnson on the potential to use the State of the Union as a platform to end the partial government shutdown.

Ryan introduced a resolution condemning and censuring King for comments the Republican congressman made in an interview with The New York Times, in which he questioned why “white nationalist” was offensive language.

“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said in the interview. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

King later issued a public statement saying he was not an advocate for “white nationalism and white supremacy.” Officials on both sides of the aisle have condemned King’s remarks. On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced King would be removed from committee assignments, CNN reported.

Ryan’s resolution calls for the censure of King who, if the resolution passes, would have to present himself in the well of the House of Representatives for the pronouncement of the censure and public reading of this resolution by the Speaker. Original cosponsors for the resolution are U.S. Reps. Dave Loebsack, D-2 Iowa, and Dave Joyce, R-14 Ohio. The bipartisan support for the resolution shows “there is no room in Congress for support of the toxic ideology of white supremacy,” Ryan said in a statement.

“The dangerous ideology of white supremacy has no place in America — let alone Congress. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican, we all have a responsibility to call out Rep. King’s hateful and racist comments,” he said. “And this isn’t the first time he has made headlines for his inappropriate language. It’s far past time that Congress holds him accountable. We need to send a strong message to our colleagues and the American people that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

To solve the issues at the southern border and end the partial government shutdown, U.S. Rep. Johnson suggested that President Donald Trump use the State of the Union address Jan. 29 to find a resolution. In a statement to news organizations, Johnson said with members of both houses of Congress in the same room for the president’s address, “It would be a great opportunity to craft a deal — right before the eyes of the American people, so they could see for themselves who is willing to negotiate, and who is not. President Trump could turn to Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and extend a hand with a pledge to settle the differences right then and there.”

Johnson hopes the shutdown will be resolved before then, he said, but if it isn’t and a deal cannot be reached at the State of the Union, “President Trump will have done everything he can do, and it will be time to officially designate the crisis on the southern border what it is — a national emergency.”

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