(NATIONAL JOURNAL) — There’s no telling when an immigration bill will come to the House floor, what it will say, or who will support it.
Only one thing’s for sure: Steve King will vote no.
And he’s not alone.
The Iowa Republican has organized a small but growing number of conservatives who are committed to voting against any House immigration bill – no matter what it says – because they fear that the Senate will inevitably find a way to add “amnesty” to the equation.
King won’t say how many members he’s got on board, except that it reached “fairly deeply” into the GOP caucus. Lobbyists say it’s somewhere between 20 and 70 members. Even at the low end of that range, it’s enough to prevent any Republican-led immigration bill from passing.
King’s “immigration whip team” began in January, when he learned that a group of House Republicans and Democrats were secretly negotiating an immigration bill that he was certain included a path to citizenship.
“I talked to Lou Barletta and said, ‘We’d better prepare ourselves,'” he said.
The House’s “Gang of Eight” has since splintered, with little chance of its carefully negotiated proposal making an impact in the broader immigration debate. But the House Judiciary Committee has readied four conservative immigration bills that make up the “piece-by-piece” solution to immigration, and the House Homeland Security Committee has completed work on a border security bill.
“I say to the sponsors, ‘Paint for me a scenario by which any of these five pieces of legislation could become law without sacrificing the rule of law.’ They’re answer to me is, ‘You’re to help with that. You’re to solve that,'” he said.
He solves it by saying no on everything.