Obstructionism? Republicans 'Need to Be Stopping Bad Ideas,' Rep. Steve King Says

By Susan Jones | March 3, 2014 | 8:45 AM EST

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "[O]bstructionism has gotten old. People are sick of it," CNN's Chris Cuomo lectured Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in a recent "New Day" interview. Cuomo, his liberal stripes on full display, was questioning the tea party conservative about his "main role" in Washington:

King responded that when he first came to Washington 12 years ago, Republicans were in charge, "and my role was to move legislation."

But when Democrats took the majority in 2006, "Then my job became to be an obstructionist, to stop things like cap and trade and try to stop things like Obamacare and to stop the increase of the national debt." And now with a Republican-led House and a Democrat-led Senate -- "we're in the job where we need to be stopping bad ideas.

"When we win a majority in the Senate and we have a president that'll sign it, then we'll go back to passing legislation that's good for the country again. That's the cycle," King said on Friday.

"It doesn't even sound good, though, Congressman," Cuomo said, continuing his lecture: "You know, like what we're here to do is to stop everything that happens and we're going to filibuster. And now you have this situation in the Senate. I know you're in the House, but you know, a lot of these things are mirror images of each other. The Veterans bill, money for education, health care -- your party tries to throw in sanctions to Iran into a bill that had nothing to do with that. Then they don't allow the votes. They push the Democrats. Democrats all vote for this bill for veterans; you guys don't. I mean, at what point do you stop playing this kind of game? It's so destructive. Look what you did to the veterans!"

The Senate on Thursday failed to advance a $21 billion bill that would have provided medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans, and that's what Cuomo was criticizing. As The Associated Press reported, "The bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and fresh penalties against Iran."

Republicans objected to the way the bill was paid for, but Democrats immediately blasted Republicans for not caring about veterans.

King told Cuomo that he has consistently sided with veterans, and he noted that some Democrats want sanctions on Iran, too.

"But why even put that (Iran sanctions) in there?" Cuomo interrupted, continuing with his "how-dare-you" spiel. "You know, Congressman, it's not your bill! It's not even your branch....I get obstructing. I get fighting for your ideals. I get that it's wholesome on that level. But it has been so inefficient. And when you see it even taking a toll on veterans, isn't enough, enough?"

King said Republicans find themselves in a situation where they "need to be the conscience" of the free-spending Democrats. "That means we've got to obstruct some things or we'll go deeper into debt."

Cuomo complained that instead of coming up with alternatives, Republicans simply obstruct: "You've been very effective at it," he said. "But respectfully, I would submit to you that you need to come up with better ideas. Fix the things that you don't like. Fix Obamacare. You know the law's not going away. Come up with better solutions."

"You know, Chris, but we have offered solution after solution on health care; we're still offering them," King said.

"Have you really? Have you really?" Cuomo said.

"Pardon me? Yes, we have," King said. "And here's something --"

"Like, what are the real solutions?" Cuomo interrupted.

King said he wants to change Obamacare's definition of full-time work to 40 hours from 30 hours. "That's one of the changes. Another one is full deductibility for everybody's health insurance premium. When the government commands that you buy a policy that they approve and punishes you through the tax penalty if you don't pay for that, it's got to be fully deductible for everybody. He also advocates selling insurance across state lines.

"We got rolled by a bad piece of legislation and we were not successful enough in obstructing Obamacare. This county wouldn't be in this angst that it's in today if we'd been better obstructionists when they tried to jam Obamacare at us..."

King added that Obamacare would have no chance of passing if it were to come up in the House and the Senate again. "That should tell you how bad it is," he said. "We just weren't successful enough in obstructing its passage, Chris."

"So now you have to fix it, though, because it is the established law of the land," Cuomo said. "You've got 4 million people signing up for it; there are more every day. You've got to choose progress over the politics of the situation. Hopefully you guys realize that down there."

Cuomo then returned to the "veteran issue." "I know it's in the Senate, but hopefully the shame campaign will begin and they'll get their act together. When that bill needs its companion in the House, can I get a pledge from you that you will not play politics on this issues, that you will push your brothers and sisters, tea party or Republican, whatever you are, to do the right thing by the veterans?"

King said he'd have to look at the details of the bill.