WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that comments from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) would make the immigration reform effort more complicated, but skirted a question on whether the Iowa lawmaker would be removed from the House Judiciary Committee.
"We don't need to make this job more difficult," Boehner told reporters when asked about King's statements. "We've got a broken system. ... It does make it more difficult, but I'm going to continue to work with members who want to get a solution, as opposed to those who want to do nothing."
Boehner dismissed a question on whether King would be taken off the Judiciary Committee, which handles immigration bills.
"I think I've made myself very clear when it comes to Mr. King," he said.
King drew fire this week for comments he had made to Newsmax about Dreamers -- young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. He said that while some Dreamers are valedictorians, "there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." King has since declined to back off those comments.
But he was quickly condemned by Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), along with a number of Democrats. Cantor and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) are working on a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
Boehner and other GOP leaders met with Latino evangelicals on Wednesday. They urged that "one outlier" not be seen as the voice of the Republican Party, according to one attendee.
The speaker made a similar point during his press conference Thursday, calling King's statements "deeply offensive and wrong."
"What he said does not represent the values of the American people or the Republican Party," Boehner said.