The lone Democrat who voted against denouncing Rep. Steve King sees censure effort fizzle

WASHINGTON – The lone lawmaker who prevented the House of Representatives from unanimously denouncing Rep. Steve King, due to worries that the measure didn’t go far enough, saw his censure effort against the Iowa Republican fizzle on Wednesday.

Rep. Bobby Rush, a civil rights leader and Democrat representing Illinois, attempted on Wednesday, the day after the House voted 424 to 1 to condemn King, to bring up a censure resolution over King’s comments about white nationalism. 

His resolution, which included King’s remarks questioning why terms like “white supremacists” were offensive and other controversial comments over the years about immigrants, including his comparison of undocumented people to livestock, was read aloud on the House floor. But the measure was moved to the House Ethics Committee, meaning the committee could examine the measure and lawmakers wouldn’t vote on it.

“Representative Steve King of Iowa, by his despicable conduct, has dishonored himself and brought discredit to the House and merits the censure of the House for the same,” part of the resolution read. 

A censure is the second most serious punishment in the House, just behind being expelled from serving in Congress. A censure is basically a formal and public rebuke meant to embarrass, as the lawmaker being targeted would have to stand on the House floor and listen as the censure was read aloud before his colleagues. 

While Rush would have liked the House to take a more aggressive route to punish King, he told USA TODAY that it was probably best so it didn’t cause division within the party. 

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