Steve King’s attempt at a constitutional argument

STEVE KING’S ATTEMPT AT A CONSTITUTIONAL ARGUMENT…. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) fancies himself something of a champion when it comes to the U.S. Constitution. It’s what made this exchange yesterday especially entertaining.

Testifying that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional before an emergency Rules Committee meeting on the GOP’s repeal bill [yesterday] morning, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) offered a very specific argument. “There’ve always been,” King said, “babies that were born, lived, and died within the jurisdictions of the individual states, who never cross a state line, access no health care, and therefore do not impact interstate commerce.”

When Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) challenged King to “find the baby that was not born at a hospital or with a midwife, who did not receive inoculations,” King upped the ante. “I hate to tell you, but they show up in garbage cans around this country, sir.”

I’m trying to wrap my head around this. For Dems, the system of health care delivery and insurance obviously constitutes interstate commerce; interstate commerce is regulated by federal officials; ergo federal officials can regulate the health care system.

For Steve King, some expecting mothers don’t cross state lines, and some babies are thrown in the garbage, therefore, the health care law violates the Constitution.

Polis was left largely speechless trying to understand this nonsense, and as much as I’d like to clarify, I’m at a loss, too.

Can anyone explain what on earth this guy’s talking about?

Update: Today, King took the floor to tout Republican leaders’ “mendacity,” using the word (incorrectly) twice. Congressman, you keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.