U.S. Rep. Steve King pledged Tuesday to continue pushing for a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced federal budget.
During a visit to Fort Dodge, the Republican from Kiron also claimed gun control advocates are taking advantage of last month's school shooting in Connecticut to advance their agenda.
King was in Fort Dodge for the grand opening of his new regional office at 723 Central Ave. It is his first office in the city. He began representing Webster County and all of its surrounding counties this year as a result of the reapportionment that followed the 2010 census.
About 30 people attended a ribbon cutting at the office conducted by the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.
''I just feels great to get this kind of welcome from the city and the area of Fort Dodge,'' King said.
''We intend to be as proactive as we can be,'' he added. ''We want to do all the things we can that have to do with growth. You're in the best position, I think, of any community I know of in Iowa.''
Jim Oberhelman, of Fort Dodge, will run the congressman's local office. He previously operated the Fort Dodge office of U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Clive.
During an interview following the ribbon-cutting event, King discussed some of the top issues facing Congress.
He said the Congress is facing three major fiscal challenges in the next few months. They are the automatic budget cuts called sequestration, the March 27 expiration of a continuing resolution that's funding the federal government, and the need to address the debt ceiling.
King said he'll try to protect the defense budget and continue entitlement reforms.
But he said a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution will be the ultimate solution.
''If we're ever going to get our spending under control, I think we have to amend the Constitution so that we're required to balance the budget,'' he said.
He made a balanced budget amendment a priority during the 2012 campaign in which he defeated Democrat Christie Vilsack, of Ames.
King said the December shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that claimed 26 lives has energized gun control advocates.
''I think that there are people that are anti-gun that saw the terrible tragedy of Sandy Hook as an opportunity to do some things to take guns out of people's hands,'' he said. ''They have not yet described for me how they might have reduced or eliminated the tragedy of Sandy Hook, but they still want to take people's guns.''
He said a proposed ban on assault weapons ''seems to not hold up under any analysis I can see.''
The office ribbon cutting was held Tuesday because the House of Representatives is not in session this week. King said the House is in session for three weeks every month, than takes a week off so that its members can spend time in their districts.