What’s the “Hastert Rule”? Steve Benen explains: “Boehner is only supposed to bring bills to the floor that most of his own caucus supports (measures that enjoy a “majority of the majority”). The idea is, Republicans shouldn’t even consider bills if they’re dependent on Democratic votes to pass; the real power belongs in the hands of the House GOP’s far-right rank and file.”
What a way to run a railroad! A minority of the majority has been screwing around with the welfare of the entire country and the well-being of its people ever since the 2010 election — all because of a specific reindeer game they’re supposed to play each time they’re required to do their jobs.
BUT the good news is that in the past two weeks, Boehner has ignored the Hastert Rule and passed (1) the fiscal cliff bill and (2) a Sandy disaster relief bill. [NOTE: nearly 80% of the House GOP -- 179 members -- voted against disaster relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy]
Boehner’s new approach has Benen feeling cautiously optimistic:
“John Feehery, a former spokesperson and leading aide in Hastert’s office, published a piece today arguing that Boehner can’t stick to the rule if he expects to govern. [...] In a move that raised eyebrows this morning, Boehner’s deputy chief of staff promoted this Feehery piece on Twitter this morning.
This may seem like inside baseball, but it’s extremely important. If Boehner, in the name of getting stuff done, is open to bringing important bills to the floor, and passing them with mostly-Democratic support, the next two years will be far less ridiculous than the last two. It means a debt-ceiling crisis is less likely, comprehensive immigration reform is more likely, and meaningful action on preventing gun violence has a credible chance of success.”
Jed Lewison says this is “as clear a sign as you could possibly get that Republican leaders aren’t going to block a debt limit increase:
“Instead, they’ll let their members create as much drama as possible, but will in the end allow the a debt limit increase to come to the floor where it will pass with the backing of all or nearly all Democrats.
Yes, it’s true that far-right groups like Club for Growth, The Family Research Council, and The Heritage Foundation are still saber rattling about the debt limit. But these are the same clowns that were saber rattling about the Hurricane Sandy vote—and they lost. As Brian Beutler exhaustively outlines, every major sign points to a lack of resolve on the part of House Republican leadership to block an increase in the debt limit.”
Also? The Koch Brothers are now publicly instructing their congressional beneficiaries that the nation’s bills need to be paid.