The Hastert Rule Is a Farce

John BoehnerI want to go back to that TAA voter I wrote about yesterday. It went down in flames, 126-302. This vote was followed by a vote on the TPA — fast track authority. It passed barely, 219-210. It was done this way with the hope that the Democrats would pass the TAA and the Republicans would pass the TPA. That’s because Democrats are generally in support of helping workers and Republicans are generally in support of helping big businesses that already make huge profits. But I find the whole thing curious with regard to what it says about the Republicans’ biggest excuse for never getting anything done.

I’m referring, of course, to the Hastert Rule. When Dennis Hastert wasn’t buggering little boys, he was busy making the House of Representatives totally unmanageable. And one of those ways was by explicitly adopting the “majority of the majority” rule. And Boehner has claimed to be tied to this “rule” as if it came down from on Mount Sinai on clay tablets. The idea is that the Speaker of the House cannot bring a bill to the floor for a vote unless the majority of his caucus is in favor of it. So there are 247 Republican seats in the House, so unless 124 Republicans are for a bill, it cannot be voted on — even if 123 Republicans and all the Democrats want it.

Except that this rule only exists as a convenience. It allows the speaker to avoid embarrassing his caucus as well as himself. When it came to the government shutdown in 2013, the Hastert Rule was thrown out — only 38% of the Republicans were in favor of reopening the government. Well, that’s not really true. Almost all of them were happy about it; they just weren’t willing to take any heat from the Republican base that has been led to believe that it can have everything if it is just willing to destroy the entire country.

When it came to the TAA, the Hastert Rule was even more out of alignment: only 36% of the Republicans voted for it. Of course, clearly the Republicans needed to pass the TAA if they want to give the great usurper Obama the right to made any kind of communist deal he wants — which they clearly do. So it is surprising that so many of them still couldn’t bring themselves to vote for it. They really are terrible at their jobs. Of course, when it comes to voting on it next week, maybe they will change their minds. It’s hard to say.

The main thing is that every time that John Boehner mentions that Hastert Rule, he should be laughed off the stage or screen or podium. There is no Hastert “Rule” — there is only a Haster Excuse. It is just a way for the Republican establishment to use its power to push its agenda. I’m not suggesting that listening to the majority of Republicans is a good idea. But to pretend that this is what John Boehner or any other Republican House Speaker is doing is just ridiculous.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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