CREDIT: AP Photo/Dennis Cook
Though it appears a majority of the House now backs a clean continuing resolution, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) has thus far suppressed consideration because the idea does not have majority support within the GOP caucus and would thus violate the so-called “Hastert Rule.” But even the arbitrary requirement’s namesake, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) says the Hastert Rule is a “non-entity” to which even he didn’t adhere.
Despite the disastrous and wide-ranging effects of the government shutdown his party forced, Boehner has steadfastly refused to bring up a straight bill to re-open the government, without dismantling Obamacare. Asked Monday whether he’d allow the House to give an up-or-down vote to a clean continuing resolution, Boehner told reporters, “That’s not going to happen.”
In an interview with Eleanor Clift for The Daily Beast, Hastert –the longest-serving Republican House Speaker in the nation’s history — said, “The Hastert Rule never really existed. It’s a non-entity as far as I’m concerned.” While he acknowledged that in 2006 he had explained he “philosophically” preferred to have at least half of the GOP conference behind legislation, it “wasn’t a rule.”
“The Hastert Rule is kind of a misnomer,” Hastert added. “The real Hastert Rule is 218,” a simple majority of the U.S. House when no seats are vacant, he continued. “If we had to work with Democrats, we did.”
A Huffington Post tally finds 20 House Republicans have now indicated they would be willing to back a clean bill. Combined with the 200 House Democrats, they could provide more than 218 votes to pas a clean continuing resolution — should Boehner bring the measure to the floor.
The Ohio Republican has previously disregarded the “Hastert Rule” to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, avert the “fiscal cliff,” and to provide Superstorm Sandy emergency aid funding.
Hastert declined to criticize Boehner directly, but noted, “You can’t be in Congress and shut down government and get anything done. It’s an oxymoron.”