Hastert Rules

Speaker of the House John Boehner’s past statements about whether the unofficial “majority of the majority” rule might be waived for immigration reform have ranged from potential openness to mostly dismissive, but now that the issue has come to a head, Boehner has laid down an unequivocal marker.

Boehner want to made it completely clear that he will apply the so-called Hastert Rule to immigration reform, saying at a press conference today, “that for any legislation, including the conference report, to pass the House it is going to have to be a bill that has the support of a majority of our members.”

It is very important to note that Boehner made sure to say that the any conference report would also need the support of a majority of House Republicans to be brought to the floor.

Some had hoped that Boehner might only apply the Hastert Rule to the original House immigration bill but not apply it to what is likely to be a more liberal final Senate-House compromise. This would have been a loophole for Boehner to claim he respected the Hastert Rule but still let immigration reform become law without a majority of Republicans voting for the final bill.

Boehner has officially closed the door on that option and re-opening it would do serious damage to his credibility.

Immigration reform now has a very high bar to clear. Even though the Senate is likely to overwhelmingly approve their bill today, all indications are it will not get a majority of Senate Republicans.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license