Speaker of the House John Boehner dismissed the “Hastert Rule” at a press conference Thursday, saying it was “never a rule to begin with.”
The Hastert rule is the principle by which a Speaker does not bring legislation up for a vote unless it is supported by a majority of Republicans in the House. Former Speaker Dennis Hastert is widely credited with its introduction, although Newt Gingrich also observed the rule during his tenure as Speaker.
It’s a rule that Boehner has violated multiple times since the start of this Congress, most notably in the first month, when legislation to avert the fiscal cliff and relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy passed with only help from Democrats, with only a minority of Republicans voting in favor of the legislation.
Asked if he would violate the Hastert Rule to bring legislation on guns, immigration, or dealing with the debt problem to the floor, Boehner brushed off the idea that the rule was an impediment.
“It was never a rule to begin with,” Boehner said, “and certainly, my prerogative and my intention is to always pass bills with strong Republican support.”