With more and more conservatives in the House rebelling against John Boehner’s increasingly questionable Speakership, Republican House leadership is now moving to quash in-house concerns by reaching across the aisle for support. Leadership is moving in the wake of a surprising move by 16 House Republicans to vote against a Republican leadership-crafted closed rule on a government funding bill. The rule was designed to limit amendments to the government funding bill, but some House conservatives, concerned over the Boehner team’s refusal to consider a floor vote on an amendment to defund Obamacare implementation, bucked Boehner on the rule.
After undergoing that unpleasant shock, House leadership hasn’t responded by listening to the concerns of the more conservative members of its caucus. Instead, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on Sunday that he would be open to ramming through bills without the support of a majority of his own Republican caucus. Not just on small bills. On issues like immigration and gun control, McCarthy said, he’d be open to taking rogue Republicans across the aisle to work with Democrats.
“It is better if the House does their work,” said McCarthy. “We should be sending bills to the Senate.” As CNN host Candy Crowley pointed out, McCarthy refused to give a straight answer on whether he would continue to uphold the so-called Hastert Rule, under which Republican leadership moves forward with bills only if they have a majority of Republican support.
This is a declaration of war within the Republican ranks. And it should be deeply troubling to Republicans across the country, watching as the recently and controversially reminted House leadership continues to pursue the same political philosophy that led to a mini-rebellion in the House in January.
UPDATE: Late this evening, Rep. McCarthy's representatives reached out to both Breitbart News and The Hill regarding the use of the Hastert rule in the House. The Hill reports in an update to its original story:
In a statement to The Hill, McCarthy spokesperson Mike Long said: "Whip McCarthy strongly supports returning to regular order to bring legislation to the floor that has the support of a majority of the majority. Insinuation to the contrary is completely false."
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).