On Thursday, in the midst of ongoing national debate over prospective gun control and comprehensive immigration legislation, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that he didn’t need the approval of a majority of his own party to move forward with legislation. Referring to the so-called Hastert Rule, named after former House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL), which dictated that House leadership not bring up any bill for a vote without the support of a majority of the majority party, Boehner said, “Listen: It was never a rule to begin with.”
Then, realizing the gravity of admitting that he could move without a majority of his own party, Boehner added, “And certainly my prerogative – my intention is to always pass bills with strong Republican support.”
That may be his intention, but it has not been his history. On the fiscal cliff deal at the end of 2012, for example, he ignored a majority of his own party. That prompted a mini-rebellion in the House resulting in a supposedly humbled Boehner retaining his speakership. Should he buck the House Republicans again, he may face a stiffer challenge this time.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).