Video posted first by left-wing site ThinkProgress shows House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) during a recent town hall meeting in Racine, Wisconsin discussing trying to find a way around the Hastert Rule in bringing immigration reform bills to the floor of the House.
A transcript of the exchange is below:
QUESTIONER: One of the biggest frustrations we’re seeing right now is hearing Speaker Boehner, that he’s going to follow the Hastert Rule. That he’s not going to bring any of these bills forward unless they have a majority support of the majority party. What’s your position, should you maintain that?
RYAN: […] Bringing these bills to the floor, we’ll find out. It is not, “they don’t come to the floor unless we have a majority of the majority,” because we don’t know if we have a majority until we vote on it. So here’s where I see things going. I’ve spoken to Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as recently as three days ago about this, which is, we all agree it is better to legislate in stages instead of one big thousand plus page bill that no one has read. […] I’m trying to get to a consensus so a majority of us do support those component parts. I believe that’s achievable because when people really look at the details and they focus on what’s right, I believe what I’ve just laid out is something that a consensus of Republicans and Democrats can agree to.
Ryan’s comments to his constituents, particularly in claiming the introduction of immigration bills “is not, ‘they don’t come to the floor unless we have a majority of the majority,’ because we don’t know if we have a majority until we vote on it,” contradicts the promises House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has made to the public and to the GOP conference. Boehner and his team have explicitly said no bill will even be considered on the House floor without a majority of GOP support.
“No immigration bill will be brought to the floor for a vote without a majority of the Republican conference in support,” a source with direct knowledge of the matters told Breitbart News in mid-June.
A couple days after that Breitbart News report, Boehner himself came out and made the same promise but in even stronger terms: “I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have a majority support of Republicans.”
Boehner has even extended the Hastert Rule promise to apply to any conference report that the House would consider after a “compromise” with the Senate legislation.
In response to this revelation, a spokesman for Congressman Ryan argued that he agreed with Boehner, while reiterating Ryan’s remarks that a bill could come to the floor for a vote without anyone knowing whether the majority of Republicans in the House conference support it.
“Congressman Ryan reiterated what Speaker Boehner has made clear: The House will consider only those immigration reforms that garner a majority of House Republicans,” Ryan’s spokesman told Breitbart News. “His comments reflect the fact that it’s often difficult to determine how members will vote on a proposal until it’s considered on the House floor.”