Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) said today that any House-Senate compromise must have majority of the House GOP support before he will bring to the entire House for a vote. “For any legislation — including the conference report — to pass the House it’s going to have to be a bill that has the support of the majority of our members,” Boehner told reporters Thursday.
The reason this is important has to do with the procedure for negotiation between the House and the Senate, known as Conference. When each body legislates on an issue, if they do not pass the same bill it has to go to Conference to work out the differences. The leader of each body appoints conferees who will negotiate what will result in the final bill. This is known as the Conference Report. The agreed upon Conference Report has to pass another vote in the entire Senate and the entire House. Neither body can filibuster, it is a simple majority vote.
It would be possible for Boehner to send squishes into Conference to negotiate, return with a squish bill and have squishes side with enough Democrats to pass a crap bill.
But if Boehner keeps his word, a majority of the GOP representatives will have to agree on what comes out of the negotiation, before it can come to the entire House floor, making it harder for the House to pass a bill that looks very similar to the awful Senate’s bill.
Last week, Boehner had not made up his mind about requiring a majority saying, “we’ll see when we get there.”