A who’s who of conservative groups is urging House Republicans to adopt a new rule. Well, actually, it’s an old rule: the Hastert Rule. Dennis Hastert is the former Republican speaker who adopted the informal guideline that no bill should pass without the support of the majority of the majority.
Now Heritage Action, the Club for Growth, the American Conservative Union and others have sent a letter to House Republicans with the following message: “[W]e encourage you to formally pass the Hastert Rule. A growing number of House members support an effort to change Republican Conference rules to codify the Hastert Rule.”
The reason they want it codified is because House Speaker John Boehner has violated the rule several times in recent months.
“Recently House Republicans have passed bills that are inconsistent with its mandate from the American people,” the letter says. “The fiscal cliff tax increases, increased pork spending buried into the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, and the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization all passed the House over the opposition of a majority of House Republicans.”
Boehner has never committed to follow the Hastert Rule in every case, and in reality even Hastert violated his own rule.
“Speaker Boehner has been clear: Our goal is always to pass legislation with a strong Republican majority,” spokesman Michael Steel said.
This is just the latest example of the uneasy relationship between Boehner and outside conservative groups who don’t like his “letting the House work its will” leadership style, if it means advancing bills they see as being part of the liberal agenda.
Most recently the group Heritage Action sent a letter urging House leaders to focus on investigating scandals and avoid legislative battles on things like the Farm Bill that might highlight divisions within the Republican Party. House leaders don’t appear to be taking the advice. They announced they plan to bring up the farm legislation later this month. It’s not clear yet whether it will get the support of the majority of the majority.