Boehner on Hastert Rule: ‘It was never a rule to begin with’

April 11, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) signaled Thursday that he may continue to bypass a House Republican rule that has required any legislation being voted upon to have the support of a majority of the GOP conference.

Boehner has flouted the so-called "Hastert Rule" -- named for former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) -- on a few pieces of key legislation so far this year, which hasn't sat well with some conservatives.

He said at a news conference Thursday that he will continue to try and follow it in spirit, but also suggested he might well violate it for upcoming votes on guns, immigration and the budget.

“Listen: It was never a rule to begin with," Boehner said. "And certainly my prerogative – my intention is to always pass bills with strong Republican support.”

Boehner in early March sought to reassure his conference that the rule would continue to be regular practice, but he broke it again earlier this week.

Many of the big upcoming votes in the House -- specifically on immigration, guns and the budget -- could struggle to get the votes of a majority of the GOP conference, which under the Hastert Rule would prevent them from coming to a vote at all.

Boehner, of course, is hardly the first speaker to violate the rule. Hastert himself even violated it from time to time.

Updated at 5:19 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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