And the “do nothing” Congress strikes again! Specifically the House of Representatives. Invoking an unofficial rule referred to as the “Hastert Rule,” House Speaker John Boehner reiterated that the House will not vote on the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate 68-32.
Claiming that the House will craft their own immigration bill, because as Boehner said, “It is time for Congress to act. But I believe the House has its job to do, and we will do our job.”
Wouldn’t allowing a vote on a bipartisan bill which was passed by the Senate, and would be signed by the President, constitute “doing their job?”
But what’s this “Hastert Rule” you ask? Well let me explain. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats. What this “rule” does is requires a majority of the majority to support a bill before a vote is allowed on the legislation. See, as it stands now if every Democrat voted for this immigration bill, and even 40 Republicans sided with them, the bill would be passed and sent to President Obama for him to sign.
But under this “Hastert Rule” the minority in the House doesn’t matter one bit. All 201 Democrats could support this bill, but unless the majority of the 234 House Republicans do (118 to be exact) the bill will never come to a vote.
This is essentially the cowards way to keep a bill from coming up for a vote in the House. Boehner is scared there would be enough support in the House as a whole to pass the bill, so he would rather stall everything and expect us to believe he’s “doing his job.” If anybody wonders why nothing gets done and Congress has approval ratings that rival those of the common bed bug, now you know.
And the kicker — this rule is completely made up by Republican Speakers of the House. There’s nothing in our decorum of Congress or the Constitution which enforces this rule.
It’s simply a way to obstruct legislation and keep anything from getting done. Which is exactly what House Republicans have done since they took power January 3, 2011.
While Republicans have tried to say it’s President Obama and Democrats that continue to obstruct progress, it’s moves like this which clearly show it’s Republicans who are the problem.
From their record number of filibusters in the Senate to their use of this “rule” to keep legislation from even being voted on in the House, Republicans prove time and time again that their only plan in Congress is obstructing anything they can.
And what’s around the corner? Republicans plan to take the debt ceiling hostage again. You know the debt ceiling, right? The procedure that has nothing to do with new spending, and is simply a procedure which allows the United States to pay bills on money we’ve already approved and spent.
But with immigration reform Republicans have shown their hand. A bill that had bipartisan support in the Senate, which was then passed, and has President Obama’s support — is only being held up by House Republicans.
My prediction? This backfires. Americans are simply tired of the obstruction in Congress and clearly blame it on Republicans more than Democrats. And it’s really hard to blame anyone but Republicans in the House when a bill is passed by the Senate (with Republican support), supported by the President but the House simply refuses to take it up for a vote for fear that it might actually pass and become law.
It’s behavior like this which should show all Americans why 2014 is such an important election. This obstruction cannot continue and if we are apathetic in 2014, we’ll be stuck with this “do nothing” Congress for another 2 years.
We can’t let that happen.