Well, here we go again headed for the fiscal “cliff” egged on by the radical views of the “no Compromise” hardline tea party representatives. Given the “de facto” power of veto by the politically self serving strategies of House Speaker Boehner who implemented what is known as the “Hastert Rule”(named for former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, the Illinois Republican who ran the House between 1999 and 2007) to demand a majority of the majority approve a bill before bringing it to a vote.
As stated by Hastert himself in 2003“My fifth principle is to please the majority of the majority,” Hastert said. “The job of speaker is not to expedite legislation that runs counter to the wishes of the majority of his majority. . . . On each piece of legislation, I actively seek to bring our party together. I do not feel comfortable scheduling any controversial legislation unless I know we have the votes on our side first.”
This “rule” of course negates the business of the People in favor of the business of the party and, it is to say the least offensive to the basic notion of Democracy. And yet, whenever it is convenient for the speaker, the “rule ” is dropped in favor of putting forth his own proposals. The most recent example being the notorious “Plan B” that resulted in such an embarrassing lack of support by his own House members (if not to Boehner directly, at least to the non-tea party membership of the GOP).
So, now the idea is to claim a quasi-victory by pushing the pall back to the democrat’s side and demand that the senate vote first. If the bill would then pass the senate as expected with a majority of Democrat votes, Speaker Boehner would only be required 25 Republican votes in the house in order to pass it there. Amazingly enough there are exactly 25 Republican representatives that will not be returning to congress for the next session and, have nothing to loose by voting with the speaker.
Still, not willing to allow the Republicans an easy out Senator Reid said that arcane Senate rules prevented him from bringing up anything new for a vote. Not to be outdone then, Republican leaders argued that the Senate bill also faces procedural flaws which would prevent it from consideration in the House. Democrats then asserted that the excuse is nonsense and,… the theatrics continue as the public continues to linger in fiscal limbo.
Perhaps the best example of the contempt with which republicans seem to hold the American public was most effectively conveyed by Senator Cantor’s smirky remark when asked (as he was walking out of session and going back home earlier this week) if there would be a vote on the bill to prevent us from going over the cliff. The Senator didn’t even stop as he of handedly replied “No,…merry christmas”.