The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Three days into the shutdown that has paralyzed the federal government, it’s become apparent that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) could end the standoff at any moment he chooses. The Huffington Post reports that as of Wednesday afternoon,  20 House Republicans are willing to pass a “clean” continuing resolution that would fund the government at sequester levels, without any Obamacare-related demands attached. This is three more than the 17 Republicans who would need to join Democrats to pass the Senate’s budget bill.

Republican representative Jon Runyan of New Jersey expressed what others like him are now feeling: “Enough is enough. Put a clean [continuing resolution] on the floor and let’s get on with the business we were sent to do.”

Despite now having the votes, however, Speaker Boehner has refused to bring a bill to the floor, citing the so-called “Hastert Rule.”

Under the Hastert Rule, a House Speaker should not allow a vote on any legislation that is not supported by a majority of the majority party, which is the Speaker’s caucus.

The rule is named after former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who said that relying on the other party for the majority of votes was “something I would not generally do,” during a 2006 press conference.

Boehner has waived the rule in the past, but most recently he has used it to justify not bringing a new bill to the floor. He might have to reconsider his stance, though, because Hastert is now saying that the “Hastert Rule is kind of a misnomer,” and nothing more.

On Wednesday, Hastert explained to The Daily Beast that when he made the 2006 comments, he was “speaking philosophically” and that it “wasn’t a rule.”

The former Speaker then explained that “the real Hastert Rule is 218,” referring to the number of votes needed in the House for a bill to pass. He then continued: “if we had to work with Democrats, we did.”

Although Hastert did not say whether or not Boehner should waive the Hastert Rule and admitted that he and the current Speaker do not talk, he did offer some insight that Boehner might find handy: “We had to find a way to compromise and get things done. I wasn’t a show horse; I wasn’t on TV programs.”

“You can’t be in Congress and shut down the government and get anything done. It’s an oxymoron,” Hastert added.

Photo: ASIS International via

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

FBI Director Chris Wray told members of Congress on Tuesday that the number of domestic terror cases in the United States has "exploded" over the past year and a half, confirming many suspicions surrounding the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

On Tuesday, Wray told members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the FBI's domestic terrorism caseload has "more than doubled" since the spring of 2020, "from about 1,000 to around 2,700 investigations."

Keep reading... Show less

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

On Monday, Rep. Bennie Thompson made it clear that the House Select Committee investigating events related to the January 6 insurgency could begin issuing subpoenas within the next few days. Back on August 25, the committee sent a request for documents to a long list of recipients. While some recipients have turned over the requested information, a large number have not. As CNN reports, Thompson will skip right past the farce of sending any of these people or groups reminders or asking them politely to show up at the House. Instead, the committee will move straight to the subpoena phase and let the courts tell them how much executive privilege does not apply to this case.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}