The “Hastert Rule” says that a Speaker shouldn’t let any bill reach the floor unless a majority of his own caucus supports it. In the end, when the Great Executive Amnesty Sellout reached its final act, a supermajority of Boehner’s caucus opposed it. He passed the bill anyway — with all members of the minority party voting yes.
John Boehner, Democratic Speaker of the House.
— dan holler (@danholler) March 3, 2015
It ended up 257-167. Here’s the roll, but don’t get too caught up in the 75 Republicans who voted yes. If 100 Democrats had switched their votes to no at the last second, I assume Boehner would have had little trouble replacing them with squishier members from his own side. Dozens of GOPers voted no here, no doubt, simply because their votes weren’t needed and a “nay” on authorizing executive amnesty will help them avoid primary challenges next year. There are probably 50-60 House conservatives who opposed the bill on the merits, because they’d rather endure a very limited shutdown of DHS to pressure Obama on immigration than throw in the towel now.
I already said my piece on this earlier so I won’t belabor it but lemme add two points. First, per Leon Wolf, don’t forget that not only does this remove any congressional roadblock to Obama’s amnesty, it also removes the roadblock to O’s plan to let illegals apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit retroactively, a giveaway that could be worth thousands of dollars in taxpayer money for each applicant. Second, if you think that this would have been a slam dunk with a Republican president in office, you’re kidding yourself and setting yourself up for more disappointment in 2017. For one thing, Democrats will almost certainly regain some seats in the Senate in 2016 (whether or not they reclaim a clear majority) so they’ll actually be in a better position to filibuster during the first two years of the next presidency than they are now — unless McConnell makes the filibuster go bye-bye. But even if the GOP had a filibuster-proof majority, it’s goofy to think that a Republican White House would risk alienating Latinos by undoing Obama’s executive order without having some sort of comprehensive immigration deal in Congress ready to go in its place. In that sense, executive amnesty is a lot like ObamaCare — Republicans may talk a good game about nuking each, but when push comes to shove, they’re talking about repeal and replace, not mere repeal. And the GOP’s replacement for executive amnesty will itself certainly allow for some form of legalization. The die is cast. And O knew it when he signed the order, which is why he’s not worried about a successor undoing his immigration legacy with a penstroke.