Speaker John Boehner allowed a vote on a clean bill to fund DHS through the end of the fiscal year. Miracle of miracles, it passed rather convincingly. All of the pundits have accused Boehner of “caving into the President” instead of telling you the truth. The truth is that the whole fiasco over the President’s Executive Order on immigration did not have to happen. The truth is that if John Boehner actually did his job two years ago, we would have seen the bi-partisan Immigration Reform Bill that the Senate sent to the House passed.
Republicans want you to believe that the President overreached his power. They don’t tell you that their St. Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to over 5 million undocumented immigrants through an executive order. They want you to believe that the President isn’t serious about “deporting” undocumented immigrants. They don’t tell you that this administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than the three previous administrations before it combined.
They want to tell you that the border with Mexico is a sieve allowing millions of people to simply “walk across” the border. They don’t tell you that under this administration the resources including manpower has quadrupled from previous administrations.
The Senate’s Immigration Reform Bill would have addressed many of these issues and more. For example, under this bill we would have E-Verify in place so employers could ensure they were not hiring undocumented immigrants. It would have placed severe penalties on employers who willing hired undocumented immigrants. It would have even allowed our enforcement resources to focus on felons trying to come into the country rather than families already here.
There are a whole lot of other things in the bill that would have made immigration reform something that would benefit America. Hell, even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce favored passage of the bill. But no, John Boehner wouldn’t, and still won’t even bring it up for discussion.
All of this is caused by two factors. The first is that John Boehner is too afraid of the wacko based wing in his own party. The other is something called the Hastert Rule. Speaker Dennis Hastert decided that he would only bring up bills to the floor of the House if he had a majority of the majority favoring the bill. It was under his leadership that this “rule” first came into being. Every Republican Speaker since has followed this insanity.
The real purpose of the Hastert Rule is to shield the Speaker from any criticism within his own party. By going along with this idiocy, the Speaker just merely has to say “the majority of my caucus was not in favor of it” to avoid any responsibility for not doing his job. John Boehner has relied on this “rule” since he became Speaker and we have had over four years of gridlock as a result.
It is almost like John Boehner is using this “rule” to justify his lack of leadership. As a result, instead of governing like a Speaker of the House is expected to do, he hides behind a fictitious “rule” to keep his position. As a result, the employees of the Federal Government face fiscal crisis after fiscal crisis. They face government shutdown after government shutdown. The paychecks they depend on to pay their mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and health insurance are all at the mercy of a lousy Speaker of the House.
If everyone really wants this mess to go away, if they want to see the Executive Order on immigration go away, all John Boehner needs to do is dump the Hastert Rule and allow discussion and a vote on the Senate’s Immigration Reform Bill. The coalition that passed the clean DHS funding bill would pass the Immigration Reform Bill. This law would override the President’s Executive Order. In fact, it would have made it unnecessary in the first place.
The only way to truly govern is to build bi-partisan consensus on legislation that will benefit the country. It is not blocking the other party in Congress out and only passing bills that the “majority of the majority” favor. If John Boehner really wants to govern, as he says, he should dump the Hastert Rule and start to govern.
Build consensus on legislation, bring it to the floor for debate, and hold a vote on it. If it passes with amendments, sit down with the Senate and hammer out a compromise to get it passed by both Houses. That is governing. It is also something that seems foreign to John Boehner, so I am not holding my breath for him to act.