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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 12:20 PM

House GOP sends clear message with Hurricane Sandy vote: They're ready to cave on debt limit

This sort of thing isn't supposed to happen when Republicans control the house. Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a longstanding informal rule that no legislation will come up for a vote unless a majority of Republicans support it. That rule—dubbed the Hastert Rule after former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert—is supposed to prevent outcomes like the one last night, where a united Democratic Party teams up with a divided GOP to pass legislation overwhelmingly opposed by Republicans.

But last night they ignored the rule—and it was the second time they ignored it this year. The first time was on New Year's Day, when 85 Republicans joined 172 Democrats in passing the tax cliff deal despite opposition from 151 Republicans.

Until 2013, the Hastert Rule had only been broken once before under John Boehner's speakership, ...........

Now, however, Republicans have done it twice—and they've done it twice in two weeks. Not only that, but yesterday the fifth-ranking House Republican refused to rule out doing it again with the debt limit.


This new found ability to work with the Democratic party might just help the GOP's image.

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