House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to bring the Senate-negotiated fiscal cliff tax deal to the floor for a vote, despite much of his party’s opposition to it, could make it harder to lead, said former speaker Dennis Hastert.
Allowing the Senate to negotiate the tax deal, as well as declaring on Thursday that he’d no longer participate in one-on-one negotiations with President Barack Obama, mean that Boehner actually isn’t leading anyway, Hastert added in an interview with Fox News Radio.
Hastert created the philosophical rule that any legislation brought up for a vote should be supported by a majority of the majority.
The reason, he said, is because if the majority party is making the decision, and the Speaker of the House is not hewing to their collective opinion, the speaker is no longer leading his caucus, Politico reports
“When you start passing stuff that your members aren’t in line with, all of a sudden your ability to lead is in jeopardy,” Hastert said. “Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when you start cutting deals where you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation, you’re not in power anymore.”
The final version of the tax deal which passed the House on New Year’s Day was negotiated by Sen. Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden, and passed by the Senate first.
Boehner’s announcement Thursday that he would look to forego future one-on-one negotiations with Obama only gives up more power, Hastert said.
“Somebody else is making decisions," he said. "The President is making decisions, [House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi] is making decisions, or they are making the decisions in the Senate. All tax bills and all spending bills, under the Constitution, start in the House. When you give up that responsibility you really give up your ability to govern, and that is the problem.”
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