Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert defended the so-called “Hastert Rule” Thursday by arguing that without it, the House speaker is no longer in power. Commenting on House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to introduce the fiscal cliff deal without support from a majority of Republicans — thus breaking the rule — Hastert said on Fox News Radio that Boehner was on a dangerous path toward giving up his powers.
“Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when start making deals, when you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation, you are not in power anymore,” Hastert said. “When you start passing stuff that your members are not in line with, all of a sudden your ability to lead is in jeopardy because somebody else is making decisions. 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 responsibility to govern, and that is the problem.”