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Meyer: End of the Hastert Rule Spells Coalition Rule in House

Boehner and his liberal-leaning Republicans have mastered the art of unprovoked retreat. During the fiscal cliff plan, the speaker retreated and offered an $800 billion tax increase before the president even put out a plan. On the Sandy bill, Boehner retreated and passed a pork-filled bill instead of sending a clean bill to the Senate. Now, before even trying to demand cuts, Boehner is retreating and offering to raise the debt ceiling.

And, what can we expect with the continuing resolution or any bill with a looming deadline? More retreating and more coalition votes.

Ironically, the Democratic-controlled Senate might be conservatives’ last, best hope to stop Obama’s agenda.

Twelve incumbent Senate Democrats running in 2014 have already shown vulnerable poll numbers — eight in usually red-leaning states. These eight Democrats face larger electoral problems resulting from agreeing with Obama’s agenda than the liberal-leaning Republicans do in the House.

These same Senators are the reasons Obama hasn’t been able to pass a budget in the Senate or an immigration overhaul or another stimulus. And they’ll be the reason the president can’t pass his gun control proposals. Any of these bills would be toxic votes for these vulnerable Democrats.

At this point, if any bill can pass the Senate, it can likely pass the House (with this new coalition), and conservatives should stop believing we control any branch of government.

The public should stop calling the House “Republican-controlled” and start calling it “coalition-controlled.” While neither party formally lost control of either chamber, the 2012 election seems to have functionally shifted control of the House by persuading Boehner to dump the Hastert rule.

Now, the House GOP won’t be “obstructionists,” but they won’t be conservative either — and the government will march unchecked to $20 trillion in debt.

Ron Meyer is spokesman for American Majority Action.

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