Letter: Reagan, O’Neill knew the way

October 9, 2013 

The drama of a gridlocked government and cheering for one side or another overshadows the far more serious problem of a lack of democratic process that brought the nation down. 

The problem is that of “The Hastert Rule,” though it goes back to the era when Newt Gingrich used the same method to shut down our government for three weeks.

The “rule” is that no bill moves to the House floor for a vote unless it’s supported by a “majority of the majority.”

Thus a majority of 218 can elect the speaker and just 109 out of 435 can block any bill. We now have government by a small minority who can “allow” a vote on their pet policies. Fund the VA? But not the EPA?

With just 109 being able to block any bill and speak as “the will of the House” the other 326 representing 75 percent of us may as well go home. Besides, it’s not the way things were done when President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously compromised their way to good government.

— Jack Keane



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