Hastert rule threatens immigration revamp

May 23, 2006 at 10:52 AM

WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- A policy by U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., jeopardizes bipartisan efforts to pass an immigration reform law, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Under the policy instituted in 2003, the GOP House leader requires a "majority of the majority" to support a bill before calling it for a floor vote. That means Hastert will not allow a vote by the 435-member House of on legislation unless a majority of the 231 House Republicans support it.

Hastert has imposed the policy numerous times previously and "intends to do so with any immigration bill that comes out of (a House-Senate) conference" committee possibly this summer, spokesman Ron Bonjean told the newspaper.

One unidentified GOP senator called the policy "a death-blow standard."

"On occasion, a particular issue might excite a majority made up mostly of the minority," Hastert said. "The job of speaker is not to expedite legislation that runs counter to the wishes of the majority of his majority."

The policy could affect immigration-reform efforts, sources told the newspaper.

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