His other friends aren't in the picture. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images
His other friends aren't in the picture. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Before we move on from yesterday’s House vote on the debt limit, just one very important point everyone should be clear on.

Yes, this was a “Hastert Rule” violation; that is, the debt ceiling bill was brought to the floor and passed despite winning the votes of only a minority of the majority party. In fact, Republicans voted overwhelmingly against the debt limit increase, which was passed with a coalition of 193 Democrats and only 28 Republicans against 199 Republicans and 2 Democrats.

However.

The reporting on this over the past week made it clear Republicans didn't oppose bringing this bill to the floor. There were hints, such as Michele Bachmann saying that this wasn’t the time to fight, or Tom Cole saying that Boehner was the “only adult in the room” when House Republicans met -- even though both of those members voted no. But the biggest tell is the absence of complaining from most Republicans. As the Washington Post's Robert Costa reported, the conference’s reaction to Boehner’s announcement that he would put a clean debt limit bill up for a vote was neither cheers nor jeers. They just wanted to get it over with, and this was the logical path. As a bonus, they didn’t even have to vote for it.

So by all means, call it a Hastert violation, or say that the majority of Republicans voted against the bill. But don’t say that Speaker John Boehner brought the bill to the floor against the wishes of a majority of the Republican conference. That didn’t happen.

To contact the writer of this article: Jbernstein62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this article: Francis Wilkinson at fwilkinson1@bloomberg.net.