Boehner appears to invoke Hastert rule on immigration bill, at least as of 6/18/13

It is unclear as of today whether the immigration bill will see floor debate in the House of Representatives, even as it is being debated this week on the floor of the Senate.  There was a long time when Speaker of the House John Boehner spoke as if he was willing to allow the immigration bill to go to a full floor debate with or without the majority of Republican members supporting it.  For example, Boehner said to George Stephanopoulos on June 11, "I’ve allowed the House to work with… well, more than any speaker inmodern history, to the point where there are some bills that have passed with a majority of Democrats  in favor, and a minority of Republicans...And I’ve been criticized for it.” 

For Boehner to actually do that, to allow bills to come to the floor which did not have majority Republican support would violate the informal "Hastert rule" in the House that the majority leader would not bring a bill to the floor for debate unless the majority of Republicans supports it.  Needless to say, without the bill going to the floor, it cannot even be debated, much less passed and the immigration reform effort would hit the end of the road in the House.

But in the last two days, under pressure from the right wing of his party and the more conservative Republican House members, Bohener appears to have reversed himself, saying now that he WILL abide by the Hastert rule.  On the same day that the CBO came out with a long awaited report saying immigration reform would be an economic boon to the country, the New York Times reported Boehner saying:

“I also suggested to our members today that any immigration reform bill that is going to go into law ought to have a majority of both parties’ support if we’re really serious about making that happen, and so I don’t see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn’t have a majority support of Republicans."

Gregg Sargent believes Boehner is bluffing and that given the intense pressure that will be brought on him by the business community and GOP leaders, he will allow a vote.  He may well be bluffing to try to appease the right wing of his party.  But,  I'm not so sure it's a bluff. Members of the House, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) have said that if Boehner violates the Hastert rule, he's out as Speaker. It may come down to whether Boehner wants to fall on the sword for the long term good of the party.