The House of Representatives approved a $50 billion disaster relief package Tuesday evening for states hit by Hurricane Sandy. The measure passed despite considerable opposition from Republicans, who voted 179-49 against the bill. Every Democrat except one — Blue Dog Representative Jim Cooper (D., Tenn.) — voted in favor.
Final passage of the bill was preceded by a 228-192 vote on an amendment offered by Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen (R., N.J.), which tacked on an additional $33 billion to an initial aid package of $17 billion. Only 38 Republicans voted yes.
The vote had many conservative observers, such as Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller, wondering what had become of the so-called “Hastert Rule.” Named for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R., Ill.) the rule was designed to prevent passage of legislation that was not supported by a majority of the majority party in the lower chamber.
“I’m confused. If a majority of GOPers opposed the relief bill, and GOP controls the house, then why did it just pass?” Keller wrote on Twitter.
House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) famously broke the “Hastert Rule” two weeks ago by allowing a vote on the fiscal-cliff package negotiated by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), which passed even though a majority of House Republicans voted against it.