House violates GOP’s ‘Hastert Rule’ again with land purchase bill

Republicans split 101-122 on the bill, and every Democrat voted for it.

The vote is the latest example of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) willingness to abandon the so-called “Hastert Rule,” the principle that leadership only brings up legislation that is supported by a majority of the majority.

Last month, some House Republicans said they would vote against bills that are opposed by most Republicans.

{mosads}The American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act, H.R. 1033, reauthorizes and expands a program under which the federal government provides grants to states to buy and preserve battlefield sites. The bill would also expand the program to include Revolutionary War and War of 1812 sites.

Earlier in the day, Heritage Action said reauthorizing the bill would mean $46 million in new spending on land acquisition, at a time when National Park Service officials have said the sequester will lead to hiring freezes and the closure of existing facilities.

“Adding more land into the system — be it at the federal, state or local level — in the current budgetary environment is irresponsible,” Heritage Action wrote. Heritage Action is the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation.

During brief debate on the bill, no member rose to speak against it.

The House also approved H.R. 254, the Bonneville Unit Clean Hydropower Facilitation Act, in a 400-4 vote. This bill would lift a restriction that both parties agree prevents the development of hydropower at a facility in Utah.

Under current law, hydropower developers would have to pay the federal government more than $100 million for the right to develop operations at the Diamond Fork System of the Central Utah Project. The bill ends that rule, which members say makes it too expensive for private developers to use that system.

— This story was updated at 8:01 p.m. and again at 8:23 p.m.

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