The $50 billion dollar Sandy aid package which passed the House late yesterday didn’t just split Republicans, it divided the House Republican leadership. Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy voted for the bill. Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers voted against it.
The Sandy vote marks the second time Speaker John Boehner has broken his self-imposed “Boehner rule.” Modeled on the Hastert Rule, it says the Speaker will not bring any bill to the floor for a vote that does not have the support of his conference, a majority of the majority. The Sandy bill passed 241 to 180, with just 49 Republicans–less than 20 percent of the conference–joining 192 Democrats to vote in favor. 31 of the 49 Republicans who supported the aid package were either from the East Coast or from disaster-prone states in the Gulf.
The last time Boehner passed a bill with a majority of Democratic votes was on New Year’s Day, when he allowed a vote to avert the fiscal cliff. That vote also divided Republican leaders: Boehner and Ryan voted for the deal, breaking with Cantor and McCarthy, who voted against it.