Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) lashed out a Republican "crazies" in the House of Representatives for using the so-called "Hastert rule" to block a bill responding to the Zika outbreak even though former House Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL), an admitted serial child molester, was serving time in prison.
Reid noted that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had recently blasted Democrats for blocking a bill to fight the Zika outbreak because it restricted Planned Parenthood from providing contraception and other Zika-fighting services to at-risk women.
The Nevada Democrat noted that House Republicans could have passed an acceptable bill if it were not for the Hastert Rule, a policy enacted by former Speaker Hastert that prevents GOP leadership from holding a vote on bills that are not supported by a majority of Republican lawmakers. The rule blocks Democrats from joining with a small number of Republicans to push through bipartisan bills in the House.
"They have what is called the Hastert rule, named after a congressman from Illinois who was the Speaker of the House for a number of years," Reid explained. "They didn't want Democrats to be involved and they're still that way. Even though Hastert's in prison, they still follow the Hastert rule."
Referring to a late night vote last week, Reid said that Republicans had passed a compromised bill to pacify "all the crazies -- I'm sorry to use that term but that's a term that Speaker Boehner used and I think the more I see of this, I think he had it down pretty pat."
"They did everything they could to go after all the pet projects of the Republicans," he insisted. "They hate Planned Parenthood. They hate it. Even though millions of Americans get their care there."
"This Zika -- young women are concerned about birth control and for the majority of young women, this is the only place they have to go," Reid continued. "But what did they do? [Republican leadership] said, 'We're going to restrict funding for birth control provided by Planned Parenthood.'"
"Why would they do that? Only to get votes from the crazies over there."