Q&A: What is the Hastert Rule?

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If you're wondering something, you're probably not alone. Each day we answer questions about Congress, the legislative process, and government in general. Submit your question(s), and look out for the answers in future Q&A posts!


What is the Hastert Rule?

The Hastert Rule isn't really a rule, well in terms of it being ironclad and codified in legislative procedure. The Hastert Rule is an informal governing guideline that says the Speaker should only send bills to the floor if a "majority of the majority" supports the legislation. The Speaker does not always adhere to this rule, but it is a normal practice in the House.

The rule is named for former Speaker Dennis Hastert who coined the practice in the mid-1990s. Hastert himself denied the existence of a spoken rule, saying it was more about valuing and understanding the will of your caucus.