J. Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, joined Dickstein Shapiro in 2008 as a member of the firm’s Public Policy & Law Practice. Speaker Hastert served from January 6, 1999 until January 3, 2007 and was the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history. He was elected to the House in 1987 and served Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.
AREAS OF CONCENTRATION
During his 20 years in the House, Speaker Hastert focused his efforts on lowering taxes, improving education, strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and fortifying national defense efforts. He championed legislation to balance the federal budget, cut taxes and government waste, and clean up the environment. He also passed legislation to reduce government regulations in areas such as trucking and telecommunications in order to increase competition and consumer choice. His efforts also included energy development, telecommunications reform, and health care reform, which resulted in the development and implementation of Health Savings Accounts.
During his tenure as Speaker of the House, Speaker Hastert was instrumental in passing post-September 11th antiterrorism legislation and historical legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security—the most significant restructuring of federal government in the past 50 years.
Prior to his election as speaker, Speaker Hastert served as chief deputy majority whip in the 104th Congress and was responsible for advancing commonsense legislation to the House floor by working with members to develop achievable policy strategies, lining up support, and counting Republican and Democratic votes to ensure passage. He also served as chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice. He chaired the Speaker’s Steering Committee on Health and the Resource Group on Health. Additionally, he helped author the health care reform bill, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 to expand coverage to the uninsured, and chaired the House Working Group on Health Care Quality, which ultimately authored the Patient Protection Act. That legislation, which passed the House on July 24, 1998, expanded Americans’ choices and access to affordable, high-quality health care.
Prior to his time in Congress, Speaker Hastert served three terms in the Illinois General Assembly, where he spearheaded legislation on child abuse prevention, property tax reform, education excellence, and economic development. While there, he also led an effort that resulted in the adoption of a new public utilities act, reforming the law to benefit Illinoisans.