Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) today reintroduced legislation to amend the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to establish a United States Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs. Currently, 20 government agencies are handling Arctic policy. Under this legislation, an Ambassador would be charged with all coordination and serve as Chair of the Arctic Council when the U.S. assumes Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in April.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “An ambassador-level position is necessary to show the U.S. is serious about being an Arctic nation. Russia continues to make claims and China is increasing its Arctic presence. The U.S. should coordinate its Arctic policy to protect our commercial interests and domestic energy supply at the highest level.”
Congressman Larsen: “Our country faces a steep opportunity curve when it comes to the Arctic as we prepare to take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. We have a lot of work ahead of us, from protecting the unique Arctic environment and the people and animals who live there, to improving our emergency response ability when ships get into trouble. Coordinating the many federal stakeholders working on Arctic issues is imperative to our success as an Arctic nation. That is why I support an ambassador-level position to better manage our many interests in the Arctic and to signal our country’s commitment to international cooperation on Arctic policy.”
The GAO reported last year that the U.S. needs a better strategy to coordinate and prioritize its policies related to the Arctic region.Read More
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today sent the following letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Justice Department’s (DOJ) application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its potential impact on Wisconsin’s school voucher program, which the Congressman strongly supports:
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I am writing on a matter of great concern to me. On April 9, 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote to direct the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to develop new procedures to ensure the Milwaukee Parent Choice Program (MPCP) is in compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In its letter, the DOJ said "[b]ecause the school choice program is a public program funded and administered by the State, the State’s administration of the program is subject to the requirements of Title II.”
I agree that the State must abide by Title II regulations, but Congress clearly did not intend for private schools to be bound by Title II obligations. Congress devised a careful structure in the ADA, outlining five different areas in which persons with disabilities have legal rights and assigning unique requirements to each area. Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Title III of the ADA prohibits places of public accommodations, such as private schools, from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. In applying this, the DOJ’s own technical compliance manual states that “[p]ublic entities are not subject to title III of the ADA, which covers only private entities” and “[c]onversely, private entities are not subject to title II.” The key difference at issue is the standard set for compliance under Title II and Title III. The MPCP should have no effect on the careful balance Congress crafted.
While the program is publically funded, the individual schools participating in MPCP are no more publically funded than a gas station accepting money from a SNAP recipient. Indeed, in 1990, in its analysis of the Milwaukee choice program, the Department of Education determined that federal disability laws do not apply to “placements in private schools resulting from parents’ decisions to participate in the Choice Program.”
The effect of the argument in your April 9th letter would be to regulate private schools under Title II of the ADA. I have spent my career committed to helping those with disabilities, but Congress did not create differing compliance standards by happenstance. The intent of the law is plainly clear, and this fact has been repeated by the Department of Education and the courts on several occasions. I ask that DOJ remain mindful of this fact during its federal investigation of MPCP. I am worried about the incorrect application of Title II ADA standards and the effect this will have on the viability of private school voucher programs.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.Read More
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) today reintroduced the Public Access to Public Science (PAPS) Act. This legislation would ensure public access to published materials concerning scientific research and development activities funded by federal science agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Weather Service (NWS). An embargo period is included to help balance publishers’ needs with public access goals. PAPS builds on efforts by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner: “It is past time to embrace a public access policy for scientific research. The federal government spends over $100 billion annually on research and development. This bill would ensure Americans have access to the results of their investment. Public access will help prevent duplicative research, foster innovation, increase scientific breakthroughs and keep America on the cutting edge of science and technology.”
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson: “I want to thank Mr. Sensenbrenner for his continued leadership on this issue. I am delighted to join him once again in introducing this legislation. Public access is an important topic across the scientific enterprise, and for budding scientists, start-up companies, garage inventors, and families everywhere. Increased access and increased use of technology to enable and promote discovery across the corpus of scientific literature will advance the frontiers of science, medicine, and innovation across all sectors of our economy. In 2009 and 2010, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee took a leadership role on public access, launching an open process that culminated in the 2013 OSTP guidance to all federal research agencies to develop public access plans. I am pleased that many agencies have since published such plans and I encourage those agencies who have not yet done so to accelerate their processes. In codifying OSTP’s balanced guidance with this legislation, we are institutionalizing the framework for public access while ensuring that stakeholders continue to have input as agencies implement and update their policies. But as with any introduced bill, this remains a work in progress. I look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Sensenbrenner and with all interested parties as we move forward.”Read More
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) today introduced the Judicial Redress Act of 2015, which:
• Extends citizens of major U.S. allies the core benefits that Americans enjoy under the Privacy Act with regard to information shared with the United States for law enforcement purposes.
• Serves as an important show of support for our allies and is critical to ensure continued sharing of information that is crucial to law enforcement efforts and to national security.
• Has the support of the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement agencies and key European politicians.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The fight against terror spans the globe. Coordinating our efforts with friendly nations is vital to our national security and the security of our European allies. Extending certain rights to their citizens will also help foster a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship for American and European businesses. In short, this legislation will bolster our intelligence gathering capabilities and protect civil liberties at home and abroad.”
Congressman Conyers: “For more than a decade, our allies in Europe have worked with federal law enforcement to ensure that our recordkeeping is both accurate and complete. In support of that vital relationship, this legislation offers our allies a limited set of privacy protections. This bill is a measure of basic fairness—our friends abroad should have some course of redress with respect to information that they provided to the U.S. government in the first place. The Obama Administration fully backs this proposal, and I look forward to its speedy passage.”Read More
2449 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., (Jim), represents the Fifth Congressional District of Wisconsin. The Fifth District includes parts of Milwaukee, Dodge and Waukesha counties, and all of Washington and Jefferson counties.
Jim was born in Chicago and later moved to Wisconsin with his family. He graduated from the Milwaukee Country Day School and did his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where he majored in political science. He then earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968.
After serving ten years in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Jim ran for a U.S. House seat and was elected in November, 1978. He has been reelected since 1980.
Jim’s current committee assignments include serving on the Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on the Judiciary. Congressman Sensenbrenner is Chairman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Oversight Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and Internet, and the Subcommittees on Environment and Oversight.
He is the former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and as a long-serving committee member, Jim has established a strong record on crime, intellectual property and constitutional issues. Previously, Jim also served as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, where he solidified his reputation as an independent leader on science issues, as well as oversight.
Throughout his public life, Jim has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve the sanctity of life, eliminate wasteful government spending and protect the interests of American taxpayers. He has regularly been cited by the National Taxpayers Union as one of the most fiscally responsible House Members and is well known for completing his financial disclosure forms down to the penny.
Jim is proud of his many legislative achievements that have helped improve the lives of many during his tenure in Congress.
In 1977, Jim married Cheryl Warren of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a staunch advocate for the rights of the disabled. They have two adult children, Frank and Bob. In his free time, Jim enjoys watching the Packers and reading.
"The resignation of Director Jones is further proof that the ATF should be eliminated." http://t.co/5kiV7PEVB4
Sensenbrenner to Holder: Don’t Use the ADA to Take Down WI’s School Voucher Program http://t.co/tEViqEBfKf
Sensenbrenner Reintroduces Legislation to Improve Access to Complex Rehabilitation Technology for Medicare Patients http://t.co/0c1630uTOG