Jim Sensenbrenner

Jim Sensenbrenner


What Issues Are Most Important to You?


This is a crucial time in America. So much is going on in the world that the 24/7 news cycle can’t even keep up. And as a result of the partisan gridlock plaguing Washington, too few of the problems facing our nation have been adequately addressed. But as the world’s sole superpower and the greatest country in the history of mankind we have a responsibility to rise above the chaos, come together and act. Congress can’t allow important issues to simply fall by the wayside.

As our economy fights to get back on stable ground, millions of Americans are still struggling to find jobs and provide for their family.  Washington must put an end to reckless, out-of-control spending, encourage confidence in our markets and pursue pro-growth policies that foster the advancement of the private sector.  

Congress can begin by reforming our tax code and replacing it with a growth oriented tax system to encourage investments. I support lower marginal rates, investment tax credits to stimulate jobs and a corporate tax structure that prevents US multinationals from sending money abroad to avoid paying higher taxes at home.

We must curtail government spending, starting with irresponsible grant and "stimulus" programs. Government agencies should be put under a microscope to uncover waste, duplication and fraud.

While some government regulations are beneficial, there are far too many that are unnecessary and excessive.  Federal agencies are preventing Wisconsin businesses from hiring. Complying with the myriad of rules and red tape requires time and costs, which negatively impacts companies’ bottom lines and stifles growth.  

Safety nets, such as Social Security and Medicare, were established to protect Americans in their greatest times of need. But they will soon be insolvent without significant reform.

I am profoundly concerned by the government’s abuse of its intelligence gathering authorities. The fact that agencies such as the NSA have been secretly collecting the communication records of American citizens is inexcusable and unlawful. While provisions in the PATRIOT Act have been important in identifying terrorists, bulk collection of millions of innocent Americans’ data goes too far. The USA FREEDOM Act would protect privacy without compromising our national security. It was passed by the House and I hope the Senate works expeditiously to send it to the President’s desk.

It is now abundantly clear that ISIL is far more than a JV-level threat. It is a highly-structured terrorist network that has taken over large areas of Iraq and Syria and holds important cities and border crossings in the region.  Not only has its murderous rampage left a wake of death and destruction that is holding innocent civilians in complete fear, but if it succeeds in creating an Islamic state it will provide a safe haven for terrorists who would be able to launch attacks on Americans and our allies.  ISIL is well-funded and much better equipped with high tech weaponry than Al-Qaeda was 13 years ago. We cannot simply watch from the sidelines.  Therefore, I am pleased that the U.S. has been building a coalition of partners to combat this threat.

The longer we take to destroy ISIL, the more America and its allies are at risk. But, while Iraqi security forces and Syrian opposition are incapable of neutralizing this threat, we must have a defined goal and an end-game to prevent "mission creep" before we put our brave men and women in harm’s way. The President should present Congress with a comprehensive plan that forces ISIL from the cities and villages that it controls and brings its leaders to justice. I cannot support a response that relies on shaky alliances with rebel forces that are fighting the Assad regime and each other for control of Syria.

In the same corner of the world, rockets have been fired into Israeli towns by terrorist organizations hiding in the Gaza Strip and Israel has retaliated to protect its sovereign territory and civilian population. Israel, like every other sovereign country, has a right to defend its territory and citizens from terrorist attacks.  And as our most important ally in the region, we must ensure their confidence in our commitment to them.   

The Ebola crisis has already claimed thousands of lives.  And while the fight against this disease must be led by the countries most affected and international organizations, I am pleased that President Obama has provided American assistance.  Although I am apprehensive about spending taxpayer money on aid to other countries, helping fight the Ebola virus to prevent it from spreading is crucial, as it has already reached America.  We must prevent it from infecting people across our country and across the globe.  

While Obamacare can't be fixed, healthcare in America can be improved. But first, the President’s healthcare law must be repealed so we can create a plan that doesn't hurt patients and health care providers, diminish the quality of care and cause premiums to skyrocket.

The United States is quickly approaching energy independence because of increased oil and natural gas production.  I am hopeful that one day we will no longer be reliant on energy from the Middle East, Venezuela, Nigeria and other countries.  

Wisconsin’s economy directly benefits from fracking because the special sands available in the state are used in the process.  As the US continues to produce natural gas, I will support efforts to increase liquefied natural gas exports to American allies and friends.  Exporting American products increases the number of American jobs, and as the leader of the free world we can confront hostile countries who use their energy reserves to hold America’s allies and friends hostage.  

The President’s weak-kneed response to the influx of illegal immigrants at our southern border is troubling. It is time to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws. We’ve tried amnesty in the past, and it failed because it only encourages further illegal immigration. We must turn off the magnet to enter our country illegally by utilizing the E-verify program and protect our national security by ensuring our borders are not a welcome sign to those who wish us harm.

We can’t let any of these crucial matters, or the many not mentioned here, be lost in the clutter. I would like to know what issues are most important to you and how you feel about them. After all, I am here to represent you and all the residents of the Fifth District of Wisconsin. Please go to my website (www.sensenbrenner.house.gov) or send a letter to my DC office (2449 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515-4905) to share your thoughts.  Read More

Sensenbrenner Sends Letter to DEA, ICE Regarding Asset Forfeiture Program


Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today sent oversight letters to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and to the Acting Director of the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, requesting information on each agency’s participation in the Department of Justice’s asset forfeiture program, specifically their processes for administrative review of property seizures.  The letters request answers to the following questions:

• How many petitions does the DEA/ICE receive for the administrative pardon of property?
• How many petitions for the administrative pardon of property are granted?
• How many petitions does the DEA/ICE receive from individuals (as oppose to business or financial institutions) for the administrative pardon of property?
• How many of the petitions from individuals are granted?
• Please describe the methodology and procedures used by DEA/ICE to adjudicate civil forfeitures.
• Allowing attorneys for DEA/ICE to adjudicate the conduct of its own agents to determine whether money should flow directly to the coffers of DEA/ICE would seem to present inherent conflicts of interests.  DEA/ICE leadership will have an interest in seeing the petitions denied because it increases their budget.  Meanwhile, agents will see denials as a condemnation of their conduct in the field.  Given these inherent conflicts, what procedures and protections exist to ensure fair adjudications of the claims and to protect against conflicts of interests? 
Read More

Sensenbrenner Urges CDC to Focus on Core Priorities


In November, 2013 Congressman Sensenbrenner, along with 11 of his House colleagues including Congressmen Duffy, Petri and Ribble, sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encouraging it to focus on critical issues like disease outbreaks.  The CDC had recently launched a campaign to pressure states to adopt motorcycle helmet laws.  The CDC has also spent money to study seatbelt use, bike lanes and farmer’s markets.  

In response, the CDC equated motorcycle safety with its other priorities, writing, “CDC approaches motorcycle safety in the same manner as other public health issues, such as heart disease, cancer, and asthma.”  

Congressman Sensenbrenner:  “In times of crisis, we see how the cost of mission creep and government expansion can be measured in lives as well as money.  Last year, I urged the CDC to focus on its core priorities instead of ancillary issues like seatbelt use, motorcycle safety, bike lanes and farmer’s markets.

“The CDC has just now released protocols for healthcare workers to minimize the risk of infection from communicable diseases.  This should have been done years ago—before two healthcare workers were infected with Ebola.  It is past time for the CDC to prioritize its mission and spending.” Read More

Sensenbrenner’s Application Deadline for Service Academy Nominations Is October 15


Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Menomonee Falls) reminds those who are interested in attending the United States Naval, Military, Air Force, or Merchant Marine Academies that his nomination application deadline is October 15, 2014. 

Eligible individuals must be legal U.S. citizens; live within Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District; and be at least 17 years old, but not past their 23rd birthday as of July 1, 2015.  Once the deadline has passed, a member of the Congressman’s Academy Selection Committee will interview the applicant, and make nomination recommendations to the Congressman based on the applicant’s ability to meet the academic and physical standards set by the Academies.

“I will accept applications for a nomination to the U.S. Service Academies through close of business on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.  Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted,” said Sensenbrenner.  “I encourage students to contact the Academies they are interested in to open a candidate file, and then follow up with my office in Brookfield to make me aware of their interest in a nomination.”

Information about the nomination process can be obtained by contacting Congressman Sensenbrenner’s District Office at 120 Bishops Way, Room 154, Brookfield, WI 53005, or by phone at (262) 784-1111.

Read More

Sensenbrenner Introduces the ATF Elimination Act


Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today introduced the ATF Elimination Act, which would dissolve the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and merge its exclusive duties into existing federal agencies. The legislation also calls for an immediate hiring freeze at the ATF and requires the Department of Justice (DOJ) to (1) eliminate and reduce duplicative functions and waste to the maximum extent possible, and (2) report to Congress with a detailed plan on how the transition will take place.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Washington should be responsible stewards of the American taxpayers’ money. While all too often that is not the case, this is a good government bill to streamline agency activity at DOJ—increasing effectiveness while decreasing cost. The ATF is a largely duplicative, scandal ridden agency that lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges and a lack of leadership. For decades it has been branded by high profile failures. There is also significant overlap with other agencies. At a time when we are approaching $18 trillion in debt, waste and redundancy within our federal agencies must be addressed. Without a doubt, we can fulfill the role of the ATF more efficiently.”

The ATF Elimination Act would transfer enforcement of firearms, explosives and arson laws to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products would be transferred to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). No later than 180 days after enactment, the DEA and FBI must submit to the Congress a plan for winding up the affairs of the ATF. Field offices and other buildings/assets of the ATF will be transferred to the FBI and it will have one year to report excess property to the General Services Administration (GSA).

Read More

Senate should pass the USA Freedom Act


Before Members of Congress leave town to do battle in this fall’s election, the Senate should pass the USA Freedom Act.  This bill would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (or FISA) to end one of the NSA’s most controversial intelligence collection programs: the dragnet collection of U.S. citizens’ phone call records.

The House passed a version of this bill last May.  But privacy advocates, who initially championed the bill, withdrew their support after amendments that undermined the bill’s privacy safeguards were added before passage.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill. His bill beefs up the privacy protections by ensuring that data collection is targeted.  Unlike the House bill, which would allow the government to collect records by broad categories that could return large swaths of data unrelated to the target of an investigation, the Leahy bill would limit the government’s queries of data to “specific selection terms.”

The Leahy bill has bipartisan support in the Senate and the backing of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who sponsored the bill in the House.  Sensenbrenner’s support is significant.  He has a long history of backing expansive intelligence collection authorities and was the principal architect of the PATRIOT Act, which included the “business records” provision that the government relies on for the bulk collection program.

As was reported last year, the government uses the bulk collection program to develop “contact chains” in an effort to discover associations and communications between known and suspected terrorists.  Until recently, the government had argued that it needed all call records in order to determine which ones were useful.  But a program that amasses this information about everyone, including law-abiding citizens, also creates significant privacy risks.

Although metadata do not reveal the contents of communications, when aggregated and mined with sophisticated algorithms, they can expose sensitive information about our social, political, and religious associations and activities.  Call patterns, for instance, can reveal intimate relationships, medical and psychiatric help that someone seeks, the identity of whistleblowers, and more.

The administration eventually acknowledged that the bulk collection program creates privacy risks.  And it has conceded that the Intelligence Community could achieve its objectives through a less intrusive program.  In a speech at the Department of Justice last January, the President announced that the administration would end the program and would seek alternative intelligence collection methods.

President Obama can change how his administration operates this program, but only Congress can change the law.  If Congress does not act, a future administration could seek to use FISA to collect not just bulk phone records, but also other kinds of digital “metadata,” such as location information that our phones transmit and other types of transactional records.

The data that will be potentially available to the government is staggering.  According to the International Data Corporation, the amount of digital information that people generate doubles every two years, with 7.9 zettabytes – an amount equal to 18 million times the amount of information in the Library of Congress – expected by 2015.  What’s more, we are at the dawn of the “Internet of Things,” a new era of connectivity where appliances in our homes and offices, our cars, medical and fitness devices we use, and even our clothing will be equipped with sensors and connected to the Internet.

As data storage capacity increases and analytical tools improve, the government will be tempted to collect and analyze more data in the hopes of discovering new ways to predict threats to our national security.  But just because the government has the technical capability to collect and analyze unprecedented amounts of personal information does not mean it should.  We must be vigilant in protecting national security, but we also must ensure that our government’s use of new technological tools does not erode the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.  

The Leahy bill will ensure that our government’s surveillance efforts are targeted and effective.  The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence made that clear earlier this month when they voiced support for the bill, calling it a “reasonable compromise” and stating that it “preserves essential Intelligence Community capabilities.”  Privacy advocates, too, strongly support the bill, as do technology companies.

All of the relevant stakeholders are at the table.  They are in full agreement that the Leahy bill strikes the right balance in protecting national security and civil liberties.  It is time for the Senate to act.

View online, here. Read More

NFIB Press Release: U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Honored as Guardian of Small Business


The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business association, today named U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5) a Guardian of Small Business for his outstanding voting record on behalf of America’s small-business owners in the 113th Congress.

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised Rep. Sensenbrenner for “standing up for small business.” In presenting the group’s coveted Guardian of Small Business Award, Danner said, “Small-business owners are very politically active – paying close attention to how their lawmakers vote on key business issues and stand by those who stand for them.”

“The record shows that Rep. Sensenbrenner is a true champion of small business, supporting the votes that matter in the 113th Congress,” said Danner. “This award reflects our members’ appreciation for supporting the NFIB pro-growth agenda for small business.”

NFIB’s “How Congress Voted,” which serves as a report card for members of Congress, was also unveiled this week. The report presents key small-business votes and voting percentages for each lawmaker. Those voting favorably on key small-business issues at least 70 percent of the time during the 113th Congress are eligible for the Guardian award.

In all, NFIB will present Guardian awards to 232 Representatives who stood up for small business.
Read More

Top GOPer says it's time to dissolve ATF


A top Republican House member on Wednesday proposed eliminating the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, writing a bill that would freeze all hiring at the troubled agency and require the Justice Department to come up with a plan for transferring its duties to other agencies.

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the bill, called it both a chance to streamline government and to clean up an agency that’s been criticized from the right and the left for botched gun-running operations.

“The ATF is a largely duplicative, scandal ridden agency that lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges and a lack of leadership,” said Mr. Sensenbrenner, who is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

ATF came under heat for the Fast & Furious operation that saw agents knowingly let guns get into the hands of cartels who trafficked them across the border into Mexico, where they were used in a number of crimes. Weapons from the operation also turned up at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed.

Congress is still investigating that operation, as well as another ATF sting operation that used storefronts to try to catch gun traffickers — but which ended up losing weapons and targeting mentally challenged individuals for prosecutions.

Mr. Sensenbrenner’s ATF Elimination Act would transfer firearms enforcement to the FBI, and send alcohol and tobacco duties to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

View online, here. Read More

Sensenbrenner Urges Senate to Pass the USA FREEDOM Act


Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) sent the following letter to Senators Reid and McConnell today, urging them to move the USA FREEDOM Act:

Dear Senators Reid and McConnell,

As you know, Senator Leahy and I introduced the USA FREEDOM Act to reform the National Security Agency and strengthen Congressional oversight of the intelligence community.  These reforms are a necessary response to NSA overreach and the unnecessary intrusion into the lives of innocent Americans.

While Senator Leahy and I both hold sacred the personal liberties afforded by the Constitution, neither of us are naïve to the threats we face as a nation.  In my view, drafting and negotiating the FREEDOM Act has been less about balancing freedom and security than about recognizing that neither freedom nor security should be compromised.  The FREEDOM Act is a legislative solution that recognizes this truth.

That we succeeded is evident from the bill’s supporters.  The FREEDOM Act is backed by liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.  More importantly, it has the support of both the intelligence community and the country’s staunchest privacy advocates.  In a letter to Senator Leahy, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder wrote, “the Intelligence Community believes that [the FREEDOM Act] preserves essential Intelligence Community capabilities; and the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence support your bill and believe that it is a reasonable compromise that enhances privacy and civil liberties and increases transparency.” 

Senator Leahy’s most recent draft, which I fully endorse, has the support of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and countless other privacy advocates and technology companies. 

This coming together of the intelligence community and privacy advocates is historic.

It would be a critical mistake not to take advantage of this coalition.  Without Congressional action, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act will sunset next June.  Many privacy advocates believe they will have increased leverage next year as the sunset approaches.  Some of their proposed reforms, however, are redlines for the Administration.  As a result, there is no guarantee that the coalition we built can be rebuilt.  The cost could be losing privacy protections, improved transparency, and important intelligence gathering tools.  

The House has already passed the USA FREEDOM Act.  I urge the Senate to follow suit.  It is past time to secure the Constitutional rights of American citizens and restore the country’s faith in its intelligence community. 

Read More

Sensenbrenner's Reaction to Obama's ISIS Plan


Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) had the following response to President Barack Obama’s speech on ISIS:

“It is now abundantly clear that ISIS is far more than part of a JV-level threat. It is a highly-structured and well-funded terrorist network that threatens everything we value. President Obama’s weak-kneed response has allowed ISIS to wreak havoc across the Middle East, rapidly expanding across the region. I agree that we must carefully consider our available options, but as the world’s super power equipped with the strongest military in the world, we cannot lead from behind. The world is watching.  

“The longer we take to destroy ISIS, the more America and its allies are at risk. Iraqi security forces and Syrian opposition are incapable of neutralizing this threat. A Joint Session of Congress is necessary so we can have a vigorous debate on how to ensure ISIS is annihilated. Not only must we address the danger it poses in the Middle East, but also vulnerabilities at home. ISIS is well-armed with sophisticated weapons—much more so than Al Qaeda 13 years ago. Unless President Obama changes course, our porous borders provide ISIS the opportunity to infiltrate our country. I was glad to see the President finally commit to defeating ISIS, but I am afraid his plan doesn’t go far enough. We must do everything in our power to protect Americans.”
Read More

Please check back for future meetings


Loading legislation ... one moment please
Loading votes ... one moment please

Contact Information

2449 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5101
Fax 202-225-3190

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.

Serving With

Paul Ryan


Thomas Petri


Sean Duffy


Reid Ribble


Recent Videos