Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) today introduced a resolution pertaining to the international climate change negotiations.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “While negotiating an international climate change deal, it is important that we hold other countries accountable to the same degree we hold ourselves. The Obama Administration should not give China and India a free pass on emissions, nor should it support any agreement that negatively impacts the U.S. economy. This resolution also emphasizes that negotiators should address intellectual property rights in order to protect American technology that will lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
Chairman Smith: “The president should not bypass Congress and try to negotiate a climate deal on his own that would cost American jobs. The president’s far-reaching proposals would do lasting damage to our nation, all for little to no environmental benefit. Even if fully implemented, the president’s international climate pledge is estimated to prevent only a 0.03⁰ C temperature rise. But we will never reach the president’s arbitrary targets without Americans being subjected to increased electricity costs, energy rationing and reduced economic growth. The United States should not sign any climate deal that will make the government bigger and Americans poorer.”
Chairman Ryan: “This is about fairness and holding other countries to the same standards we set for ourselves. We have to be environmentally conscientious when making policy decisions, but we also need to make sure we’re not hurting our economy by applying unnecessary pressures on families and small businesses. America shouldn’t support any agreement that doesn’t level the playing field and ensure other developed nations play by the same rules.”Read More
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today reintroduced H.R. 1861, the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act. This bill would prohibit the Department of Transportation (DOT) from providing grants to a state or local entity to create motorcycle only checkpoints (MOCs) and ban DOT from manipulating states to enact helmet laws with federal money.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “This bill protects motorcyclists’ rights and promotes crash prevention. Motorcycle only checkpoints profile motorcyclists—using taxpayer money to corral them along the highway and check for infractions that do not cause crashes. Preventing accidents is the best use of taxpayer funds and the most effective way to save motorcyclists’ lives. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.”Read More
On April 15, taxpayers across the country were once again reminded just how convoluted and outdated our tax system is. Congress must act to simplify the federal tax code and protect Americans from excessive rates and unfair collection practices.
An example of our flawed Internal Revenue Code is the federal estate tax, or more commonly referred to as the “death tax.” By imposing up to a 40 percent tax on the transfer of a deceased individual’s assets, the death tax often forces surviving relatives to sell their family business, farm land, or other assets to comply with the federal government.
While portrayed by some as a profitable tax on the wealthiest Americans, studies have shown the tax is a declining source of revenue that hits minority, women, and family-owned businesses and farms the hardest. Wisconsin is one of 30 states that eliminated its state estate tax in recognition of its failures, but Wisconsinites still must comply with federal death tax statutes.
The federal estate tax is duplicative, forcing families to pay additional taxes on assets that have already been taxed for years, and ineffective, providing only 0.6 percent of the federal government's total revenue each year.
Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Nadler (D-NY), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Doug Collins (R-GA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced H.R. 1832, “The Innovation Protection Act.” The legislation would create a revolving fund that will allow the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to retain all of the user-based fees paid by patent and trademark applicants and use the fees to support certain services.
Specifically, the Innovation Protection Act would establish in the Treasury the United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Enterprise Fund to be used as a revolving fund by the Director of the USPTO without fiscal year limitation. The legislation requires to be credited to or deposited in the new Fund: (1) appropriations for defraying the costs of USPTO activities; (2) fees collected under federal patent and trademark laws; and (3) any unobligated balances remaining in the Patent and Trademark Office Appropriation Account and in the Patent and Trademark Fee Reserve Fund. This replaces the Patent and Trademark Office Appropriation Account, eliminates the Patent and Trademark Fee Reserve Fund, and provides a source of permanent funding for the USPTO. The fees the USPTO collects are to remain available to it until expended.
The Public Enterprise Fund would cover: (1) ordinary and reasonable administrative, operating, and other expenses incurred by the Director for the continued operation of USPTO services, programs, activities, and duties relating to patents and trademarks; and (2) expenses incurred pursuant to obligations, representations, or other commitments of the USPTO.
The legislation also requires the Director, on an annual basis, to: (1) report to Congress with operation and spending plans, including financial details and staff levels broken down by each major activity; (2) provide for an independent audit of USPTO financial statements; and (3) submit a budget to the President.
RANKING MEMBER CONYERS (D-MI): “The current funding mechanism for the USPTO has failed the patent system by not preventing the diversion of nearly $150 million in collected user fees in fiscal year 2013 due to the sequester and the estimated $1 billion in fees diverted over the last two decades. In essence, there is a tax on innovation in this country, and this bill would repeal it. The permanent funding mechanism this bill creates is essential to encourage innovation and to ensure that our patent system remains the envy of the world.”
REP. SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): “I have long supported efforts to allow USPTO to use their patent application fees to upgrade the agency’s operational effectiveness and reduce backlogs. This bipartisan bill would improve the operations of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office and prevent the government from using money collected to process patents and copyrights for other purposes.”
REP. NADLER (D-NY): “Many of the challenges currently facing the patent system, especially the need to increase patent quality, could be solved if the USPTO had adequate funding. The Innovation Protection Act would help ensure that the USPTO has the resources it needs by ending fee diversion. I appreciate the leadership of Ranking Member Conyers on this important issue, and I am proud to join him on this legislation.”
REP. FRANKS (R-AZ): “Fueling the engine of genius, industry, entrepreneurship, and innovation is a bipartisan issue. It is the role of Congress to protect this free-market economic engine. I am happy to support Mr. Conyers’ bill, The Innovation Protection Act, which protects inventors, and the current user-fee system, by placing those fees in a separate fund to prevent them from being raided for other purposes. As a patent holder myself, I firmly believe American inventors should get what they pay for - timely and thorough review of their patent applications.”
REP. LOFGREN (D-CA): “The staff at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office helps protect true innovation and cracks down on bad patents that stifle invention and entrepreneurship. But when patent fees are endlessly siphoned away from the agency, the Patent Office can’t effectively examine the flood of applications they receive each year. That’s why this bill is so important – it permanently restores the fees paid by patent applicants to the PTO and helps move our innovation economy forward.”
REP. COLLINS (R-GA): “The role that the Patent and Trademark Office plays in granting and arbitrating the patent rights enshrined in our Constitution cannot be understated. They are stewards of the building blocks of innovation and creativity. I’m pleased to join a bipartisan group of intellectual property leaders and bring a permanent end to fee diversion at the PTO. The fees that inventors pay to the PTO should go back to the office and be used to better serve America’s inventors. Promoting efficiency and quality at the PTO is the responsibility of Congress, and this legislation would go a long way to furthering those goals.”
REP. DEUTCH (D-FL): “If we want a patent system capable of protecting innovators and enforcing higher standards, responding to claims quickly and reducing costly and cumbersome litigation, then what we need is a fully funded and fully functional U.S. Patent and Trademark office. The Innovation Protection Act represents a bipartisan and commonsense effort to begin meeting that need, and I look forward to working with U.S. Reps. John Conyers and Jim Sensenbrenner to advance this legislation in the 114th Congress.”
REP. ROHRABACHER (R-CA): "The shifting of fees from their rightful place at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been nothing short of a scandal, depriving inventors and those who invest in them of a timely and careful examination process. The backlog of patent applications effectively lessens the USA's competitive position in the world. This needs to be fixed. I am happy to co-sponsor this bipartisan effort, which aims to restore American pre-eminence in global innovation. Our creative geniuses have suffered from this bureaucratic dysfunction for too long. Passage of the Innovation Protection Act will signal that Congress is coming to their rescue."
REP. JEFFRIES (D-NY): “The Innovation Protection Act is a good step in the right direction. It will provide much-needed funding and resources the USPTO needs as it continues to grow and provide world-class service to innovators and entrepreneurs across America. It is my hope that this common-sense, bipartisan measure will pass through this Congress and be signed into law as quickly as possible.”
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Click HERE for bill text of H.R. 1832, the Innovation Protection Act of 2015.Read More
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) issued the joint statement below regarding the Justice Department’s response to the House Judiciary Committee regarding misconduct at the Drug Enforcement Administration:
“Although they are late to tackling this problem, we are pleased that officials at the Justice Department share the American people’s concern about instances of misconduct at the Drug Enforcement Administration and are taking steps to address this problem. The Justice Department’s response makes clear that the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility failed to fully investigate the employees who engaged in sex parties funded by drug cartels and as a result, other responsible parties failed to appropriately discipline those involved. In the future, Justice Department employees who purchase sex must be fired. We will not tolerate further episodes of ‘agents gone wild.’
“Tomorrow, several government officials will testify about misbehavior in federal law enforcement, including an official from the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility. We need to understand what broke down in the investigation and why DEA employees were not sufficiently held accountable for their actions. The American people deserve answers from their government about this atrocious behavior and demand change to ensure such lapses in judgment don’t happen again.”
On Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Analyzing Misconduct in Federal Law Enforcement” to examine recent incidents involving misconduct by federal law enforcement agents – most notably at the United States Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration – and analyze the processes in place at the agencies for addressing allegations of misconduct. Witnesses for Wednesday’s hearing are:
• The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General, Department of Justice
• The Honorable John Roth, Inspector General, Department of Homeland Security
• Mr. Herman E. “Chuck” Whaley, Deputy Chief Inspector, Office of Professional Responsibility, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice
• Mr. Mark Hughes, Chief Integrity Officer, United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security
Wednesday’s hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at http://judiciary.house.gov/. Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally-credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.Read More
Since 1990, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) has empowered thousands of Wisconsin families to send their children to the school of their choice—helping enroll students in the institutions that best cater to their individual needs and giving parents the opportunity to choose private schools when they would not otherwise have the means to do so.
In 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) with concerns that the MPCP is not in compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The letter directed the agency to develop new procedures for the program.
I am worried that DOJ is using the ADA to pursue a political agenda against school choice programs. Title II of the ADA only applies to public entities, while Title III of the ADA has different standards that apply specifically to places like private schools. This distinction was made on purpose because Congress wanted to protect the rights of the disabled without closing the doors on private businesses.
As a long-time proponent of the ADA, I am fully aware of its intended purpose. In 2007, I introduced the Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act (ADA) and was proud when President George W. Bush signed the bill into law. Protecting the rights of Americans with disabilities has been, and will remain, a priority of mine in Congress, and I fully support conducting oversight on publicly funded programs to ensure they provide equal opportunity for participants with disabilities.
More than 100 private schools take part in MPCP, and they are no more publicly funded than a gas station that accepts payment from a SNAP recipient. Therefore, I am seriously concerned about the effects of DOJ’s incorrect application of Title II on the viability of the Wisconsin voucher program.
Earlier this month, I wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers about DOJ’s investigation of MPCP and explaining the different ADA compliance standards created by Congress for private and public institutions.
I eagerly await a response that ensures the protection of school choice programs in Wisconsin.
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
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.
IBM Letter of Support for the Judicial Redress Act of 2015:http://t.co/RqXLbAIkk9
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