Jeb Hensarling

Jeb Hensarling


Hensarling: We Must Use All Available Measures to Stop President’s Executive Overreach


WASHINGTON – Due to a family emergency, U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was forced to return to Texas unexpectedly and was therefore unable to vote yesterday.  The chairman released the following statement on the FY 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act: “While this bill included some positive measures, I had serious concerns with this legislation overall – notably that it did not include a definitive roadmap for stopping the President’s executive action on immigration now.  “The American people strongly oppose President Obama’s lawless, unconstitutional, and arrogant executive action on immigration, and this bill did not address it beyond pushing the fight into next year.  However, since the legislation has passed, what matters now is the fight before us in February when the funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires.  The bottom line is Congress can and must seize the opportunity when Senator Harry Reid no longer runs the U.S. Senate to use the power of the purse to stop the president from implementing his plan. “For the sake of our nation, our Constitution, and the rule of law, we must all available measures to stop the president’s executive overreach, whether that means passing legislation that would change the law, using the power of the purse to put in place spending limitations, directing the House of Representatives to file a lawsuit in an Article III court, or any other viable means granted by the Constitution.”   ###   Read More

Wall Street Journal: K Street’s Biggest Opponent


Texas gave America the Lone Ranger, and then—because it is a generous sort of place—in 2002 it gave the country an updated version of him: Rep. Jeb Hensarling. The Republican has spent a decade riding herd on cronyists who give capitalism a bad name by giving or taking special government favors. With the coming dawn of a Republican Congress, we’re about to see if the rest of the GOP sees the wisdom of joining Mr. Hensarling’s posse. Washington’s Lone Ranger was at it again this week in the fight over reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program, a “temporary” program created in 2002 that requires taxpayers to absorb the costs of insurance payouts after an attack. Mr. Hensarling earlier this year set his sights on the program and methodically elevated the subject of its industry payoffs into a Washington hot topic, causing one unnamed industry lobbyist in October to gripe about the reauthorization delay: “If Jeb Hensarling were not in Congress, a bill would have passed with enormous support.” The Texan didn’t get all the reforms he wanted in the reauthorization bill that did pass this week, but he got some. And he made his point. The episode was classic Hensarling. The congressman stepped down from the House leadership after the 2012 election to become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, where he could be at the center of restoring what he calls the “bedrock” GOP principle of “free enterprise.” From that perch, Mr. Hensarling has doggedly worked to dismantle crony government programs that reward the well-connected business elite. While his efforts have rarely resulted in total victory, they have created flash points and forced his fellow conservatives to publicly justify their mercantilist tendencies. Take his longtime fight to eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed housing giants that were central to the 2008 crash. Mr. Hensarling has yet to get a House vote on his proposal, though this focus has helped put uncomfortable attention on those pushing only watered-down reform. Earlier this year, he led a battle against plans to roll back reforms to the federal flood-insurance program. The House passed that atrocity, but only after former Majority Leader Eric Cantor (to great outrage) did the insurance lobby’s bidding and bypassed Mr. Hensarling on the way to a vote. This fall he provoked a debate over reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which exists to provide cheap financing for select industry players. The bank was set to die; all the GOP had to do was nothing. The House instead caved and threw Ex-Im reauthorization into a September funding bill, though Mr. Hensarling was able to limit its extension to June—when he intends to have that fight all over again. Such fights in the next Congress will be even more worth watching. Corporate America invested heavily this midterm in getting a Republican Senate, in part because it wants nothing more than to get back to the good old Tom DeLay days of mutual GOP-Fortune 500 back scratching. The K-Street lobbyists are about to put enormous pressure on Republicans. Lobbyists will line up three deep outside the offices of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, demanding that the leadership ignore Hensarling-style reforms. Which gets to the other reason the Hensarling battle over free markets is about to matter more: All eyes are now on the GOP. Republicans are happy to criticize obvious (and Obama -backed) recipients of government largess: the Solyndras of the world. Yet few have been willing to shut down larger programs that pay off entire industries and send dollars back to their state businesses. This is why many voters see the GOP as the party of the “rich and powerful” and Democrats get traction with their populist catchphrases. In a May speech to the Heritage Foundation, Mr. Hensarling noted that the world of earmarks, subsidies and tax preferences has caused “many to view success with suspicion. That in turn makes it easier for liberals to mislead with calls for bigger government to ensure ‘fairness.’ ” Conservatives, he said, have ceded that word to the left, when they should be talking about how “everyone must be bound by the same rules.” This ought to be the Republican rejoinder to the Elizabeth Warrens of Congress, who like to complain that Washington is rigged on behalf of billionaires and giant companies. It absolutely is. But Democrats are the ones who are champions of big government, which exists to reward the politically connected, and to hide those rewards within legislation and backroom bureaucratic payoffs. The left isn’t concerned so much about government payoffs as it is about controlling who gets them. The GOP has a yawning opening to make this case, and position itself as the party that truly represents Main Street. Yet to do that, they’ll have to rediscover some principles. A lot of Republicans have used the excuse of a bottlenecked Democratic Senate as a reason not to follow Mr. Hensarling in his rides to kill off the likes of Fannie, Ex-Im or TRIA. They have no such excuse now.   ### To view online at the Wall Street Journal, click here. Read More

Hensarling Statement on the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act


WASHINGTON – Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act (H.R. 5759): “The president’s planned executive action on immigration is lawless, unconstitutional, and arrogant. Not only will the president’s plan create the underpinnings of a constitutional crisis, it potentially sets the stage for another immigration crisis like we saw this past summer.  By announcing this executive action, the president has done nothing more than double down on his existing failed policy and make our broken immigration system worse. “I supported the action taken by the House today to explicitly prohibit the president from using executive action to exempt broad categories of illegal aliens from prosecution and deportation in contravention of our existing immigration laws, as well as clearly deny the president the authority to give those illegal aliens authorization to work in the United States.  This bill is a first step in addressing this overreaching power grab, and I am confident that it will  not be the last.  In addition to future actions I expect the House of Representatives to take on this issue, another step in the fight is the lawsuit filed yesterday by Texas – under the leadership of Governor-elect Greg Abbott – and 16 other states. “The American people strongly oppose President Obama’s unconstitutional overreach, and leaders at the state and federal level are committed to fighting for them to uphold the Constitution and defend the rule of law.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling: Tax Extender Bill Highlights Need for Fundamental Tax Reform


WASHINGTON – Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act (H.R. 5771): “Our nation’s tax code is hopelessly broken and in dire need of fundamental reform.  Case in point is the need to pass this so-called ‘tax extenders’ legislation which keeps certain provisions of the tax code in place for 2014 so American families and businesses have some degree of certainty for the year.  This band-aid approach has also created ‘must pass’ legislation that has been used as a vehicle for Washington to pick winners and losers by spending taxpayer money to subsidize favored activities, much of it at the behest of special or narrow interests – some of which are simply another example of the Washington insider economy that is unfortunately too prevalent in America today.     “The bill before us today is also a manifestation of the dysfunction in Washington and the president and Senate Democrats’ unwillingness to work with House Republicans to move us away from the existing broken tax system and the final list of provisions are a byproduct of last minute political brinksmanship by the White House.  “As much as I dislike the special-interest provisions found in the bill – including the new short lease on life given to the Wind Production Tax Credit – there are more beneficial provisions in this legislation that will prevent tax increases from falling on millions of hardworking American families and businesses.  While far from perfect, I chose to support this legislation because the good outweighed the bad. “The real work of reforming our nation’s tax code, including getting rid of special-interest tax provisions, will only be accomplished through the fundamental tax reform that I hope and expect the House of Representatives to take up in the 114th Congress.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling: Obama Self-Admittedly Ignores Law, Will of American People


WASHINGTON—Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s plan to issue an executive order that will grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants: “Tonight, the president thumbed his nose at the American people and our system of democracy. The president’s brazen action is lawless, unconstitutional, and arrogant. Regardless of how one feels about the issues of amnesty and illegal immigration, all should be appalled by the president’s unilateral action – something he himself said last year would be ‘ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally.’ “Regrettably, this is the latest in a continued pattern of disregard and indifference to our Constitution and the protections of our freedoms contained within that cherished document – namely our system of co-equal branches of government with separate powers. “Barack Obama was elected our president, not our king. “America is a nation of immigrants, and should continue to be.  We cannot take everyone, but I believe there is a place for those who want to come to America legally, roll up their sleeves to work hard, and be an economic asset to our nation.  Unfortunately, the president’s actions today not only create the underpinnings of a constitutional crisis, they potentially set the stage for another immigration crisis like we saw this past summer.  By taking this executive action, the president has done nothing more than double down on his existing failed policy and make our broken immigration system worse.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling Votes to Bring Transparency, Accountability to EPA


WASHINGTON—U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Secret Science Reform Act (H.R. 4012) and the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (H.R. 1422): “President Obama declared at the outset of his term that his administration would be the ‘most transparent administration in history’ and directed his administration to ensure that Americans were ‘offered increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective expertise and information.’ Unfortunately – as with virtually every other agency in Obama Administration – it seems the president’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) didn’t get the message. “The EPA has been relentlessly conducting a war on carbon-based energy, issuing regulation after regulation that will significantly impact our economy, destroy jobs, and raise energy prices for hardworking Americans already struggling to make ends meet.  Despite the significant impact these regulations will have, the EPA refuses to make public the scientific data it used in crafting its regulations.  This stunning lack of transparency leaves the public and Congress in the dark and unable to scrutinize the EPA’s actions and hold them accountable.  “Even the Science Advisory Board (SAB) – which was created by Congress in 1978 to provide expert advice and review the scientific foundation of the EPA’s regulatory decisions – has turned into little more than a rubber stamp for decisions made by unelected bureaucrats at the EPA as dissenting voices are silenced, the membership is far from independent, and public participation is limited. “The bills passed by the House today would provide a meaningful opportunity for the voices of the American people to be heard in the regulatory process by reforming the Science Advisory Board to bring greater independence to the panel membership and promote greater transparency and public participation, and by requiring the EPA to base its regulations on public data—bringing much needed accountability and transparency to the EPA.”  ###   Read More

Hensarling Elected to Second Term as Chairman


WASHINGTON- Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) issued the following statement today after he was elected to a second term as Chairman of the committee for the 114th Congress. “I am humbled by the support and trust of my colleagues as I continue my service as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. House Republicans know the only real way to grow the economy is from Main Street up, not Washington down. Our committee will continue to focus on promoting sensible solutions to hold both Washington and Wall Street accountable to the American people.”   ###   Read More

ICYMI: Hensarling in The Washington Times: Wean Business Insurers off Terrorism Risk Insurance Act


Businesses should relieve taxpayers of insuring against future attacks By Rep. Jeb Hensarling The threat posed by radical Islam once again commands the nation's attention at the same time Congress debates whether to re-extend a never-used terrorism-risk insurance program that was supposed to expire nine years ago. The 2002 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) subsidizes insurance companies as an incentive to sell insurance against the losses caused by acts of terrorism. Whether to extend the act beyond its original purpose will be debated in Congress' lame-duck session. TRIA supporters often suggest the program is a vital part in the war on terrorism, but nothing in the act prevents an attack. Nothing in it saves lives or property. Instead, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act concerns just one issue: Who should pay for the property damage caused by terrorists — commercial property owners, the insurance companies that took on the risk, or taxpayers? This is an important question, and it is one reason why there was enormous uncertainly in our economy in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. At that time, the act helped stabilize the private market and provide for the widespread availability of terrorism insurance, which are the program's original purposes. The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act was designed to be temporary and transitional so, over time, insurance companies could resume pricing terrorism insurance and develop better forecasting models to absorb any future losses. The law initially accomplished this by gradually increasing TRIA's thresholds, and each year insurance companies covered a little more of their own risks so taxpayers were responsible for covering a little less. Yet that successful framework was abandoned in 2007 when Congress passed an ill-advised extension that froze the act's thresholds. This removed the requirement of transitioning back to a private market, contrary to TRIA's original goal. Instead of building more accurate loss models, insurers have grown increasingly reliant on the program. Instead of taking on more of their own risk, they have become more resistant to resuming the act's transitional reforms. This intense desire to maintain the status quo resulted in the Senate's passage of a bill in July to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act for seven more years "as is" — without any meaningful reforms to protect hardworking taxpayers and to jump-start private market development, as the act was originally intended to do. If the Senate bill becomes law, what was supposed to be a temporary and transitional program will be in existence for nearly 20 years but without making any new progress toward reform. This would be a step backward. It would make TRIA a de facto permanent obligation of the taxpayers who are already burdened with unsustainable levels of debt owing to other Washington policies and programs. Also, instead of creating economic certainty, merely extending the act without reinstating reforms would actually increase uncertainty and market instability because the insurance industry would remain entirely dependent on government to manage its risks. Reforming the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act now is the only way to protect taxpayers, promote stable markets and enhance economic certainty. There remains a need for a federal backstop against those catastrophic acts of terrorism that cannot be reasonably modeled or mitigated and whose size truly impacts our economy. However, today there is more capacity within insurance and reinsurance industries to cover far greater portions of this risk. There will be even more tomorrow, provided we put the act back on its transitional reform path. That's why the House Financial Services Committee, which I chair, approved legislation that maintains the essential TRIA framework but gradually asks insurers to be responsible for privately funding more of the risks they underwrite. This bill also refocuses the act on only those catastrophic risks for which risk models are currently vague. The House bill puts the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act back on track as a federal backstop against the most damaging acts of terrorism, while restoring the market discipline to adapt, properly price, or innovate in the delivery of private terrorism insurance. Some say there is no need to reform the act. I respectfully disagree. By the insurance industry's own admission, taxpayers are currently forced to bear incalculable amounts of risk, but we know that there is untapped capacity in the private reinsurance markets to handle more risk. That is the only way to move more and more of the risk from the taxpayers' balance sheet and put it back on that of insurance companies. Critics have and will likely continue to contend that such reforms are somehow unfair or unpatriotic. Nothing could be less true. The federal government, free from competition and unable to make hard choices, has a long and ugly history of insurance schemes that underestimate and misprice risk. Each time the purported beneficiaries end up more at risk while taxpayers end up footing the bill. Passing a Terrorism Risk Insurance Act reform bill now is the only way to stop that vicious circle and help prepare insurers and commercial property owners for a less risky future.   ###   To view online at The Washington Times, click here.   Read More

Hensarling Calls on Senate, White House to Put Americans First, Approve Keystone


WASHINGTON—U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on H.R. 5682, a bill approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. “Our nation stands at a point where energy independence is within our reach, and North American energy independence is even closer.  The Keystone XL pipeline is an important part of our energy future and independence.  For the ninth time in four years, the House of Representatives has passed legislation that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. Unfortunately, each of our previous eight attempts to provide relief to struggling American families through lower energy costs were blocked by Harry Reid and President Obama, who have put the agenda of their radical environmentalist allies ahead of the majority of Americans who support the pipeline and the thousands of jobs it would create. “While I am encouraged by the change of heart some Senate Democrats seem to have had on this issue – regardless of the reason – it seems the White House is doubling down on their tone deaf response to the message voters sent on Election Day. I am hopeful President Obama will listen to the American people and his own State Department, rescind his veto threat, and join the people’s representatives in finally approving the Keystone XL Pipeline.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling on Honors Our Nation’s Veterans


WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05) released the following statement commemorating Veterans Day: “Veterans Day is an opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to those patriots who’ve answered the call to defend us, going into harm’s way so that we can enjoy the blessings of freedom, peace, and prosperity. Freedom is not free – it comes at incredible cost. Today, and every day, let us never forget that. “We must also remember our military families, who are left to carry on while their spouse, parent, or child is away serving on the front lines. Though they may not wear the uniform, they too serve and sacrifice much for the cause of freedom. “Few opportunities are more meaningful to me as a Congressman than when I am given the chance to help our veterans, whether it is obtaining long overdue medals for a hero of WWII, securing VA benefits for a struggling veteran of Korea or Vietnam, or paying tribute to the life of a soldier that was cut short defending freedom in Iraq or Afghanistan.  “As the son, grandson, and brother of veterans, I have and will continue to fight for our nation’s soldiers and military veterans. As President Calvin Coolidge once said ‘A nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.’ I am committed to making sure we never forget.”   ###   Read More

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Committee Assignments

Financial Services

First elected to Congress in 2002, Jeb Hensarling is a strong conservative and an outspoken advocate for limited government and unlimited opportunity.

As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Jeb is a leader in promoting consumer choice, competitive markets, and smart regulation in our financial markets.  He was the only member of Congress to have introduced comprehensive reform legislation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the credit crisis, lauded in the media as “a concrete plan for fixing Fannie and Freddie.” Jeb was recognized by The New York Times for “leading the GOP Vanguard against the Bailout,” and was the only member of Congress to have introduced a legislative alternative to TARP during the heart of the credit crisis, which would have minimized taxpayer exposure and the politicization of the market.

A lifelong conservative dedicated to advancing the principals of faith, family, free enterprise, and freedom, Jeb was chosen by his colleagues during the 112th Congress to chair the House Republican Conference—the fourth ranking leadership position in the House—and in the 110th Congress, he was elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee—the largest conservative caucus in the House. The Associated Press recently recognized Jeb’s consistency on conservative issues saying, “he made cutting federal spending, ending earmarks and reducing the size of government his priorities before the tea party came into existence.”

In recognition of his relentless fight to cut wasteful Washington spending and remove barriers to job growth, Jeb was appointed to serve on the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and was most recently appointed co-chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Prior to the 112th Congress, Jeb served as the number two Republican on the House Budget Committee—under now Chairman Paul Ryan—and has consistently fought to reduce our debt and stop out-of-control Washington spending. He is a co-author of the “Spending, Deficit, and Debt Control Act,” a landmark budget reform bill that was heralded as the “gold standard” of budget enforcement legislation by a coalition of conservative groups, including the Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens United Against Government Waste, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and the National Taxpayer Union. Jeb also authored the “Spending Limit Amendment”—a Constitutional amendment that would limit federal spending to no more than 20% of the economy—the historic average since WWII. For his work to rein in wasteful Washington spending and put our country back on a fiscally sustainable path, the National Review Online dubbed him “Rep. Budget Reform,” and The Dallas Morning News called him a “truth teller” who “has become one of the most important GOP members of Congress.”

Born in Stephenville, Texas, Jeb grew up working on his father’s farm near College Station. He earned a degree in economics from Texas A&M University in 1979 and a law degree from the University of Texas in 1982. Before coming to Congress, Jeb spent ten years in the private sector, serving as an officer for a successful investment firm, a data management company, and an electric retail company.

Jeb and his wife, Melissa, are members of St. Michael and All Angels Church, and reside in Dallas with their two children, Claire and Travis.

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