Jeb Hensarling

Jeb Hensarling

TEXAS' 5th DISTRICT

Hensarling Statement Ebola in the U.S.

2014/10/03

WASHINGTON—U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on the first U.S. case of the Ebola virus in Dallas, Texas. “The news of the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States is beyond troubling. My office has been and will continue to be in close contact with federal, state and local health officials to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our citizens and prevent the further spread of this terrible disease. “The reported details surrounding the travel of this gentleman from Liberia to the U.S. have raised serious questions about current policy regarding travel and visas from West Africa, and this incident should serve as a wake-up call given the fact that the number of people who have contracted this disease is growing rapidly.  Ultimately, our top priority must be to keep our citizens safe and mitigate an outbreak.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling on Eric Holder’s Resignation

2014/09/25

WASHINGTON—U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation. “Eric Holder’s decision to step down as Attorney General is long overdue.  From his refusing to cooperate with Congress on the investigation of Fast and Furious to failing to investigate the IRS’ violation of the Constitutional rights of Americans, Eric Holder has presided over a Justice Department that has enabled the Obama Administration to turn our nation from one governed by the rule of law to one governed by the rule of rulers. These actions as Attorney General lost him the confidence of the American people needed to serve as our nation’s top law enforcement official.  While Eric Holder may be leaving, this doesn’t excuse the Obama Administration and the Justice Department from working with Congress to answer the serious questions that we have sought answers to.  I hope the next Attorney General will work to uphold the rule of law and respect the Constitution so that the public’s trust in our justice system may be restored.”       ###   Read More

Hensarling Votes to Expand Jobs, Opportunity for East Texans

2014/09/18

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. 4, a package of bills aimed at improving our economy and fostering job creation. “All across our nation, far too many Americans are sitting around their kitchen tables wondering how they’re going to keep a roof over their head, put food on the table, and gas in their cars to drive kids to school and themselves to a job – if they’re fortunate enough to have one in the Obama economy. American’s paychecks are shrinking and job security is waning. While our nation's spending driven debt crisis and the threat of higher taxes are holding back growth, job creators are also burdened by Obamacare, out of control Washington regulations, and our nation's convoluted and voluminous tax code. “The package of bills passed by the House today addresses many of the issues that are stifling growth.  From addressing some of the onerous regulations in Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, to requiring any major new federal rules and regulations receive Congressional approval before implementation, to making the research and development tax credit and small business tax expensing permanent, these pro-growth economic policies will allow employers to enlarge paychecks and expand payrolls.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling Statement on McKeon Amendment

2014/09/17

WASHINGTON—U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, issued the following statement after voting to authorize limited authority for the president to vet, train, and equip a competent ground force comprised of Syrian rebels to combat the growing threat of the Islamic State in the region and around the world: “There is perhaps no greater threat facing our nation today than that of radical Islam. There is perhaps no group of Islamic terrorists more brutal, more organized, more equipped, or more capable of launching attacks on the United State and our interests abroad than the Islamic State. They are no ‘JV team,’ and every day we go without a clear and decisive foreign policy allows them to grow stronger. “After months of downplaying the threat posed by radical Islamists in Iraq and Syria, I applaud President Obama for finally for coming before the American people to acknowledge the true threat this extremely dangerous enemy represents and to lay out his plan to stop them. Unfortunately, the strategy outlined by the president is partial and incomplete. Grave concerns have been raised about the ability of airstrikes to succeed without competent and reliable ground forces, and serious questions remain about the reliability of opposition forces in Syria necessary to carry out the president’s strategy. While I share those concerns, I feel it is important to stop the immediate threat of the Islamic State. Today’s vote gives the president very limited and temporary authority to do so while affirming the important role of Congress in determining our nation’s foreign and national security policy. “While the vote taken by the House today is an important first step, it is not the final step. Nor does it guarantee success, which will only be determined by President Obama’s ability to carry out the mission authorized by this vote. Ultimately, the president must lay out a comprehensive plan to defeat the Islamic State that is grounded in sound military strategy, not political calculation, and then he must bring that plan before Congress and the American people for approval.”   ### Read More

Hensarling at Hillsdale College: Government Management Risks Our Prosperity & Freedom

2014/09/10

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Chairman, delivered a speech to The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship at Hillsdale College today entitled, “Government Management Risks Our Prosperity and Freedom.” The following is the text of that speech as prepared for delivery: Thank you for that kind introduction, and thank you to Hillsdale College for inviting me to speak today at this impressive facility, the Kirby Center.  Hillsdale is indispensable to the cause of liberty, pure and simple.  Like many freedom-loving Americans, I’ve been a follower of Hillsdale’s work and lecture series for many, many years and I always look forward to receiving the latest copy of Imprimis. There is nothing else like it. Anyway, I’m delighted and honored to be invited to speak here today. As many of you probably know, just this week Congress returned from its August district work period.  It was great to be back home in my native Texas for an entire month.  But when I got home at the beginning of August, my wife told me she thought it was time to get a family pet. I wasn’t convinced and told her I thought we should wait. The next day, I came home and she said it was official, we were getting a pet. So, I told her I thought we should get a dog. I came home the next day and there was a cat in my house. I’ll admit, at first I was a little upset. I mean, as a Congressman, I have to persuade voters every two years to re-elect me, but I couldn’t even persuade my family to see my side when it came to the family pet. So I asked my wife why my opinion wasn’t considered and she said, “I guess after dealing with President Obama and Senator Reid for so long, I figured you were used to being completely ignored.” On a more serious note, none of us can ignore the troubling headlines we’re seeing today.  They’re dominated by news of ominous foreign threats to our safety and security that emanate from faraway capitals like Moscow, Damascus, Tripoli and Tehran.  But as real and serious as these foreign threats are, we cannot and must not lose sight of the domestic threats to our freedom and prosperity that emanate from another capital city far closer to home.  Namely, Washington, DC. Some of these domestic threats may appear less evident in the short-term, but over time they are corrosive to our Constitution and to our wellbeing both as individuals and as a nation. None of us can afford to lose sight of James Madison’s famous warning that, “there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” Today I want to speak about one such threat.  It is a threat that has grown markedly worse in the last four years but receives far too little attention.  It is the threat posed by the rise of what some have termed the fourth branch of government. Namely, omnipotent and ubiquitous agency government which I believe has clearly made us a less prosperous, less entrepreneurial, less optimistic and a less free society. Today, a record number of Americans – more than 46 million – find themselves dependent on food stamps.  Median household income is down by more than $2,000 in real terms since January 2009, while working Americans are having to pay more at both the grocery store and at the gas pump.  The so-called “Obama recovery” is now officially the slowest and weakest of the last 70 years.  One of the reasons we are less prosperous is because we are less entrepreneurial. In fact, America is less entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution.  New business start-ups are at their lowest level in 30 years.  And during the most recent three years of that study, businesses in America were actually closing down faster than they were starting up.  The Brookings authors went on to say that if this decline in entrepreneurship continues, America will suffer “a continuation of slow growth for the indefinite future.” Less prosperity and a depressed entrepreneurial spirit have made us less optimistic.  Americans today are anxious.  They’re pessimistic.  They increasingly believe our best days are in the past. According to the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll: 71 percent believe our country is headed in the wrong direction; 60 percent believe the U.S. is in a state of decline; And when asked if “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us,” 76 percent said they do not have such confidence.  Sadly, that’s an all-time high. In a Washington Post column with the depressing headline “Americans’ optimism is dying,” one commentator took a deep dive into these poll results and found that this lack of confidence cuts across economic status, gender, race, age and ideology.  It touches nearly all Americans. Among them is Monica Alexander, an African-American single mom who is one of nearly 8 million Americans today who can’t find a full-time job so they settle for part-time work.  “It’s been a struggle to keep food in the house, to keep gas in the car,” she says.  Her son asked her:  “Mom, do we really have to live like this?” Or Dominick Finelle.  For 15 years, Dominick earned a six-figure salary for his family as a book illustrator.  But for the past four years he’s been able to find only part-time jobs.  “I’m panicking,’ he says.  “All I think about is looking for work.” Americans’ growing lack of faith in the future is disturbing.  It’s alarming.  It’s “un-American” in the sense that it is so out-of-character for us as a people. And it corresponds not only to economic hard times but to the perceptible loss of individual freedom in America today.  Indeed, the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom records a loss of freedom here in the United States during each year of the Obama Administration.  Heritage attributes our erosion of freedom to a loss of property rights, a decline in the rule of law, and the substantial growth in the size and scope of government. Americans are beginning to take note.  As a Pew Research poll last year found, for the first time a majority of the public says the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.  It is not lost on them that Washington now decides what their children’s teachers can teach, what kind of light bulbs they’re allowed to buy, what credit cards go in their wallets, whether they can choose their own doctor or even keep the health plans they like. Perhaps the first step in regaining our prosperity is to appreciate the critical role entrepreneurship has played in our history and economic growth. When researching the subject, I was pleased to discover that Hillsdale had already done much of the work for me when they published author John Steele Gordon’s speech on the very same subject in Imprimis. Parenthetically, one more reason you should always read Imprimis. What we should all recall is that the colonists came to America not just to seek political liberty or religious liberty, but economic liberty as well. Several of the colonies – such as Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Virginia – were founded not by the Crown of England, but rather by profit-seeking corporations.  Others, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, were founded by proprietors.  And profit was the primary reason the Dutch founded New York and settled Manhattan.  “Indeed,” Gordon said in his Hillsdale remarks, “so bent on money making were the Dutch that they did not get around to building a church for 17 years, worshiping instead in the fort.” This entrepreneurial drive helps explain why the 13 colonies were the richest place on earth on a per capita basis by the time they declared their independence, Gordon recalls. From its earliest beginnings, America has always been the land of the entrepreneur, the dreamer, and the risk-taker- and that includes the risk of failure. Someone who clearly understood this was Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple.  In an interview, Jobs said, “I look at myself as …sort of a trapeze artist.” “With or without a net?” he was asked.  “Without,” Jobs replied.  Because Steve Jobs was a risk-taker, Apple became the most valuable company in the world whose innovations revolutionized our lives. Another entrepreneurial risk taker is Robin Chase, the co-founder of Zipcar, the largest car-sharing company in the world.  When she launched Zipcar in 2000, she was left with $78 in her bank account.  “It was a preposterous, ridiculous thing to have done,” she said.  But it worked.  Zipcar became a quintessential business success story.  And 13 years later, Avis purchased Zipcar for half a billion dollars. What’s most important isn’t the amount of money Steve Jobs or Robin Chase were able to make for themselves, but what they were able to do with it: namely build successful companies to employ and serve others, and exercise their God-given right to pursue happiness. But it’s not just the famous entrepreneurs and nationally known names like Apple or Zipcar that drive the American economy.  It’s the millions of small business entrepreneurs who take risks that create the vast majority of the new jobs in our economy. Small business owners like Rick Carmona, who lives in the Fifth Congressional District of Texas I have the honor of representing in Congress. 30 years ago, Rick started his own business, a Tex-Mex restaurant.  His mother was the cook and for several years.  Rick pretty much did everything else.  “We didn’t make money for a long time,” he said.  “But I never gave up.  I just kept working at it.”  But today, something is changing in America.  The spirit of free enterprise, of entrepreneurial risk-taking and dream-chasing that has defined us as a nation seems to be fading away. Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post wrote a recent column headlined “Where Have All the Entrepreneurs Gone.”  After analyzing the Brookings Institution data, he wrote the U.S. economy is increasingly dominated by older firms rather than new start-ups.  This phenomenon is unusual for our country and it is a trend that has occurred in every state and industrial sector.  Fewer entrepreneurs taking fewer risks leads to fewer jobs.  It’s that simple.  But what’s causing this disturbing drop in entrepreneurial risk-taking? Economists at the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau have written that “the cumulative effect of regulations” is a prime suspect and discriminates against new businesses by favoring “established firms that have the experience and resources to deal with it.”  Listen to the words of Bernie Marcus, a co-founder of Home Depot:  “Having built a small business into a big one, I can tell you that today the impediments that the government imposes are impossible to deal with.  Home Depot would never have succeeded if we’d tried to start it today.  Every day you see rules and regulations from a group of Washington bureaucrats who know nothing about running a business.  And I mean every day.  It’s become stifling.” Last year, a page one story in the Wall Street Journal declared a “risk-averse culture” had infected our economy and was harming U.S. workers.  That story generated a lot of discussion among the newspaper’s readers, who responded with their own personal stories of how Washington policies were dashing their dreams of going into business for themselves.  One reader wrote: “…government has expanded exponentially, creating self-sustaining bureaucracies that busy themselves with rules and regulations imposed on – essentially – the private sector, putting the bar higher at every turn and exhausting entrepreneurs’ energies on meaningless formalities and bleeding them with ever-increasing social burdens.” Of course, I don’t need to read the newspaper to hear this angst and frustration. I hear it from by fellow Texans all the time. Typical is what I heard a small businessman named Hal in Terrell, Texas, who told me, “The greatest risk I worry about is that, someday, my business will be destroyed by OSHA, EPA, IRS, or the Department of Labor.  This is not any exaggeration. The reason so many small business folks worry about these risks is that most of us know we cannot defend ourselves. A business that, rightly or wrongly is the target of one of these agencies, is completely outgunned in terms of resources.” And I’ll never forget the day a small business owner running a cabinetry shop  in East Texas came up to me and said the regulatory burden had gotten so bad he closed his business.  “It got to the point where I thought my Federal government just didn’t want me to succeed,” he sadly told me, and a dozen or more people lost their jobs. So while the American people are repeatedly told that nothing is getting done in Washington, entrepreneurs across the land can only wish that were true.  They know, better than anyone, that the federal bureaucracy is busier than ever. Earlier this year, a Wall Street Journal editorial reviewed the record-breaking statistics:  Washington set a new record in 2013 by issuing final rules consuming 26,417 pages in the Federal Register.  And not one of them was voted on by Congress – not one. Another 3,305 regulations are moving through the pipeline at the historic rate of roughly one new regulation every two hours. Whether it’s the 20-plus pages needed to define what a “retail pet store” is, to rules concerning the interstate movement of Sharwil avocados, to the thousands of pages of rules comprising the federal takeover of our healthcare system, every Washington regulation has an impact on our struggling economy.  Every Washington regulation impacts the ability of someone to get a job.  And let’s be honest - many of these regulations are written to protect current businesses from future competition. One study estimates the overall financial cost of regulatory compliance and its economic impact has reached $1.9 trillion annually, which translates to an annual hit of approximately $15,000 to household budgets and more than $10,000 per employee to small business budgets. I do not recall ever in my lifetime when the challenges of upward mobility and economic opportunity for low and moderate income Americans have been greater. Not surprisingly, I also do not ever recall in my lifetime when the bureaucratic regulatory, red tape burdens on our entrepreneurs and small businesses have been greater. The evidence is overwhelming that there is a clear, causal link between the two. But the true cost is not strictly financial or even measured by the harm to the American entrepreneurial spirit. The true cost is even more profound:  the loss of our personal freedom. As what many term the “fourth branch of government” has risen, due process, checks and balances and the separation of powers -- all cornerstones of our political liberties -- have waned. Now, the rise of this “fourth branch of government” is not a new phenomenon. As Heritage scholar Robert Moffit notes, it began in the early twentieth century when Progressives became disillusioned with the Constitution.  They believed that its purpose of securing individual rights through limited government and its structure of the separated powers could no longer meet the needs of the modern world. In short order, they advocated for the application of what they called a “new science” to politics, and they pushed for the creation of “Bureaus” to be staffed by non-partisan social scientists armed with massive amounts of data and procedures for eradicating all of society’s ills. Herbert Croly, a leading progressive voice of the Wilson era, noted that this new agency government “exercises an authority which is in part legislative and in part judicial….it is simply a convenient means of consolidating the divided activities of the government to a certain practical social purposes.” Madison, in Federalist number 47 had a different take. He wrote, “the combination of all power legislative, executive, and judiciary in the same hands…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The seed of this form of tyranny was planted during the Wilson Administration, bloomed during FDR’s New Deal, became overgrown in LBJ’s Great Society, and has now reached crisis proportions under President Obama -- our chief executive who possesses both a pen and a phone, but regrettably lacks a copy of the Constitution. This century-long Progressive expansion of government has unleashed the modern regulatory state as we know it – extremely powerful, extremely intrusive, terribly opaque, bafflingly bureaucratic, distinctively un-republican and alarmingly unaccountable. As we all know, Article One, Section One of our Constitution states “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.” Thus, when Congress delegates its fundamental legislative authority to an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy, it has arguably acted in an unconstitutional manner. And as it does, the people’s right to both self-government and due process is undermined. The citizen’s right to carefully deliberate proposed legislation through their representatives in Congress becomes reduced to nothing but a “notice and comment” period when they are permitted to merely lodge complaints and suggestions – all of which the unelected bureaucrats are free to ignore, all of which the unelected bureaucrats may use to retaliate. In Federalist number 52, Madison wrote: “The definition of the right of suffrage is very justly regarded as a fundamental article of republican government.” But who elected the legions of bureaucrats who now have become legislator, cop on the beat, prosecutor, judge, jury, and often compensated victim all rolled into one? The public rarely even knows their names. Today, Americans are less and less governed by the rule of law and more and more governed by the discretion of regulators. It is OSHA now, not Congress, that governs over workplace safety. It is the EPA now, not Congress, that governs our air quality. It is HHS now, not Congress, that governs over our health care. And most alarmingly to our economic opportunity and economic liberty, it is now the bureaucratic progeny of Dodd-Frank that rules over our financial markets. Jonathan Macey of Yale Law School was most prescient when he noted that, “laws classically provide people with the rules. Dodd-Frank is not directed at people. It is an outline directed at bureaucrats and instructs them to make still more regulations and to create more bureaucracies.” Specifically, after weighing in at over 2,000 pages, Dodd-Frank demands 400 new mandates be promulgated and multiple new agencies be spawned. Two of the most worrisome of these agencies are the Orwellian-named Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, otherwise known as “the Bureau” or CFPB, and the Financial Stability Oversight Council – known as FSOC.  Both operate largely out of public view.  Both are subject to virtually no checks and balances. And both have been granted sweeping, unilateral powers to fundamentally control huge swaths of the U.S. economy. Arguably, the Bureau is the single most powerful and least accountable federal agency in our nation’s history.  It operates outside our Constitutional system of checks and balances. The Bureau, or more specifically its one unelected director, has almost absolute discretionary power to find any consumer credit product “abusive” and, thus, functionally outlaw it.  When it comes to credit cards, auto loans and mortgages of hardworking taxpayers, the CFPB has unbridled power not only to make them less available and more expensive, but to absolutely take them away. In doing so, the Bureau is fundamentally unaccountable to the president since its director can be removed only for cause.  It is fundamentally unaccountable to Congress because the Bureau’s funding is not subject to appropriations.  The Bureau is fundamentally unaccountable to the courts because Dodd-Frank requires courts to grant the CFPB deference regarding its interpretation of Federal consumer financial law.  Thus, the Bureau is regrettably unaccountable to the American people -- one of the hallmarks of agency government. All of us are familiar with the axiom that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  It also breeds waste, abuse and hubris.  Such is the case at the CFPB, which is why there are newspaper stories about the CFPB with headlines like “Bureaucrats Gone Wild”…“[CFPB] is Rife with Discrimination, Employees Say,” and “CFPB’s Renovation Costs Skyrocket to $216 Million; Inspector General Sees ‘No Sound Basis’ for It.” The CFPB is also engaged in the most sweeping data collections of personal, private financial records our nation has ever seen, an effort rivaling that of the NSA.  Regrettably, there is no one on the CFPB payroll who can be voted out of office.  There is no one to be held accountable. Now let’s look at FSOC.  FSOC is an amalgamation of regulators heading agencies that either helped cause the financial crisis or were largely negligent in preventing it, notwithstanding they had the regulatory power to do so. Dodd-Frank rewards their failures by granting them the most sweeping powers over our capital markets since the New Deal. Dodd-Frank allows Federal regulators to unilaterally define vague statutory terms like “systemic risk,” “financial stress,” and “financial stability.”  And by doing so, dictate the capital standards, product mix and lending activities of major financial firms within our economy.  They are even empowered to break them up. As AEI scholar Peter Wallison summarized, “The FSOC’s authority is in effect a blank check to consign to Federal regulation any large firm the government wants to regulate.”  Ladies and gentlemen, this is nothing short of a functional occupation of our capital markets by Federal regulators who have been empowered to now be central planners. And all of this is done outside of public view. With the exception of agencies dealing in classified information relating to national security, FSOC may very well be the nation’s least transparent federal entity.  The public cannot view their proceedings because two-thirds of them are conducted in private executive sessions. Better Markets, a Washington organization that consistently advocates for more regulation of our financial system, said:  “FSOC’s proceedings make the Politburo look open by comparison.  No one in America even knows who they are.  At the few open meetings they have, they snap their fingers and it’s over, and they are all scripted.  They treat their information as if it were state secrets.” It’s obvious those who drafted Dodd-Frank fear risk-taking and innovation.  But if we trade freedom for safety, in the long run we’ll get neither – and less of everything else, too. The raison d’etre of the Dodd-Frank Act was the risk of the “shadow banking system.”  Yet a far greater danger is instead posed by the “shadow regulatory system.” As University of Chicago Professor Raghuram Rajan wrote in his book Fault Lines:  “We have to recognize that the only truly safe financial system is a system that does not take risks, that does not finance innovation or growth, that does not help draw people out of poverty, and that gives consumers little choice.” Yet, as we see, that’s exactly what Americans are getting as Washington tries to regulate risk out of existence:  today there is less innovation and growth, more people in poverty and fewer consumer choices. Ladies and gentlemen, despite the enormous challenges we face, you and I should be optimistic about the future of America. I know it to be cliché, but it is truly darkest before the dawn. - Never in our lifetimes have the failures of big government liberalism been more evident to all.  What an opportunity before us! What we need today – more than any time in the last 30 years – is to return our country to its first principles of personal liberty and limited government.  What we need today – using the title of Hillsdale’s Matthew Spalding’s bestseller, is to loudly and proudly proclaim that “We Still Hold These Truths” self-evident. First, Congress must reaffirm the primacy of congressional authority.  Congress must end the practice of delegating lawmaking authority to unelected and unaccountable agency government.  No more passing vague laws that direct agencies to fill in the blanks with specifics. The REINS Act, which has passed the House, would introduce both constitutionally and accountability into the system by requiring Congress to approve any major new regulations.  The Act is as simple as it is profound. Its ultimate passage into law must be a major priority of the Conservative Movement. Secondly, Members of Congress must take back from the 4th branch of government the “power of the purse” granted in Sections 8 and 9 of Article 1 of the Constitution. If you grab a bureaucracy by its budget, its heart and mind will soon follow. Thirdly, Congress must rediscover and reinvigorate the 10th Amendment in order to reinstitute federalism, which is one of the cornerstones of our Constitutional system.  As most here are familiar, in Federalist number 45, Madison wrote:  “The powers delegated…to the federal government are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” Finally, we must all celebrate the role of risk taking as an American right, our American heritage and our destiny as a nation. We must educate our fellow citizens that when we entrust government agencies to manage our risks, we risk losing both our freedom and our prosperity. All this requires strong, dedicated and consistent leadership in Washington and in every state of our great country.  Everyone has a role to play, so I call upon you not to merely be passive observers of this debate, but active participants.  As for me, I intend not only to participate, I intend to lead. Because at the end of the day, the future is not in my hands as a member of Congress.  It is in our hands as citizens of this great Republic.  I’m reminded of Jefferson’s message to Madison, when he said, “The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of liberty.” And that’s another reason why I am optimistic about the future of America.  The American people may be anxious today, but they’re not hopeless.  They may have lost faith in Washington, but they have not lost faith in America.  And with the help of institutions like Hillsdale College, we never will. Thank you.   ### Read More

Hensarling Votes to Rein in Obama EPA

2014/09/09

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today on H.R. 5078 – the “Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act” – which would stop the Obama Administration’s federal power grab and protect the long-standing federal-state partnership in the regulation of our nation’s waters. “Since the passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972, federal government authority has been limited to ‘navigable waters,’ and the primary responsibility for the regulation of waters has fallen to the states. This federal-state partnership has since been reaffirmed twice by the Supreme Court.  “Never one to let something like the separation of powers stand in the way of a federal power grab, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released a rule that attempts expand federal regulations by re-define navigable waterways to include things like ditches, stock tanks, and manmade ponds.  “The bill passed by the House today would protect landowners – including the many farmers and ranchers of East Texas – from this imperial presidency run amok by stopping the EPA and Corps from imposing this or any future rules that attempt to redefine our nation’s waters. It also upholds the federal-state partnership established by the CWA to ensure the rights of state and local governments to plan for their own development and the rights of landowners to make decisions about their property.”   ### Read More

Hensarling Votes to Condemn President for Unlawful Release of Terrorists

2014/09/09

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today on H. Res 644. This resolution – which the Congressman co-sponsored – condemns the Obama Administration for failing to comply with the lawful statutory requirement to notify Congress before it released five high-level Taliban operatives from Guantanamo Bay earlier this year. “As I said at the time, President Obama’s decision to release five high-level Taliban leaders without the required notification of Congress raised serious questions about the legality of the president’s actions. A recent report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office answered those questions, concluding that the president’s unilateral decision did in fact violate the law. “This latest example of the president completely ignoring duly enacted legislation isn’t just about his flagrant disregard of his duty to ensure laws are faithfully executed. The potential ramification this unilateral decision could have on the safety and security of military and civilian personnel serving abroad is deeply troubling. “As the president weighs possible military action to combat the growing threat from ISIS, today’s resolution should serve as a stern reminder to President Obama that any action he takes to protect the American people, our homeland, and our interests abroad must be done in accordance with our laws and our Constitution.”   ###   Read More

Hensarling Speaks at AFP's "Defending the American Dream Summit"

2014/09/01

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), a leading conservative and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Chairman, delivered a speech to Americans For Prosperity's annual "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Dallas, Texas. The following is the transcript of that speech: "Thank you, thank you for that great AFP welcome. I think he still may be backstage, your president Tim Phillips, Tim I’m so grateful you invited me, but if you’re the guy who scheduled me to come right after Ted Cruz, my message is “gee thanks pal.” And by the way, to the best of my knowledge, I did not vote for national marshmallow day, I am researching that now. "Anyway, Senator Cruz, one tough act to follow, wow you wanna talk about a guy who’s burst onto the national stage, a clarion call, a freedom for we the people, and we the people of Texas are proud to call him Senator. "So I know you’ve heard from our junior senator, you’ve heard from our governor, I may be the only Texan you hear from today that is not running for president. Anyway, welcome to Texas! "So I understand you went to Gilley’s last night, hopefully you’ve discovered we like our Tex-Mex food hot, we like our Shiner Bock longnecks cold, we still boot scoot to Waylon and Willy and we hold football next to godliness. "And by the way, we don’t have one single statewide elected democrat in Texas. If you haven’t tried it out in your state, I highly recommend it. "But allow me to attempt to get serious now, because seriously in Texas when it comes to our commitment to economic opportunity, we are what America once was, and with your help, will be yet again. "Now earlier this summer I took my family, who is in the audience somewhere today, I took them to a very different part of America. We went to New York City. We took in the usual sights and sounds, but there’s one sight that stands above all and you know what it is. You hop on that ferry and you start to go across the water and there she comes, closer and closer, clearer, Lady Liberty. "And you know, seeing those images of Ellis Island, which I’ve visited before as I know many of you have, you think what was it that caused these people to leave the old world, to risk so much, and come to the new? What were they thinking when Lady Liberty was coming into clear view? "I thought to myself, as beautiful as America is, they did not come here for our fruited plains, they did not come here for our purple mountain majesties, they did not come here for our alabaster cities, no, they came here because there was something here they could not find elsewhere and that, ladies and gentlemen, was liberty. Political liberty, religious liberty, and yes, economic liberty. "They came here with a dream, a big dream, a dream that through liberty, their children could have a better life and a brighter future in the land that we call America. And yes, that dream, our dream, became the American dream. It’s the dream that is the envy of the world and there is no other dream like it. "Our forefathers risked their very lives and fortunes and sacred honor to give it birth, let us commit ourselves today that we have a sacred responsibility to preserve it. "Well ladies and gentlemen, we know that our American dream is threatened; it’s threatened from far away capitals, places like Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran. And as real as those threats are though, we cannot lose sight of the threat that emanates from another capital that is far closer to us, and that capital is Washington, DC. "Ladies and gentlemen, undoubtedly one of the greatest threats to the American dream is a federal government that has grown too large, too powerful, too expensive, too intrusive, too unaccountable and too arrogant, and I’d offer a few more descriptions, but I ran out of breath. "We all know who’s leading this effort, now I wasn’t around for the New Deal, I was barely a child during the Great Society, but it is hard not to conclude that there has ever been a greater domestic threat to our liberty than President Barack Obama and his administration. "Shortly after his first election, he ominously warned all freedom loving Americans “We have begun the work of remaking America” and that he has certainly done. The stimulus, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, all have begun to remake America, and all have failed. "We painfully know that today we have a Washington that decides what our children’s teachers can teach, what kind of light bulbs we can put in our homes, what kind of credit cards go in our wallets, and yes, whether or not we can even choose our own doctor. "Enough is enough, we the people don’t want our country remade, we want it reclaimed. "Now ultra-liberals like the President, they believe in an enlightened, ultra-centralized and coercive Washington. A Washington bureaucracy that can resolve all questions and disputes, government of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite; whose principle purpose, incidentally, is to redistribute incomes, ensure equality of outcomes and to perfect society according to their utopian vision. For all who love freedom, for all who seek opportunity, the President’s American dream is nothing more than an American Nightmare. "We can serve this, we believe something else, we find the true America in her founding and enduring bedrock principles, faith, limited government, constitutional government, unlimited opportunity, free enterprise, and yes of course freedom. These are the ingredients of the American dream, ladies and gentlemen. "None, none are more important than faith and religious liberty, which you all know, have been under attack most recently in the Hobby Lobby case. Religious liberty is the liberty upon which all of our liberties rest; it’s what brought Quakers to Pennsylvania, Catholics to Maryland, and Puritans to Massachusetts. 'As Jefferson so eloquently wrote in 1785, “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are gifts of God?” Now you will find these very words inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial, yet the president and his allies seek to functionally sandblast them from the hallowed shrine, not to mention remove them from the minds and memories of our countrymen. "Just a couple years ago, the attack on religious liberty manifested itself in the 9th circuit decision that the phrase “One nation under God” in the pledge somehow ran afoul of the establishment clause. "Now I haven’t spent a lot of time in San Francisco, California, but here in Dallas, Texas, and I suspect where you have come from, it is still one nation under God. "Now perhaps second only to the self-evident truth that our liberty is an unalienable right of our creator, the greatest protection of our political liberty has been the rule of law. "But today in America we see the rule of law morphing into the rule of rulers. We have a president who has a phone and a pen, but regrettably he doesn’t have a copy of the Constitution. We have a president who refuses to faithfully execute the law that exist, but through the abuse of executive orders, creates laws where they don’t exist and all the while he has lots of help doing it. Legions of bureaucrats supporting him from the IRS, NLRB, the EPA, the CFPB - and the alphabet soup of government goes on. "You know, if a movie is ever made about this administration, I suggest it might be entitled, “Bureaucrats go Wild.” And you know what; Eric Holder and Lois Lerner would be up for Oscars. "We’ve seen an alarming increase in the power and the abuses of agencies’ government. These agencies have become lawmaker, cop on the beat, judge, jury and prosecutor, all rolled into one. As agency government has risen, due process, checks and balances, and separation of powers, all cornerstones of all political liberties, have waned. "As Madison warned in Federalist 47, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” "The very same bureaucracy that threatens our political freedom threatens our economic opportunities as well. The sheer weight, volume, complexity and cost of federal rulemaking is strangling, strangling our small businesses. Entrepreneurship in America is at new lows, where will the next Microsoft come from? Where will the next Apple come from? "As a small businessperson in East Texas told me not long ago, he said “Jeb, I’ve had to close my cabinetry business. It got to the point where I thought my federal government didn’t want me to succeed.” "I had a West Texas community banker, he wrote me not long ago and said “Ya know what, my major risks are not credit risks, risks of theft, risks of a robber coming in with a gun in my office, - my number one risk is federal regulatory risk.” "Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America warned us of this when he wrote about a federal government that “compresses, innervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people ‘til each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of tended industrial animals of which the government is the shepherd.” "We must unshackle our small businesses and entrepreneurs from the chains of Washington micro management; it is time to free free enterprise. "It is free enterprise that has made America the fairest, the most prosperous, and most passionate society the world has ever known. It is free enterprise that has lifted more people out of poverty than all of the big government anti-poverty programs combined. "And no other economic system empowers the common man and the common woman to earn their success through hard work, personal responsibility and creativity, not political connections. No other system empowers its citizens to pursue happiness. "And as that world famous economist, U2’s lead singer, Bono, once said, “In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a band-aid, free enterprise is a cure.” "Free enterprise, not the stimulus, not Obamacare, not Dodd-Frank, not the EPA and by the way, certainly not the Export-Import Bank. So ladies and gentlemen, there are many threats to our liberties today, these are serious times. "At the dawn of the republic, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail “We live, my dear soul, in age of trial, what will be the consequences, I know not.” "All of us are now living in another age of trial; the very idea of the American Dream itself is on trial. The question to be litigated is this, "Are we and should we still be the free republic that shook the world in 1776, or as president Obama wishes, are we destined and doomed to emulate the European social democracies of 2014? The stakes are high, but our dreams are big and our resolve is strong. I know that you dream along with me, we dream big dreams. "I dream of a dramatically smaller, less powerful federal government that respects we the people. I dream of a fair tax or a flat tax that is IRS free. One that ignites a firestorm of economic growth to lifts the plight of the downtrodden. I dream of a Fannie Mae Freddie Mac free future that removes us from the boom bust bailout cycle of the federal government. I dream, I dream of a nation where no firm is too big to fail or too small to matter because, ladies and gentlemen, if we lose our ability to fail in America we will soon lose our ability to succeed. I dream of the repeal of the twin scourges of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. I dream of a spending limit amendment to the constitution to prevent national bankruptcy and a rediscovered 10th amendment to reinvigorate federalism. "And most importantly, I dream of an America with vaults, vaults of unlimited opportunity for our children and a society that reveres life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the God who granted them. "All of this is possible. All of this is possible; all of this is within our grasp. Never in our lifetimes, have the failures of big government liberalism been more evident to all. "So let us loudly and let us cheerfully rededicate ourselves to the noblest of causes, nothing less than the preservation of the American Dream. "I cannot be more optimistic about our victory and my optimism comes from you. As Jefferson wrote Madison “The people are the only sure repository for the preservation of liberty.” "The people, the dedicated volunteers and patriots of the Americans for Prosperity, because of you, I know our nation will be more prosperous. Because of you I know our nation will be more free. Because of you, I know my children’s birthright will be secured. "May the God who gave us life, give us courage and resolve and help us soon to restore all the liberties to our American dream. Thank you and God bless."   ###   Read More

Palestine Herald Press - Hensarling hosts town hall meeting

2014/08/29

U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling was in Palestine on Thursday for a town hall meeting organized to update – as well as hear from – the citizens of Anderson County regarding actions taken by the House of Representatives over the last few months. During the meeting, held in the Ben E. Keith Community Room, residents were able to voice concerns on current issues and hear from Hensarling on his efforts to hold Washington accountable to the American people. “I’ve come here to find out what’s on your mind,” he said. “We have a government in Washington that has grown too big, too expensive, too powerful, too intrusive, too arrogant, too unaccountable – the rise of what I call agency government – government by the unelected, unaccountable,” he added, “so I’ve got a number of issues that I’m concerned about.” Concerning a question about the country’s “hopeless” state, Hensarling said he had not “lost hope,” and that if our nation would return to the principles of the founding fathers – principles such as “limited government,” for instance – then freedom and prosperity would result. “We have tried every single economic policy that the president asked us to try,” Hensarling said, noting programs like the Dodd-Frank Act and Obamacare. “And we have had the single greatest fiscal and monetary stimulus in the history of the entire United States of America, and we now have the single slowest weakest recovery in the entire history of the United States of America.” Additionally, Hensarling noted issues such as veterans administration making veterans wait too long for needed healthcare. “So we’ve got increasingly a pessimistic populous, because you’re right, they’re wondering, ‘How do we get control over this thing?’” Out of failure however, rises that opportunity to “try something new, (since) this isn’t working,” Hensarling said, adding that “Obamacare is even more unpopular today than when it was passed.” As for the Dodd-Frank Act, “Now all of the sudden, we’re losing free checking, our credit card fees have gone up, the big banks have gotten bigger, the small banks have gotten fewer, and the taxpayer has gotten poorer,” he said. Hensarling then quoted Thomas Jefferson, who said that the people “are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” “And I believe the people are demanding that they get their country back,” he added. Following this statement, a local resident asked if those present could say the pledge of allegiance and pray to which Hensarling obliged. With passage of the Dodd-Frank Act four years ago, in which democrats had a super majority in the House and Senate, according to Hensarling, he said it woul be challenging to overturn until a more accurate narrative of what caused the financial crisis came to light. This was true, he said. “We had a period of deregulation that allowed Wall Street greed to run wild.” In the two decades leading up to the financial crisis, Hensarling said there was an increase in government regulations in which the government created a monopoly “called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” Hensarling described this as institutions privatizing their profits and socializing their losses “which means to put their loss on you,” he said. “What these affordable housing goals did is erode the usual lending standards that had been in in place in our economy for quite some time,” he said, which enabled folks to buy houses they “couldn’t afford to keep.” “Since the passage of Dodd-Frank, the taxpayer has gotten poorer,” he added, “And markets are in worse shape because of the regulatory burden caused by Dodd-Frank.” According to a news release, another issue on many East Texans’ minds is the crisis along Texas’ southern border, which Hensarling has addressed in other town hall meetings. “The surge of illegal crossings along our southern border has become an immigration and humanitarian crisis that was completely avoidable,” Hensarling said. “This crisis was – in large part – created by President Obama overstepping his authority with policies like the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the administration’s deliberate failure to enforce our nation’s immigration laws as passed by Congress. “The flood of unaccompanied minor children (UAC) coming across our southern border is because of – not in spite of – President Obama’s actions.” Hensarling also talked about recent action by the House of Representatives to sue the administration for deliberatively changing the law of the United States without Congressional authorization. “Throughout his time in office, President Obama has repeatedly failed to execute the laws enacted by Congress. The disregard and indifference shown by the president and his administration to respect the constitutional role of the people’s duly elected representatives a clear and potentially permanent threat to the democracy and separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. “The legal standing Congress has to bring suit against the president isn’t something that can be used flippantly anytime it disagrees with his or her actions. However, I believe the breadth and severity of the president’s actions warrant adjudication and resolution through the judicial branch.” These and other issues were discussed during the meeting, at which Hensarling ended on a positive note. He said the people could take back their country. “And I’ve got faith in the American people.” The Ben E. Keith Community Rooom is located at 2019 W. Oak St. Read More

Can Zandt County News-Hensarling says immigrant children should be sent back, Obamacare must end.

2014/08/24

U.S Congressman Jeb Hensarling was in Canton August 19th for a town hall meeting and to update the citizens of Van Zandt County on his continued efforts to hold Washington accountable to the American taxpayer. Several Van Zandt residents wanted to talk about the Texas-Mexico border crisis. “The surge of illegal crossings along our southern border has become an immigration and humanitarian crisis that was completely avoidable.” Hensarling Said. “This crisis was—in large part—created by President Obama overstepping his authority with policies. The flood o unaccompanied minor children coming across the southern border is because of—not in spite of—President Obama’s actions. Perhaps the greatest action President Obama could take to stem the tide of unaccompanied children coming across the border is to go on national television and make it clear that if you come to this nation illegally and are caught, you’ll be sent home, Hensarling said. Hensarling said the children already here should be sent back. “In the short term, the best thing that we can do to stem this immigration problem is to get C-130’s (aircraft) to land in Honduras and Guatemala and unload their children,” he said. “A message would go out loud and clear that they just wasted $6,000 on a human smuggler and put their loved ones in harm’s way for absolutely, positively nothing and that would be the most humane thing to do.” House Republicans must act to curb the problem, Hensarling said. “Sadly the president is not even willing to view the border situation with his own eyes, let alone do something substantive about it. And that is why Republicans have taken action,” he said. “Before adjourning for the august district work period, we passed legislation to end President Obama’s DACA policy, and prevent any future executive actions to grant blanked amnesty or work authorizations for those residing in the U.S illegally. We also passed a bill with strong policy reforms and $694 million in fully offset funding that will increase enforcement of immigration and customs laws; accelerate judicial proceedings to shorten the time between apprehensions and issuance of removal orders; nearly double support for National Guard presence on the border; and fund the care and detention of those already in U.S custody. Van Zandt County residents also wanted Hensarling to hear their views on Obamacare. “We are losing our limited government constitutional government and are being overtaken by bureaucrats for the bureaucrats…. The poor are poor, middle income Americans on an inflation adjusted basis have  less income and less net wealth,” the congressman said. Both the Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt, Hensarling said “But legally, when the mythical social security is finally, fully exploited 20 years from now, there will be 23 to 24 percent cut in social security. Part A will go bankrupt in 12-13 years…. Reports say these programs are unsustainable and they are. Social Security as we know it will not be around for future generations. Obamacare cut a huge chunk out of Medicare in order to pay for Obamacare. There are no plans to give that chunk back.” Hensarling was asked if Obamacare would ever be scrapped. “The short answer is absolutely,” he said. “Not only is it the right and principle thing to do, politically it is the smart thing to do. This program is flat unpopular. We were told this is a program that is going to save taxpayer money and then we later discover it will cost taxpayers $1 trillion dollars.” “We were told that premiums for average, working families would fall by $2,500. Instead it increased by $2,500. We were told that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. I don’t know if there is a polite term for a lie, but the President flat lied to us.” “The vast majority of Obamacare is what we call entitlement, mandatory and automatic spending—well over 90 percent. That is why it is not easily reached by the annual appropriations process.” Read More

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Contact Information

2228 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3484
Fax 202-226-4888
hensarling.house.gov/

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.


Serving With

Louie Gohmert

TEXAS' 1st DISTRICT

Ted Poe

TEXAS' 2nd DISTRICT

Sam Johnson

TEXAS' 3rd DISTRICT

Ralph Hall

TEXAS' 4th DISTRICT

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

John Culberson

TEXAS' 7th DISTRICT

Kevin Brady

TEXAS' 8th DISTRICT

Michael McCaul

TEXAS' 10th DISTRICT

Michael Conaway

TEXAS' 11th DISTRICT

Kay Granger

TEXAS' 12th DISTRICT

Mac Thornberry

TEXAS' 13th DISTRICT

Randy Weber

TEXAS' 14th DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Randy Neugebauer

TEXAS' 19th DISTRICT

Lamar Smith

TEXAS' 21st DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Kenny Marchant

TEXAS' 24th DISTRICT

Roger Williams

TEXAS' 25th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

Blake Farenthold

TEXAS' 27th DISTRICT

John Carter

TEXAS' 31st DISTRICT

Pete Sessions

TEXAS' 32nd DISTRICT

Steve Stockman

TEXAS' 36th DISTRICT

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