Susan Brooks

Susan Brooks


U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks looks back on first term


WASHINGTON – After Susan Brooks was elected to Congress in 2012, political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg said GOP leaders would be nuts not to take advantage of her. "She's personable, articulate and has a good head on her shoulders — exactly what the Republican Party needs," Rothenberg wrote. The party did put Brooks to work. Brooks, of Carmel, was one of only a handful of freshmen to chair a subcommittee. She was appointed to a special panel to investigate the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. And she was assigned to sit in judgment of her new colleagues as a member of the House Ethics Committee, an unenviable assignment that nonetheless shows that House leaders consider her trustworthy. In the next Congress, Brooks will serve on the sought-after House Energy and Commerce Committee with jurisdiction over health, energy and other issues important to business, including the state's influential pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Brooks talked with USA TODAY about her first term and the advantages and responsibilities Republicans will have next year when they will take over the Senate and expand their majority in the House. Question: When you were sworn into office, Congress' approval rating was 14 percent. It's now 16 percent. Is that progress? Answer: Obviously it's not the progress that the American people are hoping for, but the fact that our approval rating is slightly up is a small victory. But it's certainly not satisfactory. Part of why I ran — and one of our themes during the campaign — was trying to restore some confidence in Congress. The fact that only 16 percent of the American people like the way we do our job isn't good enough for me. There were opportunities in my first term that I have tried to take to restore some of that confidence in Congress. One was accepting the appointment to the Ethics Committee. ... That is a type of assignment that actually I hope allows my constituents to realize that members of Congress are certainly not above the law, not above the rules, and that's what this committee is in place to do. Q: How difficult is it to sit in judgment of your colleagues, particularly as a new member? A: It's been helpful to be a part of a deliberative group that works in a very bipartisan way to determine appropriate punishments or to determine whether to close investigations. We work through very, very difficult subjects that affect the reputations of our members and affect their careers, and I think it could set a precedent for how other tough issues are dealt with in Congress. So I've seen that it can be done. Q: Did you ever feel your colleagues treated you differently because you're on the Ethics Committee? A: I have not felt that. Other members feel sorry for those of us who are on the committee because they know it is not an easy assignment. But they often also thank us for doing it because they wouldn't want to do it, honestly. Q: You've been involved in government at the city level (as deputy mayor of Indianapolis) and as a U.S. attorney. What have you learned about this level of government service? A: This has been an entirely new experience. What I've been a bit frustrated about at times is that, as bills are being worked through Congress, things that seem very common sense ... don't always make it through the process. One of my bills, a computer science education act, we're going to try to push again. I've got 120 bipartisan co-sponsors. It's to try and encourage more computer science education in our K-12 system and allow federal dollars to flow more freely to computer science education. I think it's a smart bill, not just for the future, but our schools need it now. Q: You voted with fellow Republicans 97 percent of the time last year and 95 percent of the time this year on votes that split the two parties. How should your constituents who are Democrats view that record? A: While yes, the Republican Party may have voted that way as a party, we are trying to promote an agenda that is positive for all American people, whether they're Republican, Democrat, independents and those who don't vote. We're trying to take up policies led by a Republican-led House that truly have benefits across all political spectrums. Most of the votes that we take up are very focused on promoting jobs and the economy, global competitiveness, national security issues, ensuring we have a strong military — these are the types of things that are behind our votes. Q: Your biggest split with most House Republicans was on your vote last year to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a default on the nation's debt. There was a lot of pressure to vote against the deal by conservative groups that target Republicans in primaries. How difficult was it for you to vote for it? A: It was an important vote. I felt that we had fought and had tried to put up votes prior to that vote to demonstrate what we knew was our constituents' unhappiness with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. But at the end of the day, to be honest, the government shutdown period was very much a low point in governing for me during my first term. I wish it hadn't happened. But it did happen. Certainly, the Republican Party did not get from that shutdown what they were hoping, which were some concessions in the Affordable Care Act. ... I felt that my constituents wanted me to vote to reopen the government and not to default on the debt. Q: There's a view that the Republican Party is divided between the "purist" wing and the "pragmatist" wing. Is that a fair description? A: I do think there are splits within our conference and within the party that are often demonstrated on some of these tougher votes. That's an interesting way to describe how and why people vote. I think at the end of the day, particularly with respect to the Republican conference, we want the same things. We want to lower our country's debt. We want to keep the country safe. We want jobs and the economy to be strong. But I think we have a difference in how we get there. Q: You were appointed to the House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The panel will continue its investigation next year, even though the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee concluded last month that the Obama administration responded appropriately to the attacks. Why should this probe continue? A: The House Intelligence Committee's report was actually only focused on the intelligence part of the administration's role. It did not address the State Department's role or the White House's role ... so that's why our work is continuing. It really will heat up again beginning with a hearing in January. I think you will begin to see more regular hearings than what we've had thus far because there still are many questions that remain. Q: Your biggest committee assignment next year will be the Energy and Commerce Committee. Have you already started hearing from businesses, particularly those in Indiana, about issues they want the committee to address? A: Absolutely. I have heard from the health care community. ... Repeal of the medical device tax (included in the Affordable Care Act) is significant for the state of Indiana. That is a top priority. I have also heard from the energy sector ... (which) is very excited about my placement on the committee as well. I'm also on the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee. With Indiana being one of the top manufacturing states in the country, I'm anxious to talk to a lot of manufacturers ... (to find out) what are the regulatory issues, what are the tax issues, that are impeding their growth? Q: You've also already started working on mental health issues. Is there a reason that's a priority for you? A: From the time I started the practice of law in 1985, and my extensive background in the criminal justice system, so much of what the criminal justice system deals with stems from mental health issues. ... We look at many of the mass shootings, we look at many of the crime issues in this country — particularly one-on-one, whether it's domestic violence crimes, whether it's anything often involving hostages. These often have at their root mental health issues, and we don't identify them early enough, we don't then deal with them, we don't give the families the tools they need to deal with them. It's something that I think is going to get more and more attention, and I'm pleased to be a part of it. Q: On a personal note, how have you settled into Washington? I understand you furnished your apartment with leftovers from your daughter's dorm room. A: Yes, but here's what's so funny. I'm moving apartments because they've raised my rent a few times. It's a very expensive city to live in. So I'm moving to another studio apartment to try to save a little money. So that furniture is moving with me. Q: Did you go to the White House holiday reception for members of Congress? A: I did. My niece, who is sharing my studio apartment with me right now, as she's job-searching, was my guest. We had a lovely time. It was really fun. Q: Did you have any bipartisan holiday wishes for the president? A: Well, I thanked him for his service to the country, but because my niece had graduated from the University of Chicago ... I think they were excited to have a University of Chicago young person standing there more than me. (The president lived in Chicago before his move to the White House in 2009). Q: What do you expect will happen in your next term, after Republicans take charge of the Senate and expand their majority in the House? A: I'm very confident that we can work together to really govern responsibly, and I'm excited about the 114th Congress, in large part because of that. I see that we can get things done, and with Republican leadership in the Senate, I'm excited about the possibilities. But with the opportunity comes that responsibility. We have to do it. And shame on us if we don't. Read More

Susan Brooks: Committee's record of success fuels growth, innovation


As your representative in Congress, my goal is to make life better for you. I came to Congress to be a problem solver and consensus builder — to increase the number of opportunities open to Hoosiers and to all Americans. That’s why I’m looking forward to serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the 114th Congress. This impactful committee is focused on indentifying solutions that will make us stronger and more secure as a state and as a nation. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the oldest standing committee in Congress. It has a broad jurisdiction that includes oversight of policies related to health care, energy, manufacturing, telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, environmental quality and trade.   Under the leadership of Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan, in the 113th Congress, the committee has passed 90 bills in a bipartisan fashion and has seen 37 of those bills signed into law by the president. In the next Congress, it will build on this bipartisan record of success by addressing several pressing matters, including: • How the U.S. can spur a new era of medical innovation that prolongs and saves lives; • How we can work together to unleash our nation’s energy abundance and attract new energy jobs; • How we can make government more efficient and more prepared to promote and safeguard the well-being of our citizens. All of these questions are intrinsically connected to goals 5th District Hoosiers have spoken to me about time and again: health care reform, job creation, energy security and government accountability. The Energy and Commerce Committee has already taken several powerful steps to address these concerns, and many others. On health care, its bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative is focused on maintaining and extending America’s edge in medical innovation by finding new and improved treatments for some of our most devastating diseases. This collaborative endeavor will bridge the gap between the science of cures and the way we regulate them by carefully examining the three stages of bringing new treatments to market: discovery, development and delivery. Through an extensive information-gathering and outreach process, the hope is to identify real policy changes that can extend and save lives. On energy, the committee is working to build the Architecture of Abundance needed to harness the benefits of our rich energy resources. The committee has fought tirelessly for the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project with wide bipartisan backing that will support up to 40,000 jobs and produce 830,000 barrels of domestic oil each day. Construction of the pipeline, and other energy infrastructure projects, will also make gas and electricity more affordable for Indiana families and will mean more equipment orders for our many Hoosier manufacturers. Legislation authorizing construction of the pipleline originated in the Energy and Commerce Committee and has been passed by a bipartisan margin in the U.S. House. On the oversight front, committee members have been consistent and powerful advocates for taxpayers, working to identify and fix government waste, fraud and abuse. As we seek to lower our $18 trillion national debt and confront mounting national security and public health challenges, this mission is more critical than ever. Our government can and should be more efficient and accountable. As the committee continues its oversight work, I will use my experience as a former federal prosecutor and current member of the House Ethics Committee to contribute to this effort. I’m also proud that my friend and colleague, Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Indiana, will be joining the Energy and Commerce Committee as well. I look forward to working with him to be a voice for Hoosiers as we collaborate with our colleagues on vital legislation. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit to learn more about the committee’s history, role and work. I want to hear your thoughts on the issues we’re tackling. It’s an honor to serve my fellow Hoosiers, and I will take on this new assignment with a keen focus on making a positive impact in your lives and jump-starting a new era of growth and innovation for our nation.       Rep. Susan W. Brooks represents Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, which includes eastern Howard and much of Tipton counties. Contact her at 202-225-2276. Read More

Brooks Statement on Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill


Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) released the following statement after voting in favor of the fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations bill: “This legislation keeps the government open while further securing the savings negotiated in the Ryan-Murray budget deal. The House of Representatives has outlined and provided for clear and smart priorities such as national defense, veteran services, public health and education. It has also taken a stand against burdensome federal bureaucracies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) whose regulations mean less jobs and higher bills for Hoosiers. Since the Department of Homeland Security is only funded through February of 2015, the next Congress is provided additional opportunity to explore options for holding this Administration accountable for unlawful executive actions on immigration.”    Funding for government agencies is divided between 12 appropriations bills. The omnibus funds the government through September of 2015 by passing 11 of these 12 appropriations bills. Seven of these bills were previously passed by the House after receiving more than 79 hours of debate. Funding for the Department of Homeland Security is provided through a Continuing Resolution that will sunset on February 27, 2015. Key pieces of the omnibus include a one percent pay raise for members of the armed forces, additional funding for military readiness and more resources to better serve patients in the VA hospital system. Vital funding is also supplied to fight Ebola at home and abroad while the maximum PELL grant for higher education students is raised to $5,830. The omnibus cuts EPA funding for the 5th year in a row, reduces funding for Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board by $10 million and prevents the Army Corps from regulating farm ponds and irrigation ditches under the Clean Water Act. To learn more about the legislation, click here.    Read More

Brooks to Join Allisonville Elementary Students for Hour of Code


Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) will celebrate Computer Science Education Week by joining Allisonville Elementary School students for their “Hour of Code” event on Friday, December 12, 2014 from 1:15 – 2:15 PM. The “Hour of Code” challenges students and adults of all ages to take a one hour computer coding tutorial. So far 64,700,940 individuals in over 180 countries have participated. The Congresswoman will address a group of 5th grade students before joining them for their official “Hour of Code.” She has introduced the Computer Science Education Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, bipartisan legislation aiming to increase computer science education opportunities for students in k-12 classrooms across the nation. For more information about the Hour of Code, please visit:  Computer Science Education Week runs from December 8-14, 2014. Visit to learn more.    WHO:  Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5)              Allisonville Elementary School administrators, educators and students WHAT: Hour of Code WHERE: Allisonville Elementary School                4900 East 79th Street                Indianapolis, IN 46250 WHEN: Friday, December 12 from 1:15 – 2:15 PM      Read More

Brooks Celebrates Computer Science Education Week


Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) released the following statement in recognition of Computer Science Education Week:  “Right now, students and educators across the nation are celebrating Computer Science Education Week. This is a perfect time to ignite a passion for innovation, learning and technology in our youngest generation of Americans. In today’s world, computer science transcends industries and opens doors to all kinds of new and exciting occupations. I hope more students will take an active interest in computer science and encourage their classmates to do so as well.  This week is also a time to renew our push for more computer science education opportunities in our K-12 classrooms. I’m proud to have introduced the bipartisan Computer Science Education Act, which will redefine computer science as a core academic subject in our federal education laws. Doing so will give local school leaders more flexibility to purchase new technology, provide vital educator professional development and offer more Computer Science Advanced Placement classes. As our nation prepares to fill millions of new computing jobs, we must remove barriers that prevent students from learning 21st century skills. This is critical to unleashing the unlimited potential of America’s workforce.”  Computer Science Education Week runs from December 8 – 14, 2014. For more information, please visit: The Computer Science Education Act – House Resolution 2536 – was introduced in June of 2013 and has 120 cosponsors. For more information on the legislation, click here.  Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana. She is the Congressional Co-Chair of the Women’s High Tech Coalition (WHTC). Visit to learn more.   Read More

Brooks Comments on Obama Administration’s Decision to Extend Talks with Iran


Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) made the following comments on the extension of U.S. led negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program: “I am deeply concerned about the precedent the Obama Administration’s second extension of talks with Iranian leadership sets, and worry about what message this decision sends to both our allies abroad and the Mullahs in Iran. The Iranian economy has already markedly improved since the talks began, and providing an additional $700 million a month in relief will only further weaken our negotiating position while allowing this State Sponsor of Terrorism to push closer toward a nuclear weapon. This indecisive action is unacceptable and directly undermines our strategic interests and those of our allies.  More pressure, not less, is needed to make it abundantly clear that America will not accept a nuclear armed Iran under any condition, and that we will not sacrifice our commitment to human rights or abandon our fight against terrorism for short term political expediency.” Read More

Brooks: GOP must show it can govern


ANDERSON — Republicans have to demonstrate to the American people that they can govern in a manner that will benefit all Americans, according to U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District. Brooks won election to a second term in the U.S. House on Nov. 4 with 65 percent of the vote in the 5th District, which includes all of Madison County.   During the off-year election, the Republican Party strengthened its majority in the U.S. House and gained control of the U.S. Senate. During a telephone interview with The Herald Bulletin, Brooks said that the GOP-controlled Congress has to remind the American people that they are not going to give in to everything requested by President Barack Obama. “There will be tension because of the significant oversight of the executive branch by the Congress,” she said. “We have to make sure that the administration through the federal agencies doesn’t pass rules and regulations that are hurting America.” Brooks said what legislation is passed through 2016 will depend on how willing Obama is to work with the Republican Party. “We are preparing for next year,” she said of when the GOP takes control of both houses of the Congress. “We’re on the same calendar as the Senate. The leadership is working together, which is good for the American people.” She said bills passed in the House will get a hearing in the Senate and won’t be delayed as has been the case in the past few years. Legislation that Brooks expects to be considered early in 2015 is the Keystone Pipeline, which she said has bipartisan support in the House. The bill was defeated in the Senate last week by one vote. “This is a pro-jobs, pro-economy bill,” she said. Brooks expects the Republican-controlled Congress to tackle tax reform, with Rep. Paul Ryan leading the effort. “He (Ryan) brokered the deal with the Senate Democrats that ended the government shutdown,” she said. “He has a good track record.” Brooks said one area of tax reform that will benefit Indiana is the repeal of the medical device tax, a part of the Affordable Care Act. She expects changes in the Affordable Care Act but was unsure if there would be one bill to repeal Obamacare or individual bills making changes to the law. “We will try to repeal it again,” Brooks said. “But we have to have a replacement plan attached to it.” Brooks said people are starting to see increases in health insurance premiums. “This was not a good piece of legislation for the American people,” she said of the president’s landmark legislation. Brooks said a change will be a return to the 40-hour, full-time work week, which she said cost people money by employers cutting their hours to 30 hours a week. Any replacement legislation has to include provisions for people with pre-existing conditions and for allowing a child to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26, she said. Brooks said a high priority will be national security with the continued growth of the Islamic State terrorist group, Ebola and the nuclear capabilities of Iran. “We’re still waiting on the president to conclude negotiations with Iran,” she said. “There is also concern about Russian aggression in the Ukraine. “This is serious times for national security,” Brooks said. “We want to have a strong military and no terrorists in our midst.” Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863. Read More

Hundred attend memorial for Indiana aid worker


INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana aid worker beheaded by Islamic State militants in Syria was praised for his humanitarian work Sunday during a memorial service attended by hundreds that included readings from the Bible and the Quran. Peter Kassig, who took the first name Abdul-Rahman after converting to Islam during captivity, was remembered as a good man, son, student and volunteer who dedicated himself to helping others and lived a short but full life. "We're not here because of how he passed," said Hazem Bata, executive director Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield. "We're because of how he lived. We're here because of the type of man he chose to be. We're here because of his selflessness." The 26-year-old Indianapolis man was captured last year in eastern Syria while delivering relief supplies to refugees of Syria's civil war. Kassig, a former U.S. Army ranger who had served in Iraq in 2007, had returned to the Mideast in 2012 and founded a relief organization to help war victims. His parents, Ed and Paula Kassig of Indianapolis, learned of their son's capture last year, but did not disclose his c0.0aptivity while family and friends quietly worked to secure his release. In October, their son appeared in another video released by the Islamic State group that showed the beheading of a fellow aid worker, Britain's Alan Henning. The militants vowed that Kassig would be next, leading his parents to plead publicly for mercy while stressing his humanitarian work and conversion to Islam. The Muslim community rallied around them, participating in prayer vigils and rallies urging his captors to follow the Quran's teachings that prohibit Muslims from killing other Muslims. Speakers at Sunday's 80-minute service at Clowes Hall at Butler University, which Kassig briefly attended before moving to the Middle East, praised him for his humanitarian work and urged others to use his life as inspiration. "Our hearts broke with the news of not only his death, but the brutal and barbaric way in which it occurred," said the Rev. Bill Hoopes, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, which the Kassig family attends. "Many of us had hoped deeply that Peter would be the exception. That he would be the one his captors would be set free." Hoopes challenged those at the service to do more than pray that those who killed Kassig and Syrian President Bashar Assad be brought to justice. Among those attending the service were Gov. Mike Pence, Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats, Rep. Susan Brooks and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Donnelly said he never met Kassig, but said over recent months of meeting Kassig's parents and friends feels he got to know Kassig's spirit. "It's the spirit of believing things can get better. That together we can make a difference," Donnelly said. "He was an extraordinary in every way." Read more at Read More

Brooks Statement on President Obama’s Executive Action


Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) released the following statement in reaction to this evening’s immigration executive action announcement from President Obama:  “I remain committed to effective and lasting immigration reform that fixes a clearly broken system. But we must do this through a collaborative process that allows everyone to make their voices heard rather than the ‘go it alone’ approach outlined by President Obama this evening. This is not how a representative government should work. Tonight, the President directly contradicted his own previous statements to the American people on the role of Congress and the executive branch in altering our nation’s immigration laws. We must now explore both legislative and legal options to ensure the White House does not exceed its constitutional authority.”  Read More

Brooks Named to Energy and Commerce Committee


Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN5) released the following statement today regarding her selection to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 114th Congress:   “The Energy and Commerce Committee has broad jurisdiction over issues of significant importance to all Americans and particularly in the sectors of health care, energy, telecommunications and manufacturing.  Under Chairman Fred Upton’s leadership, the committee has a proven track record of bipartisan success. I look forward to serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 114th Congress as we work to grow our economy, increase energy production and promote medical innovation.  I am also extremely pleased to be serving on this committee with my friend and colleague, Representative Larry Bucshon (R-IN8). It’s great news for the state of Indiana to have two Hoosiers on this impactful committee.” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI-6) released the following statement congratulating Congresswoman Brooks: “I am excited to welcome Congresswoman Brooks to the Energy and Commerce Committee. Her diverse background, strong work ethic and ability to build consensus will serve our team well. We are going to hit the ground running next year as we continue our efforts to create jobs, promote life-saving cures, unleash America’s energy abundance, protect families, and foster growth in this new era of innovation.” For more information on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, go to: Read More

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Contact Information

1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2276
Fax 202-225-0016

Congresswoman Susan Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight diverse counties throughout the central part of the Hoosier State. As a new member of Congress, she currently serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees. She is also the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.

Her strong background in both the public and private sectors includes experience as a proven difference maker in areas such as public safety, homeland security, counter-terrorism and economic development.

Before joining the House of Representatives, Susan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ivy Tech Community College. Collaborating with a wide network or stakeholders, she implemented workforce development strategies aiming to enhance job training and placement for thousands of Hoosier residents.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Susan as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer for a majority of the Hoosier state, she received bi-partisan acclaim for efforts to battle mortgage fraud, gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, child exploitation and identity theft.

Susan also earned recognition as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis during the Steve Goldsmith administration, where she provided oversight on public safety operations and drove community dialogue on vital civic issues. Over her tenure, she managed police, fire and emergency response efforts while serving on boards related to criminal justice, community corrections, violence reduction and race relations.

Susan practiced law at the Indianapolis firm of Ice Miller and also served as a criminal defense attorney for Indianapolis based McClure, McClure and Kammen.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Susan pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In May of 2013, Susan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Marian University in Indianapolis. She resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband David and they have two young adult children.

Serving With

Jackie Walorski


Marlin Stutzman


Todd Rokita


Luke Messer


Larry Bucshon


Todd Young


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