7:00pm: Delafield Town Hall Meeting
Delafield Town Hall, W302N1254 Maple Ave, Delafield, WI 53018
*This meeting was originally scheduled for Sunday, September 24thRead More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) honored Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner with its “Taxpayers’ Friend Award” for his strong voting record on supporting lower taxes, limited government, and economic freedom.
Sensenbrenner has received this award every year since he came to Congress and is one of only 15 total House Members to receive it for their outstanding voting record during the 2016 congressional session.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I have worked my entire career to help lower taxes and reduce onerous government regulations on businesses because ensuring our country has a thriving economic environment in which bureaucratic overreaches are put in check is critical to our success here in Wisconsin and throughout the nation.
“I want to thank the National Taxpayers Union for this recognition and for their ongoing work to hold Members of Congress accountable. I also want to assure my constituents that I will continue to work on behalf of comprehensive tax reform and initiatives that will promote economic freedom and growth.”NTU has recognized Members of Congress since 1979 who annually earn high voting scores to qualify them for the “Taxpayers’ Friend Award.” See NTU’s full 2016 congressional scorecard and further analysis here. Read More
Many Americans have gotten sick and tired of the partisanship and dysfunction they see in government. They feel that rather than working together to find real solutions to issues facing hard-working Americans, elected officials seize every opportunity to disparage their political counterparts. Instead of being accountable to their constituents, they stay in Washington to attend high-profile parties and events and are consumed by D.C. squabbles.
While that might be accurate for some members of Congress, some of us still work hard to take the responsibility of public service seriously. Bipartisanship and accountability not only still exist in Congress, but are the keys to political and legislative success.
Despite today’s hyper-partisan political climate, we have made cooperation a priority. Earlier this year, The Lugar Center, in cooperation with Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, released its annual report on bipartisan Members of Congress. We ranked 19th and 65th out of 435 Members in the 114th Congress; 18th and 59th in the 113th Congress.
Between the two of us, we have sponsored more than 20 pieces of bipartisan legislation so far this year, including the AFFIRM Act and the National Scenic Trails Parity Act, which we sponsored together. We’ve also held close to 100 town hall meetings to date in 2017 and can be found in our districts nearly every day we’re not voting in Washington.
Wisconsin is a unique place. Our people are hardworking, pragmatic and kind. Our state is neither politically blue nor red — it is purple with a long history of formative leaders representing both parties. Wisconsin is a political anomaly. It makes sense, then, that its leaders should have a common-sense, bipartisan approach to problem-solving. Together, residents of the Badger State have created a culture of respect and appreciation for one another. That’s the tradition that we — as Wisconsin Representatives — strive every day to honor and continue.
The people of Wisconsin are our No. 1 priority and the driving force behind our work in Congress. And although we each hold different ideological beliefs, we understand that to pass legislation that will solve the problems facing our constituents — and all Americans — we must find ways to bridge the political divide and compromise.
Disagreements over legislation, implementation and fundamental beliefs will never change. But despite such differences, it is possible to find common ground, because at the heart of every issue is the desire to find solutions that make life better for every American.
We believe that good policy requires input from all sides, and continuing open discussions on the problems we face will enable us as a nation to find real solutions. The process is never easy — sometimes it’s contentious — but if we listen and respect one another, we’re confident that at the end of the day, we will find ourselves in a better place than where we began.
That’s what we’re working toward every day, and it’s what we hope our colleagues —both in the Wisconsin delegation and in the Congress as a whole — will work toward as well. Bipartisanship isn’t dead, and if we embrace it with clear eyes and full hearts, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.
Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican, represents Wisconsin's fifth district in Congress. Ron Kind, a Democrat, represents the state's third district.
View this piece online here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner submitted the following statement to the congressional record in recognition of Dr. Kenneth K. Lee, a combat-injured Operation Iraqi Freedom and Army veteran. Lee, a native of Brookfield, WI, was named the 2017 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).
Full text provided below:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Dr. Kenneth K. Lee, a combat-injured Operation Iraqi Freedom and Army veteran, who has been named by Disabled American Veterans (DAV) as its 2017 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year.
Dr. Lee, who deployed as the commander of the Army's Company B, 118th Area Support Medical Battalion, was injured in November 2004 by a suicide car bomber in Iraq. The explosion resulted in an open head traumatic brain injury and severe shrapnel wounds to his legs, leading to his evacuation back to the states, where he would later be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
While recovering from his injuries, Dr. Lee, a rehabilitation specialist, saw how long and difficult recovery could be, often leaving lasting changes. Dr. Lee, who resides in Brookfield, Wisconsin, is a volunteer physician at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, which the Department of Veterans Affairs and DAV co-host, so he was no stranger to using adaptive sports as therapy.
Through his own recovery, Dr. Lee propelled himself into the world of adaptive sports to help him deal with the psychological and physiological effects that can often times cause an individual to hit bottom.
Within a year of Dr. Lee's retirement in 2013, he formed the Milwaukee Wheelchair Lacrosse team and is now the president of the Wisconsin Adaptive Sports Association, which runs numerous adaptive sports programs.
On July 29, 2017, DAV National Commander David W. Riley presented Dr. Lee with the Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year award at the organization's 96th National Convention. In his statement, Riley praised Dr. Lee as a shining example of everything that is good about our nation and its veterans. He noted that the compassion Dr. Lee shows for other veterans and his work to help them find success is truly the hallmark of the award, and DAV is very proud of what he's doing for this community. Given the importance and therapeutic effectiveness of adaptive sports, it is vital to have experienced leaders like Dr. Lee involved and carving out a path forward.
Despite his injuries and the constant pain in his lower extremities, Dr. Lee speaks with gratitude about his time in the Army. He will tell you that he got a lot more from the Guard than he put into it, and that he joined the military with his eyes wide open and has no regrets.
Dr. Lee and his wife Kate currently live in Brookfield with their two children. In 2014, his daughter Leah earned a $10,000 scholarship by volunteering for the DAV at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. On the same day that Dr. Lee was honored as DAV's Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year, his son Jonathan earned the charity's largest scholarship of $20,000, and was honored the same morning. They both hope ultimately to serve veterans as physicians through the VA.
You can view the statement online here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Sixteen years ago, radical terrorists attacked our nation and killed thousands of our fellow Americans. The devastating repercussions of September 11, 2001 are still felt, but from tragedy rose strength, compassion for our fellow man, and a bond that washed away our differences and united us all as American citizens. Today, we continue to mourn the lives lost and pray for their families and friends who are struggling, and support our service men and women who answered the call of duty in defense of our nation. We unite in remembrance and move forward together because that is the American way.”Read More
9:00am: Hartford Town Hall Meeting
109 North Main Street Hartford, WI 53027
1:00pm: Elm Grove Town Hall Meeting
13600 Juneau Blvd. Elm Grove, WI 53122Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) released its 7th annual “No-Brainers” list, which highlights common sense, bipartisan legislation that solves real problems facing the American taxpayer. Among the 10 bills highlighted is H.R.2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017.
Introduced by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner earlier this year, the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017 would codify the principle that businesses must be physically present in a state before it is lawful to tax or regulate them.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Over-taxation and regulatory burdens weigh heavy on American businesses. These practices prohibit economic growth, stunt hiring, and make it harder for businesses to expand. My bill helps alleviate these burdens by reducing overregulation and keeping government overreaches in check. I want to thank the National Taxpayers Union for highlighting this legislation, which would be a strong ally of small businesses and the American taxpayer.”In addition to the National Taxpayers Union, the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017 is supported by: Council for Citizens Against Government Waste; Net-Choice; National Taxpayers Union; Software Finance and Tax Executives Council; Overstock; Electronic Retailing Association; Americans for Tax Reform; American Catalog Mailers Association. Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement regarding the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The Obama administration overstepped its authority when it enacted the DACA program. I believe the proper way to address our nation’s immigration policy is through the legislative process. It is important that we get our immigration laws right.
“The complex challenges faced by DACA beneficiaries will not be solved overnight, and they certainly won’t be solved by executive order. When the Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi was unable to solve the immigration problem unilaterally. This led to the Obama administration’s DACA program, which Obama himself said was temporary.
“The President has given Congress six months to act, and I believe that we must not only take serious action to address the complicated issues surrounding the DACA program, but also border security and enforcement of our laws. Nothing will be done without compromise from both sides of the immigration debate.
“Moving forward, I will continue to work with my congressional colleagues to enact long-term immigration reform through the legislative process, which does not give amnesty to illegal immigrants.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement in support of Speaker Paul Ryan’s efforts in Wisconsin and nationwide:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “During a town hall meeting in Racine, Speaker Ryan reiterated to his constituents last night – and the entire nation – his commitment to finding solutions for America’s most pressing issues, as well as his dedication to working cohesively across Congress in order to make our nation better for all Americans.
“From his first day in office to his rise to the Speakership, Paul has remained earnest, hard-working, and driven to help people. His determination to enact serious legislation, such as reforming our broken tax and health care systems, as well as protect our national security and advocate on behalf of our nation’s most vulnerable, is inspiring and serves as a constant reminder of why Members of Congress are sent to Washington in the first place – to serve the people.
“I’m eager to continue working with the Speaker to help the people of Wisconsin and our country, and move forward on smart, common sense legislation that will help keep America strong and prosperous for generations to come.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner issued the following statement upon the signing of the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 into law:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The passage of the Rapid DNA Act will help law enforcement carry out their duties more quickly, efficiently, and accurately. This revolutionary technology will help identify arrestees and offenders, reduce the overwhelming backlog in forensic DNA analysis, and streamline crime fighting efforts while helping to prevent future crimes from occurring, saving time and taxpayer dollars in the process. I’m thankful to President Trump, as well as my colleagues in the House and Senate, for moving forward on this common sense legislation, which will help millions of Americans nationwide.”
The Rapid DNA Act would establish a system for the integration of Rapid DNA instruments for use by law enforcement to help reduce the DNA backlog. Unlike traditional DNA analysis, which can take weeks, Rapid DNA analysis permits processing of DNA samples in approximately 90 minutes or less.
This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way in which arrested individuals are enrolled in the criminal justice system, shorten the time required for their DNA to be linked to unsolved crimes, and expedite the exoneration of innocent suspects by giving law enforcement officials a new system that meets FBI quality assurance standards to compare DNA samples collected at the time of an arrest to profiles in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement regarding the horrific acts of violence perpetrated in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: "What happened in Charlottesville goes against the principles of this nation and everything I've worked for during my time in Congress. The freedoms given in this country should never be abused to incite violence or spread hate and prejudice. It's my hope that as Americans, we can all come together to denounce bigotry in all its forms."Read More
Since 2010, Republicans have seen the writing on the wall about Obamacare. We knew the dangers it posed to the public. We understood how it would lead to skyrocketing premiums, decrease the quality of care, and leave millions of Americans with fewer, less-desirable healthcare options. That's why for the past seven years, we've fought against this disastrous law.
We made promises to our constituents that we would repeal and replace Obamacare. We assured them that relief was on the way.
That's why it seems unfathomable that when the moment came to save millions of Americans from the burdens placed upon them by the failures of Obamacare, a small minority of my Republican colleagues caved under outside pressure and broke their promises.
Obamacare is failing. Despite the fact that Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., wisely rejected weaving the Obamacare exchanges into the fabric of the state's health insurance market, Wisconsin is still feeling the pain of this terrible law. Earlier this year, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced it would pull out of the exchanges. Just last week, Molina Healthcare also announced its departure, making it the sixth health insurer to leave Wisconsinites with fewer options since Obamacare's implementation.
Thousands of Wisconsinites will now be left without their preferred health insurance plans by the end of 2017 and will struggle to find affordable, quality coverage for themselves and their families.
Wisconsin is not alone.
Several counties in Arizona have seen the steepest health insurance premiums in the country. Major health insurers, including UnitedHealthCare and Humana pulled out of the state, and others have significantly decreased their coverage. Last year, drastic premium increases left one Arizona county without any health insurance options, and only two insurance companies offering individual plans through the Obamacare exchanges in the state have committed to continue selling plans in 2018.
In Alaska – one of the most expensive states in the country – individual health insurance premiums increased to nearly 40 percent after Obamacare went into effect. The incredible costs led to all but one health insurance company to leave the market. It has also caused enrollment in the exchanges to drop significantly, from approximately 23,000 last year to just more than 19,000 this year according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
On the other side of the country in Maine, health insurance premiums may increase up to an astounding 40 percent on average by next year. All three of the state's providers have detailed steep hikes that would impact more than 100,000 people on the individual exchanges.
These are just a few examples of the overwhelming deterioration of a law that was fated to collapse the healthcare system from its outset.
The House of Representatives moved forward this year with the American Health Care Act, legislation born from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's Better Way agenda, which would have provided people with more choices at lower costs. The plan expanded Health Savings Accounts and created new tax credits to help people buy insurance at affordable prices. It protected access for individuals with pre-existing conditions, allowed those aged 26 and younger to remain on their parents' plans, and reformed and strengthened Medicaid to help those who needed it most.
Ryan and House Republicans kept their promises. They passed the AHCA -- smart legislation that would put Americans, not government, in control of their healthcare.
Unfortunately, the Senate could not do the same.
Despite ongoing reports of the breakdown of Obamacare in their states and states throughout the country, a small group of Republican Senators refused to stand up and vote for the best interests of their constituents and Americans nationwide. Rather than fulfilling the promises they made and honoring the commitments they guaranteed, they succumbed to the political pressures of Washington and failed their constituents.
However, it's not too late to change course.
The Senate can still move forward with repeal and replace measures that will give people the hand up they desperately need and put our health insurance system back on track.
Obamacare is failing and Americans are paying the price. With the future of our nation's health at stake, members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, must remember why they were sent to Washington in the first place.
View this piece online here.Read More
By: Clark Packard and Peter O'Rourke, contributors to the Washington Examiner
Nearly 230 years after the Constitution's ratification, we are still debating the limits of power granted to the states to tax and regulate.
Should California have the power to prohibit the sale of pork from out-of-state producers if the pigs were born to sows housed in gestation stalls? Should Massachusetts have the authority to prohibit the sale of out-of-state eggs if the hens were housed in battery cages? Should Colorado have the ability to mandate that at least 20 percent of the electricity imported into the state from out-of-state producers comes from renewable sources?
Curbing potentially inhumane farming practices and promoting clean energy may be worthwhile policy goals, but under our Constitution, the states lack the power to regulate business practices beyond their borders. Congress has power over interstate commerce, making it the appropriate venue for achieving these goals.
That's not to say states lack authority to set appropriate farming practices or target climate change. Colorado, for instance, could require that all electricity producers in the Centennial State use at least 20 percent renewable sources, but it cannot condition the ability of out-of-state producers to sell electricity in the state on those renewable targets.
Perhaps the most contentious question raised in this area of law in recent years is whether states have the authority to collect tax from out-of-state businesses that have no physical presence in the state. With the rise of the internet and online commerce, states continue to try to compel out-of-state companies to report and submit sales taxes owed by residents, despite Supreme Court precedent prohibiting such requirements. The ability to compel tax collection necessarily implies the ability to audit out-of-state companies. Do we really want to empower tax auditors in one state to comb through the books of companies located in other states?
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law pondered that question in a July 25 hearing on H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act. Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the bill would codify in statute that states can only tax or regulate entities engaged in interstate commerce that have a genuine physical presence within their borders. Unfortunately, this measure is needed because states continue to violate the guidelines set out by the Constitution's Commerce Clause.
The Constitution's basic construction is clear: States are free to regulate the rules of the road for wholly intrastate business practices and tax wholly intrastate transactions. Where commerce flows beyond state borders, Congress, not state legislatures or regulatory authorities, is given exclusive authority to regulate.
This framework isn't an accident. A primary weakness of the Articles of Confederation was that the federal government lacked the power to pre-empt state authority. This proved unworkable. By contrast, one of the geniuses of the constitutional framework is that the founders essentially established a free-trade zone among the states, with Congress as the ultimate arbiter of the rules of commerce between states.
Not only does this framework make practical sense—prohibiting a balkanized taxing and regulatory regime from overly burdening business practices—but it is consistent with democratic norms. In short, overzealous states may not threaten out-of-state parties who have no say in the process by which the rules are written. That's why Congress is the proper venue to resolve disputes about state efforts to tax online sales, set regulatory standards for sow pens and chicken cages, or the sale of electricity across state lines. Every adult in America can participate in the democratic process and congressional deliberations.
Sensenbrenner's bill would make a number of sensible changes that would properly balance the Constitution's respect for federalism and the Commerce Clause's demands. The bill would essentially mandate that a state can tax or regulate a person's activity when the person is physically present in a state and spells out reasonable parameters for how to define that physical presence.
If Congress fails to pass the No Regulation Without Representation Act or similar legislation, states will continue to push to tax and regulate beyond their borders. This will inevitably result in costly litigation and a confusing patchwork of rules and levies that must be sorted out in the courts. Congress can and should act to protect our existing constitutional framework.
Clark Packard is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is an outreach manager and policy analyst for the R Street Institute. Peter O'Rourke is a summer intern with the R Street Institute.
View this piece online here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) sent the following letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to express concerns and objections to his proposal to expand the Department of Justice’s civil asset forfeiture program. The letter also urges AG Sessions to reconsider his newly-announced policies.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Expanding the federal civil asset forfeiture program is a step in the wrong direction and I urge Attorney General Sessions and his Department of Justice to reconsider. I am a supporter of criminal asset forfeiture – the seizure of property after the conviction of crime—but with civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement has a direct economic incentive to take people’s property without ever even charging them with a crime. We need to add more due process to forfeiture proceedings. Expanding forfeiture without increasing protections is, in my view, unconstitutional and wrong.”
Congressman Conyers: “I am deeply disappointed by the Justice Department’s recent move to reverse its ban on adoptive seizures. The prior policy, which was instituted in January of 2015, greatly curtailed this practice, which provides financial incentives for law enforcement to seize the property – including the homes – of individuals who may not even be guilty of a crime. I call on Senator Sessions to withdraw the new policy, which is contrary to the growing bipartisan effort to reform our civil forfeiture laws and practices. Indeed, the time has come for Congress to enact the DUE PROCESS Act, a bipartisan bill to significantly alter these laws and increase protections for innocent property owners.”
Full text provided below:
Dear Attorney General Sessions:
We write to express strong objections to your decision to reverse the Department of Justice’s policies curtailing adoptive seizures. Under this process, state and local law enforcement can receive up to 80 percent of forfeiture proceeds for simply transferring seized property to federal authorities to pursue forfeiture under federal law.
This practice has been criticized as a “bounty” system because it perversely incentivizes state and local law enforcement to seize the property of individuals who may not even be guilty of a crime. Furthermore, in states that restrict civil forfeiture, the policy raises serious federalism concerns by allowing state law enforcement to pursue forfeiture in circumvention of protections provided by state law.
The prior policy issued in January 2015 substantially curtailed adoptive forfeitures. In announcing your decision to reverse these reforms, you claimed to implement “safeguards.” None of these steps, however, will provide any meaningful degree of protection against abuse.
The first two steps outlined in the Policy Directive issued by the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, concerning review of seizures and probable cause determinations, are merely internal assessments that make us no more comfortable with adoptive seizures than we were prior to their curtailment three years ago.
Curiously, the third step would provide additional limitations on certain adoptions, but only for cases of less than or equal to $10,000 – reflecting your decision that higher-dollar cases are somehow less deserving of protections against abuse. In any event, even this degree of protection for the lower dollar cases is largely illusory as the Policy Directive provides that a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office may simply waive the additional procedures in individual cases.
Lastly, the Policy Directive admonishes that the Department should “proceed with particular caution” in seeking the forfeiture of people’s homes if they were “not implicated in criminal conduct.” We cannot emphasize enough how stunningly inappropriate and brazen it is for the Department to engage in such a practice. That officials charged with the responsibility of protecting the rights of our citizens would contemplate taking personal residences of innocent homeowners underscores our lack of faith in the discretion to be exercised by Department officials in the prior three “safeguards.”
Civil forfeiture, at the federal level and also through adoptive seizures, requires significant reform if is to continue at all. It has become increasingly apparent that the procedures in federal law governing civil forfeiture are fundamentally inadequate. Forfeiture reform has long been a bipartisan issue, raising serious concerns about fairness and due process on both sides of the aisle.
Congress last enacted reform to these laws in 2000, under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, sponsored by the late Representative Henry Hyde. We have learned much since passage of that law and have introduced bipartisan legislation, entitled the DUE PROCESS Act, to responsibly increase procedural protection for innocent owners.
We should be reforming civil forfeiture, not expanding it. Therefore, while we pursue legislation on this issue, we ask that you withdraw the newly-announced changes to the Department’s adoptive seizure policies.
Although we believe this new policy should be rescinded, we would like additional information concerning the rationale for some of its provisions and your plans to implement them.
Please reply with written answers to these questions by August 15, 2017.
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Member of Congress
John Conyers, Jr.
Member of CongressRead More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the devastating news that Molina Healthcare will be dropping out of the Obamacare Exchanges:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The announcement that Molina Healthcare will be dropping out of the Obamacare exchanges isn’t a surprise, but it certainly is disastrous for the more than 50,000 of Wisconsinites who may be left with no health care options under Obamacare.“This is the latest development in a string of devastating health care losses for Wisconsin under Obamacare – an ill-fated law that has been a failure since its passage. It’s imperative for the health of our nation for Congress to find real solutions to the intensifying problems caused by Obamacare. The House of Representatives passed smart, patient-centered repeal and replace legislation – the Senate must do the same for the sake of all Americans. ” Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Rapid DNA Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and passed in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support earlier this year, has passed in the Senate and now heads to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.
The Rapid DNA Act would establish a system for the integration of Rapid DNA instruments for use by law enforcement to help reduce the DNA backlog. Unlike traditional DNA analysis, which can take weeks, Rapid DNA analysis permits processing of DNA samples in approximately 90 minutes or less.
This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way in which arrested individuals are enrolled in the criminal justice system, shorten the time required for their DNA to be linked to unsolved crimes, and expedite the exoneration of innocent suspects by giving law enforcement officials a new system that meets FBI quality assurance standards to compare DNA samples collected at the time of an arrest to profiles in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Rapid DNA is a promising new technology and an effective tool for law enforcement – I’m thrilled to see its final passage in the Senate. This technology will help quickly identify arrestees and offenders, reduce the overwhelming backlog in forensic DNA analysis, and make crime fighting efforts more efficient while helping to prevent future crimes from occurring. It will also save time and taxpayer dollars. I look forward to President Trump promptly signing it into law.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on health insurance companies across the country looking to increase Obamacare premiums:
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Unfortunately today we’re seeing further evidence of the failures of Obamacare. Across the country, health insurers are looking to once again increase premiums by as much as 30 percent, putting added pressure on millions of Americans who cannot afford it.
“Wisconsin is not immune from these increases. Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin is proposing an increase ranging from 30 to 46 percent for its member plans. Increases like these will be devastating for Wisconsinites who are not eligible for Obamacare subsidies.
“Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a smart, patient-centered repeal and replace plan that would make health insurance better and more affordable. It’s my hope that Congress can move forward to find real solutions that will finally put an end to skyrocketing prices and provide the quality care that Americans need and deserve.”Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) announced that Loni Hagerup, Sensenbrenner’s deputy chief of staff, and Matt Bisenius, director of legislative affairs at the National Propane Gas Association, will serve as co-chiefs of staff beginning in August.
The news comes after the announcement that current Chief of Staff Bart Forsyth has accepted a new position with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
“Working on Capitol Hill is an unparalleled opportunity to do good and make a difference in people’s lives. In Henry Hyde and Jim Sensenbrenner, I’ve had the distinct privilege of serving two historic Members of the House of Representatives,” said Forsyth. “I am deeply grateful to both of them for the opportunities they have given me. It is particularly hard to leave Congressman Sensenbrenner and his amazing staff, but I am excited to join a world-class team at PhRMA and to continue my work with the Hill on PhRMA’s behalf.”
Forsyth served under Sensenbrenner in a number of capacities, including his work on the House Science Committee as investigative counsel, Sensenbrenner’s chief of staff on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, his work on the House Judiciary Committee, and finally as Sensenbrenner’s chief of staff in his personal office.
“It’s always difficult to part with talented members of staff, especially those who have served faithfully for many years,” said Sensenbrenner. “Bart has been a true asset as a trusted advisor, effective facilitator, and respected leader. I’m thankful for his distinguished service and wish him continued success as he begins this new chapter.”
Stepping into the role of chief of staff are Sensenbrenner alumni Loni Hagerup and Matt Bisenius.
Hagerup, a long-time Sensenbrenner staffer, began her political career in the Wisconsin State Assembly as a legislative aid before moving to Washington, D.C. to work for Sensenbrenner as his staff assistant in 1985. After serving in the Reagan administration, she returned to work with Sensenbrenner in Wisconsin in various roles as campaign manager, district director, and most recently deputy chief of staff.
“I’m thrilled to continue my service with Congressman Sensenbrenner in this new role, although Bart’s absence will certainly be felt,” said Hagerup. “Team Sensenbrenner has benefitted immeasurably from his keen legal mind, sharp communication acumen, and adept people skills. Bart’s leadership has been exemplary and he will be missed.”
Matt Bisenius rejoins Congressman Sensenbrenner’s staff from the National Propane Gas Association, where he currently serves as the director of legislative affairs. Matt joined NPGA in August 2014, and has managed several successful advocacy campaigns during his tenure. Prior to joining NPGA, Matt worked as the senior legislative assistant for Congressman Sensenbrenner.
“I am excited for the opportunity to return to the Sensenbrenner office. The Congressman’s exceptional record of constituent service and legislative success greatly benefits Wisconsin’s Fifth District. I look forward to working with the staff to further support and expand the Congressman’s work.”Read More
By Commissioner David Jeffrey for Huff Post
Last summer, President Barack Obama signed The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law to combat the skyrocketing opioid epidemic in our country. Drug overdoses related to prescription pain relievers and heroin are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. More than 90 Americans die each day from the opioid epidemic.
As you may have seen in the news, rustbelt states are at the center of the epidemic. In Ohio, according to the state Department of Health, opioid-related deaths jumped from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015 – a 775 percent jump. In Indiana, we’ve seen double digit percentage increases in the patient count at our Harbor Light Centers, which offer treatment and recovery programs for those struggling with addictions.
With support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, CARA is the first major federal addiction act in 40 years. The legislation encompasses all six pillars necessary for a coordinated response – prevention, treatment, recovery, law enforcement, criminal justice reform and overdose reversal. CARA gives nonprofit organizations such as The Salvation Army critical help for our work with the thousands of Americans struggling with addiction. To mark the first year since the legislation passed, I asked Wisconsin Representative Jim Sensenbrenner about how we can continue to raise awareness about the severity of the opioid epidemic.
Q: What is the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and how does it help Americans struggling with addiction to opioids?
A: The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) helps those with addiction through alternative incarceration programs and outpatient treatment options for non-violent drug offenders. Such options not only better serve individuals, but save significant taxpayer dollars. The legislation also creates community-based anti-drug coalitions and a national education campaign, which helps rebuild communities, deter young Americans from trying drugs, and stalls the increase of addicts, overdoses, and deaths.
Q: Why do you feel it’s important to raise awareness about the rise in opioid consumption?
A: Opioid abuse has become a major problem in the United States. Not only does it ruin the lives of individual users, but it has negative impacts on the families and friends of abusers as well. Addiction also weakens communities and puts unnecessary added pressure on taxpayers who ultimately pay for increased health care, incarceration, and judicial costs.
Q: What should every American know about the opioid epidemic?
A: Opioid addiction isn’t specific to any one demographic. It grips individuals from all walks of life. From urban neighborhoods, to quiet suburbs, to rural America.
Q: Why is continued support still needed for federal legislation to combat the opioid epidemic?
A: Between 2002 and 2013, national heroin deaths nearly quadrupled, reaching more than 8,000 annually by 2013. In that same year, an estimated 517,000 people used heroin – a figure up 150 percent from just six years earlier.
Between 2006 and 2011, my home state of Wisconsin experienced a 350 percent increase in heroin samples submitted to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory by law enforcement. In 2012, the number of heroin-related deaths jumped by nearly 50 percent and statewide data shows one quarter of Wisconsinites who abuse the drug began using when they were younger than 25 years old.
It’s clear that this problem won’t solve itself. It will take the hard work and cooperation of Congress, as well state and local entities, to find and implement serious solutions to fight this epidemic.
Q: How can social service providers help raise awareness about the opioid epidemic or help those struggling with addiction?
A: The community-based anti-drug coalitions noted in CARA will play a large role in helping social service providers on the local levels. While the federal government can help with these efforts through additional funding, the real, meaningful work takes place within communities.
Q: What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about people struggling with addiction to opioids?
A: The fact that many abusers begin at a young age is troubling, which is why some provisions within CARA focus on an awareness campaign. It’s critical that we not only help those currently struggling with addiction, but also our nation’s young adults. If we can stop them from trying opioids and other drugs, we can stop the tragedies of addiction before they happen.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, performing rights organizations (PROs) BMI and ASCAP announced they will be joining efforts to release a database for musical works and sound recordings. This announcement comes just six days after Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced the Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act, which also aims to establish a comprehensive database for music and sound recordings through the Register of Copyrights.
Despite claims from BMI and ASCAP that they have been working on this joint database for the past year, they have made no effort to cooperate with Members of Congress on the issue. Further, such a database would be incomplete due to the lack of participation from all PROs, meaning business owners across the country would continue to be plagued by the convoluted and difficult process of finding and purchasing the correct licenses to play and perform music in their establishments.
There is an overwhelming atmosphere of mistrust between businesses and PROs, which is why it’s imperative that a publicly accessible database is established through the Register of Copyrights. Business owners and those seeking music licensing should have the ability to access a complete, easy-to-navigate system which will provide them peace of mind in knowing that they have the facts they need to make smart, legal purchasing decisions. A third party database will streamline and bring much-needed transparency to the process. Under the BMI and ASCAP initiative, businesses would still be subject to statutory damages – this is unacceptable and it’s a problem only Congress can solve.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “If BMI and ASCAP were serious about establishing a music database, not only would they have spoken to my office and other interested Members of Congress about their plans, but they would have also included their fellow PROs in the initiative. With their announcement today, they are grasping at straws; trying to maintain power over a failing process that only serves their interests, not those of the American consumer.”
Some of the key provisions of Congressman Sensenbrenner’s Transparency in Music Licensing Ownership Act include:
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F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., (Jim), represents the Fifth Congressional District of Wisconsin. The Fifth District includes parts of Milwaukee, Dodge and Waukesha counties, and all of Washington and Jefferson counties.
Jim was born in Chicago and later moved to Wisconsin with his family. He graduated from the Milwaukee Country Day School and did his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where he majored in political science. He then earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968.
After serving ten years in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Jim ran for a U.S. House seat and was elected in November, 1978. He has been reelected since 1980.
Jim’s current committee assignments include serving on the Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on the Judiciary. Congressman Sensenbrenner is Chairman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Oversight Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and Internet, and the Subcommittees on Environment and Oversight.
He is the former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and as a long-serving committee member, Jim has established a strong record on crime, intellectual property and constitutional issues. Previously, Jim also served as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, where he solidified his reputation as an independent leader on science issues, as well as oversight.
Throughout his public life, Jim has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve the sanctity of life, eliminate wasteful government spending and protect the interests of American taxpayers. He has regularly been cited by the National Taxpayers Union as one of the most fiscally responsible House Members and is well known for completing his financial disclosure forms down to the penny.
Jim is proud of his many legislative achievements that have helped improve the lives of many during his tenure in Congress.
In 1977, Jim married Cheryl Warren of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a staunch advocate for the rights of the disabled. They have two adult children, Frank and Bob. In his free time, Jim enjoys watching the Packers and reading.