Speeches and Floor Statements

Sensenbrenner Floor Statement on H.R. 1428, the Judicial Redress Act

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Washington, October 20, 2015 | comments
Congressman Sensenbrenner: Strong international relationships abroad are critical to the safety and advancement of the United States. That’s why I was pleased to introduce the Judicial Redress Act of 2015 with Ranking Member John Conyers and to speak in favor of it today. 

For many years, the United States and European Union have worked together to secure data protection for their citizens under agreements known as Safe Harbor. Earlier this month, however, the European Court of Justice issued a landmark ruling invalidating the agreement because of privacy concerns. 

The European Court’s ruling illustrates how fragile trust between nations can be. It is easily lost and hard to rebuild. Moreover, this lack of trust has had huge economic and security consequences for the United States.  Our businesses have struggled against public backlash and protectionist policies, and our government has faced increasingly difficult negotiations to share law enforcement and intelligence data.  

The Judicial Redress Act of 2015 is central to our efforts to rebuild strained relationships with our allies and ensure privacy and security for both American and European Union citizens. 

The sudden termination of the Safe Harbor framework strikes a blow to U.S. businesses by complicating commercial data flows.  If we fail to pass the Judicial Redress Act, we risk similar disruption to the sharing of law enforcement information.  

In many ways, the Judicial Redress Act is a privacy bill —it is backed and supported by many of our country’s top privacy advocates —but make no mistake, the bill is crucial to U.S. law enforcement. At the heart of the Judicial Redress Act is the pressing need for continued sharing of law enforcement data. 

In our complex digital world, privacy and security are not competing values. They are weaved together inseparably, and today’s policy makers must craft legal frameworks that support both. 

This bill provides our allies with limited remedies relative to data they share with the United States —similar to those American citizens enjoy under the Privacy Act. It is a way to support our foreign allies and ensure the continued sharing of law enforcement data. Specifically, the bill will give citizens of covered countries the ability to correct flawed information in their records and access to U.S. courts if the U.S. government unlawfully discloses their personal information.

As United States citizens, we already enjoy similar protections in Europe. Granting these rights to our closest allies will be a positive step forward in restoring our international reputation and rebuilding trust. 

In fact, our European colleagues have noted that the passage of the Judicial Redress Act is critical to negotiating a new agreement, central to their willingness to continue sharing law enforcement data with the United States, and necessary to improving relations between nations. If we fail to pass the Judicial Redress Act, we will undermine several important international agreements, further harm our businesses operating in Europe, and severely limit sharing of law enforcement information. 

The Judicial Redress Act currently enjoys broad support and has been endorsed by the Department of Justice as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and numerous U.S. businesses. I’d like to thank my colleagues, Representatives John Conyers, Randy Forbes, and Glenn Thompson for cosponsoring this legislation, as well as Senators Orrin Hatch and Christopher Murphy for their work on companion legislation in the Senate. 

The Judicial Redress Act amounts to a small courtesy that will pay huge diplomatic and economic dividends.  I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this important bill and my colleagues in the Senate to take it up without delay.  Let's put the President's infamous pen to good use signing this legislation.
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