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Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-05) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced companion versions of the Disability Integration Act to help ensure the full integration of Americans with disabilities into communities across the nation. Advocacy groups, including the Center for Disability Rights, ADAPT, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), joined lawmakers for a press conference to highlight its importance to the disability community.
 
Rep. Sensenbrenner offered the following statement: 

“I apologize that I cannot be with you today, as I am currently recovering from hip surgery. I want to pass along my thanks for all of the important work that the disability advocates have done to garner support for the Disability Integration Act. I am proud to again sponsor the House version of this strong, bipartisan bill. It will help ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities. 
 
The progress we have made since President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act is remarkable. In particular, I am proud of my wife, Cheryl, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the disability community, and I was honored to stand with her behind President George W. Bush as he signed the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act in 2008. Still, there is much work to be done to strengthen laws to protect individuals with disabilities. I again thank the thousands of advocates who came to Washington D.C. this week, especially those from my home state of Wisconsin. You inspire us to continue pushing on, and I look forward to working together to advance our efforts.”

Background
 
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 made assurances that people with disabilities be allowed to live independently, rather than being forced into an institution. Additionally, in 1999, the Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.S., that the unjustified segregation of people with disabilities is unlawful discrimination. Despite the Olmstead ruling, few States have come into full compliance with Olmstead or the ADA, and most are not providing adequate accommodations for people with disabilities to live independently. 
 
The Disability Integration Act would, in effect, add teeth to the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which first set out the principle that these services aren’t just benefits, but that they are the practical embodiment of the right to independence for people with significant disabilities. 

By: Josh Siegel of the Washington Examiner

A centrist and a skeptic of man-made global warming are jockeying for the top Republican spot on a new climate change committee that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., created.

Reps. Francis Rooney of Florida, a climate change hawk, and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a longtime skeptic, are openly campaigning to be ranking member of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, which Democrats created to elevate the issue ahead of the 2020 election.

The appointment will be made by House GOP leadership, which now faces a choice between trying to shape Democratic-led climate policy and trying to stop it.

"It might be interpreted as a less than positive thing if someone who is made ranking member doesn't really care about climate change," Rooney told the Washington Examiner in an interview.

Rooney added that he has told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that he wants to serve on the climate committee, but he is doubtful he will be chosen because "I vote more like a Democrat than [a Republican] as far as being pro-environment."

Sensenbrenner, a veteran lawmaker in his 21st term whom Rooney praised, would have the major advantage of seniority in vying for the selection. He would undoubtedly take a more adversarial approach to the Democrat-controlled committee.

He was ranking member of a previous iteration of the climate committee created by House Democrats in 2007 and later disbanded by Republicans after they took control of the chamber in January 2011.

"People might call me a climate change denier — my position on climate change is yes, I do believe there is human impact on climate change, but there is no consensus whatsoever on how much impact there is," Sensenbrenner told the Washington Examiner.

He said he wants to bring a “free market” perspective to the committee, emphasizing innovation and opposing government policies such as carbon pricing that climate experts favor to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.

“I am interested in selling the American people that market-based solutions work rather than all kinds of bureaucratic taxes or regulations that haven't worked in Europe, wouldn't work here, and would be extremely unpopular with voters,” Sensenbrenner said in an interview. “We won’t win the House back if the Republican position is Green Revolution-light.”

Republican advocates for government policy to combat climate change are pushing for GOP leaders to select Rooney, a Republican first elected in 2016 whose southwest Florida district is vulnerable to sea level rise.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Republicans to reset on climate change and step forward with free enterprise solutions and engage constructively,” Bob Inglis, a former six-term congressman from South Carolina, and founder of republicEn.org, told the Washington Examiner. “We are going to enter the competition of ideas. We are going to stop picking up the game ball and running into the parking lot with it."

Rooney is a leader of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus who has co-sponsored multiple carbon tax bills. He is likely soon to be named co-chairman of that caucus, which is not a committee but an informal group of Democratic and Republican House lawmakers, in equal numbers, who commit to supporting policies to combat climate change.

“We hope to see Republicans who are already leading on climate issues, such as those backing carbon pricing legislation or others who are in the Climate Solutions Caucus, chosen to join the committee,” Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens Climate Lobby, told the Washington Examiner.

Rooney said he would aim to work cooperatively with Democrats on the committee, who face pressures of their own from freshman progressives, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who want to build momentum for a “Green New Deal” that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years.

A fossil fuel-free future within a decade is "a little bit unrealistic," Rooney said. But he said he would seek "constructive engagement" with Democrats on efforts such as pushing for a carbon "tax and dividend" arrangement that would return the proceeds of carbon taxes to American households to compensate for higher energy prices.

"A carbon tax is the least intrusive, most free-market means to address climate change and move the market to cleaner fuels," Rooney said.

Sensenbrenner said he opposes any form of carbon pricing because it would "disproportionately hurt poor people."

In reviving the committee, Democratic leaders hope "to investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, and innovations to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis."

But the panel will have to include Republicans.

According to the House rules package establishing the committee, McCarthy, the minority leader, is responsible for recommending six of the 15 members, including a ranking member. He could choose someone other than Sensenbrenner and Rooney for the top Republican spot, though those two are most actively gunning for the role.

Pelosi has already selected a centrist Democrat, Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, to lead the committee and has put limitations on its power, moves that bothered freshman progressives such as Ocasio-Cortez.

The new climate change committee has a more urgent name than the old one: the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

But like the previous iteration, called the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the new panel can only make policy recommendations, not write bills.

The committee also does not ban membership of lawmakers who receive donations from fossil fuel interests, and it won’t have subpoena power — shortcomings that House progressives have said make the panel “toothless."

Climate hawks, however, say the committee was valuable the last go-around, conducting hearings on the threat of climate change, conducting oversight of the George W. Bush administration’s energy policies, and offering solutions. That work paved the way for the 2009 cap-and-trade bill that passed the House but died in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The new committee could operate similarly, although climate advocates see the need for action as more urgent now, with the passage of time and U.S. carbon emissions rising in 2018 after years of declines.

"It's important we show that at least some Republicans do feel the climate is changing, recognize we are at risk of sea level rise, and are willing to work with whoever it takes to deal with it," Rooney said.

Wisconsin in Brief

January 11, 2019

By: The Journal Times

Kimberly-Clark files documents to close plant

MADISON — Kimberly-Clark Corp. has notified Gov. Tony Evers’ administration that it will close its plant in Neenah by May 31.

The Department of Workforce Development announced Thursday that the paper products giant had provided the workforce reduction notice.

The plant’s closure was first announced a year ago. Kimberly-Clark also initially said it planned to close a larger facility that employs about 400 people in nearby Fox Crossing, but decided to keep it open after then-Gov. Scott Walker’s administration executed a $28 million deal to save it.

Kimberly-Clark says 74 workers will lose their jobs at the Neenah nonwovens plant between March 15-29, with the rest eliminated by the end of May. About 100 people work at the plant.

Congressman undergoes hip replacement

MADISON — U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s office says the longtime congressman had hip replacement surgery on Thursday.

The Menomonee Falls Republican’s office said the surgery Thursday at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, was a success but he will be recuperating and in rehab for “several weeks.”

Sensenbrenner is 75 and has been in Congress since 1979.

Sensenbrenner fell while attending a community fair in Butler six years ago. His office says his hip was surgically repaired then, but it was only a temporary fix and after the conditioned worsened recently he went in for a full replacement.

By; Pete Kasperowicz of the Washington Examiner

House Republicans this week introduced legislation that would let the U.S. use money and property seized at the border from drug cartels to pay for a southern border wall.

The bill, from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., could help reduce Democratic opposition to a border wall. Democrats in the House and Senate have opposed new federal funding for the wall in part because Trump promised during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for it.

"This commonsense legislation will provide the necessary funding to completely secure our southern border and cut off the flow of gang members and drugs into our country," Sensenbrenner said. "Best of all, this can be done with minimal cost to the American taxpayer."

"This bill would break through the stalemate of funding for border security, thereby providing a path to reopen the government," he added. "Congress should consider this legislation immediately so we can return to other important legislative business."

GOP Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Phil Roe of Tennessee, Rob Bishop of Utah, Bob Gibbs or Ohio, and Jody Hice of Georgia cosponsored the bill.

It was introduced as both parties have been scrambling to come up with some agreement on border wall funding. The lack of a deal has prevented Congress from funding nine federal agencies, in a shutdown that has lasted nearly three weeks.

By: WISN

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner had hip replacement surgery Thursday, his office reported.

The Wisconsin Republican's office said the surgery at Mt. Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, was a success but he will be recuperating and in rehab for "several weeks."

Sensenbrenner is 75 and has been in Congress since 1979.

Sensenbrenner fell while attending a community fair in Butler, Wisconsin, six years ago. His office says his hip was surgically repaired then, but it was only a temporary fix and after the conditioned worsened recently he went in for a full replacement.

Sensenbrenner's district is in southeast Wisconsin encompassing areas immediately to the northwest of Milwaukee.

By: Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jim Sensenbrenner, the dean of Wisconsin's congressional delegation, underwent successful hip replacement surgery Thursday, his office said.

The surgery took place at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sensenbrenner's hip trouble began six years ago when he caught his foot on wires, tripped and fell while attending a community fair in Butler. He sustained a fracture near his elbow and another fracture at the hip socket.

"After a surgical repair at that time, he was able to resume his duties," his office said. "The condition of the hip worsened recently, and doctors recommended a full replacement."

Sensenbrenner, 75, will recuperate and undergo rehab for several weeks, his office said, adding that the congressman "is grateful for all of the well-wishes and prayers and looks forward to being back in commission very soon."

Sensenbrenner, a Menomonee Falls Republican, was first elected to Congress in 1978.

By: WTMJ

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner's office says the longtime congressman had hip replacement surgery.

   The Wisconsin Republican's office said the surgery Thursday at Mt. Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, was a success but he will be recuperating and in rehab for "several weeks."

   Sensenbrenner is 75 and has been in Congress since 1979.

   Sensenbrenner fell while attending a community fair in Butler, Wisconsin, six years ago. His office says his hip was surgically repaired then, but it was only a temporary fix and after the conditioned worsened recently he went in for a full replacement.

   Sensenbrenner's district is in southeast Wisconsin encompassing areas immediately to the northwest of Milwaukee.

Alexandria, VA—Earlier today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) underwent a successful hip replacement surgery at Mt. Vernon Hospital. By way of background, six years ago Mr. Sensenbrenner suffered a fall while attending a community fair in Butler, WI. After a surgical repair at that time, he was able to resume his duties. However, doctors advised it was only a temporary fix. The condition of the hip worsened recently, and doctors recommended a full replacement.

Congressman Sensenbrenner will recuperate and rehab for several weeks. He is grateful for all of the well wishes and prayers and looks forward to being back in commission very soon. 
Washington, D.C.—Following the President’s address last night, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) re-introduced the Build Up Illegal Line Defenses With Assets Lawfully Lifted (BUILD WALL) Act.  He was joined in this effort with Congressmen Mark Meadows (NC-11), Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Phil Roe (TN-01), Rob Bishop (UT-01), Bob Gibbs (OH-07), and Jody Hice (GA-10). 

This legislation would direct money and assets seized from Mexican drug cartels to be used to increase border security between the U.S./Mexican border. In addition to building a physical wall, the funding may also be used to construct other types of barriers or to implement technology-supported solutions where appropriate.

Rep. Sensenbrenner
“This commonsense legislation will provide the necessary funding to completely secure our southern border and cut off the flow of gang members and drugs into our country. Best of all, this can be done with minimal cost to the American taxpayer. This bill would break through the stalemate of funding for border security, thereby providing a path to reopen the government. Congress should consider this legislation immediately so we can return to other important legislative business.”

You can view the text of the legislation here.

Congressman Sensenbrenner introduced identical legislation during the 115th Congress. Senator Ted Cruz has introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

By: Colm Phelan of the Irish Sun

THE E-3 visa that would allow Irish people live in America has hit a snag after one Senator put a 'hold' on the bill.

The bill had been passed in the US House of Representatives but the deadline has now passed for US Senate approval.

The Senator is understood to have put a 'hold' on the bill and therefore it failed to get approval before the Senate sat for the final time last Saturday, RTE reports.

A new bill will now have to be passed as the House of Representatives will sit for the first time under new membership.

The new visa proposal was drafted up back in November and sought to allow 4,000 - 5,000 Irish citizens gain access to the US through the visa.

The E-3 visa was originally available for Australian citizens, with 10,500 available each year but only half of them were being used up.

According to the report, Irish officials are now working out other ways to secure support for the plan to add Ireland to the visa programme.

Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner previously welcomed the bill that would allow Irish people to work in the US for a two-year span.

He said: "The United States was built on hard work and the determination of immigrants – many of them who hail from Ireland.

"Through their perseverance, they have enabled this country to grow and prosper.

"This modest proposal would give Irish nationals the opportunity to work in the US under the non-immigrant visa category of the E3 visa, previously reserved only for Australian nationals.

"Ireland in the meantime has proposed a reciprocal work visa specific to US nationals so that those wanting to live and work in Ireland can more easily do so."