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Washington, D.C.—Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) offered the following statement after the Department of Justice confirmed its ongoing investigation into the alleged sale of human fetal tissue by a major abortion provider in America:

“It is heartbreaking and disgusting that anyone would profit from sale of innocent unborn human body parts. The Department of Justice is right to open this investigation at the referral of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.”

In February, Congressman Sensenbrenner introduced the Safe RESEARCH Act (H.R. 1203) to prohibit the sale of fetal tissue acquired by abortion. Specifically, the Safe RESEARCH Act amends Section 498A of the Public Health Act to only permit human fetal tissue research to be conducted with tissue obtained as a result of a stillbirth or ectopic pregnancy.

The text of the Safe RESEARCH Act is available here.

By: Susan Jones of CNS News

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he was the one who insisted on putting the instant check system in the Brady bill, which President Bill Clinton passed and signed in 1993.

Sensenbrenner said the National Instant Check System (NICS) works, but there are lessons to be learned from its terrible failure in Sutherland Springs:

"At the time the legislation was drafted, I made the point that the National Instant Check System would only be as good as the data that was put into it," Sensenbrenner said.

"And it took about five years to appropriately automate and input records, not only for felony convictions, (but also for) mental incompetency adjudications as well as domestic violence legal action. And, you know, we found that one state kept all of these records in boxes of 3 by 5 cards located in every country courthouse. That took a while to finally automate that."

Sensenbrenner said the law is not to blame for the system's failure to disqualify the church shooter from buying four guns over four years.

"I don't think we can blame the system which we set up almost 25 years ago, because the system has worked in hundreds of thousands of cases. I think we have to blame the Air Force for not doing what was necessary to let the system be able to identify this gentlemen when he came and purchased the firearms that he ended up using in a truly horrific killing..."

"So I think we have to identify, you know, why this failure was.  "And it's not just the Air Force. It could be any clerk of court anywhere in the country that could have done that, and I think this has got to be a lesson, that when you've got something that is disqualifying that has been adjudicated by a court, get it into the system and get it into the system right away."

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he shares the concerns about the effectiveness of the national instant background check system for gun buyers, and "therefore we'll look into a briefing on that subject" as soon as possible, he told the committee on Tuesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told a news conference on Tuesday that the Sutherland Springs shooter “should not have gotten a gun” because he was a domestic abuser.

“That’s why we’ve got all these questions for the Air Force right now, which is, how did this slip through the cracks?”

Ryan said it’s important to find out what more needs to be done to enforce the laws that are actually on the books.

You can view this article online here.

Wisconsin Ag Connection

Three federal lawmakers from Wisconsin are asking House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway to reform the Dairy Margin Protection Program, which provides producers with payments when dairy margins fall below the margin coverage levels. In a letter sent by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Mike Gallagher and Sean Duffy, the congressmen said a top priority in the 2018 Farm Bill should be to reform the MPP because it gave participants 'very little return' on their investment in recent years, despite the fact that farmers paid millions of dollars into the program.

"The dairy industry in Wisconsin and nationwide has faced significant struggles in recent years," the memo stated. "Our current trade challenges with Canada are particularly acute in 'America's Dairyland,' a major manufacturer of ultrafiltered milk, and our producers continue to struggle with labor costs and challenges. Moreover, milk prices deteriorated significantly last year, causing dairy farmers added pain during an already challenging climate."

Sensenbrenner added that American producers play a vital role in supplying the nation with fresh milk and other important agricultural products. He says programs like the MPP need to be re-evalulated in order to become more responsive to the needs of Wisconsin dairy farmers.

"As a longtime supporter of the agricultural industry, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to see these issues addressed in the final legislation," Sensenbrenner said.

Earlier this year, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue utilized his authority to provide dairy producers the ability to opt out of the Margin Protection Program for 2018.

The voluntary program established by the 2014 Farm Bill, MPP provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin--the difference between the price of milk and feed costs--falls below the coverage level selected by the producer. The program was meant to give producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation.

Meanwhile, enrollment for the next round of coverage ends on December 15 for coverage in calendar year 2018. Participating farmers will remain in the program through December 31, 2018, and pay a minimum $100 administrative fee for 2018 coverage.

You can view this article online here.

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI-05), along with Congressmen Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08) and Sean Duffy (R-WI-07), sent a letter detailing 2018 Farm Bill policy priorities to House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway. Specifically, the letter calls for reforms to the Dairy Margin Protection Program, which provides producers with payments when dairy margins are below the margin coverage levels.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Americans across the heartland play a vital role in supplying our nation with fresh milk and other important agricultural products. As we begin crafting the upcoming Farm Bill, I will push to ensure programs, like the MPP-Dairy, are updated to become more responsive to the needs of Wisconsin dairy farmers.  As a longtime supporter of the agricultural industry, I remain committed to working with my colleagues to see these issues addressed in the final legislation.”

Congressman Gallagher: “For too long hardworking farmers in Northeast Wisconsin and across the country have been paying into a program that does not give them the results they need. As Congress begins to debate the upcoming Farm Bill, I will work with my colleagues to improve the MPP-Dairy program so that it is effective in meeting the challenges farmers face in an increasingly volatile market.”

The full text is available below:

Dear Chairman Conaway:

            As members who represent Wisconsin’s vast dairy industry, we thank you for your early start to the 2018 Farm Bill process and we are grateful for your efforts to complete the bill on time.  We appreciate your steadfast advocacy for rural America and your commitment to reforming dairy policy in the new Farm Bill.

            As you know, Wisconsin is the second largest milk-producing state and is home to more dairy farms than any other in the nation.  Wisconsin’s roughly 9,500 family-owned dairy farms, totaling well over 1 million cows, produce roughly 14 percent of the U.S. milk supply each year.  These farmers are 

the lifeblood of our communities and the fresh milk they produce supports many jobs in the agricultural and food manufacturing sectors of our state.

            The dairy industry in Wisconsin and nationwide has faced significant struggles in recent years.  Our current trade challenges with Canada are particularly acute in ‘America’s Dairyland’, a major manufacturer of ultrafiltered milk, and our producers continue to struggle with labor costs and challenges.  Moreover, milk prices deteriorated significantly last year, causing dairy farmers added pain during an already challenging climate.

            With this in mind, a top priority for us in the Farm Bill is reforming the Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy).  While the program is fairly new, it has not performed to the expectations of our dairy farmers.  In 2015 and 2016, the first two years of the program, dairy producers paid millions of dollars into the program but received very little return on this investment, even though last year was a very difficult year for our dairy farmers by all accounts.

            Therefore, we look forward to working with you to improve MPP-Dairy to make it more responsive to farmers.  We understand that the program's current feed cost formula does not fully reflect producer costs, so we are interested in improving the program to better reflect the margins producers face to provide them a viable safety net in the difficult years.  We are also urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to classify milk as a commodity under the federal crop insurance program, to provide producers with additional risk management options.

            We recognize that there will be budgetary limitations in the Farm Bill process and we stand ready to work with you to craft a Farm Bill that supports all of rural America.  We appreciate your consideration and we are eager to work with you.

Sincerely,

Mike Gallagher
Member of Congress

Sean Duffy
Member of Congress

F. James Sensenbrenner
Member of Congress

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Washington, D.C.—Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) voted for H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 231 to 198. Contained in the bill was language from the Fix NICS Act, which adds enforcement measures to ensure that federal agencies provide the most accurate data to the National Instant Background Check System.

Congressman Sensenbrenner gave the following remarks on the House floor:

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I am pleased that H.R. 38, as amended, includes the Fix NICS Act.  I have long supported the National Instant Check System, or NICS. NICS is about saving lives and protecting people from harm—by preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands. It does this without interfering in the timely transfer of firearms to eligible gun buyers.

I was an original cosponsor of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, and worked diligently for its passage. I strongly supported this bill because it makes sense to prevent convicted felons, and individuals judged to be mentally ill, from obtaining guns. At the time of negotiations, I insisted on the inclusion of a NICS program. Under this system, firearm dealers use the FBI's NICS system to cross-reference with a list of known convicted felons, drug users, illegal aliens, and those convicted of domestic violence.

As I have stated many times, the NICS system is only as good as the records that are put into it. Too often, people who otherwise would not pass a background check can slip through the cracks and buy guns.  After the recent shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the U.S. Air Force disclosed that it failed to report the gunman’s history of domestic assault to the database, which should have prevented him from purchasing a firearm in the first place.

This legislation will provide a much needed push to speed implementation of the NICS system used in conducting instant background checks prior to gun purchases. At the federal level, it would require federal agency cooperation in providing relevant records to the Attorney General for inclusion into the NICS.  It holds federal agencies accountable if they fail to upload relevant records to the background check system through public reporting and prohibiting bonus pay for political appointees.  At the state level, it will incentivize them to make sure their reporting is up-to-date by giving federal grant preferences to states who comply. 

Let me be clear, this bill is not about expanding background checks.  This is about ensuring that existing law is working. There is strong bipartisan support for improving what has become a systemic problem of missing information in the database. Accurate reporting is essential to ensuring the system works as intended.  I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

You can read the full text of H.R. 38 HERE.

Washington, D.C.Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) announced that Christopher Krepich will serve as his Press Secretary following the departure of former Communications Director Nicole Tieman.

Tieman, who had been a part of Sensenbrenner’s staff for more than two years, is now the Press Secretary for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Krepich joins the Sensenbrenner office following two and a half years as a member of Congressman Keith Rothfus’ (R-PA) staff, most recently serving as Deputy Press Secretary. He got his start on Capitol Hill in 2015 working as an intern for Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI).

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Washington, D.C.—Today, the House of Representatives voted to form a Conference Committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate tax reform bills. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) offered the following statement after supporting the motion to go to conference:

“Americans deserve to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks and are counting on Congress to create a 21st century tax system that facilitates job creation and economic growth. Today’s vote brings us another giant step closer to doing just that. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring much-needed tax relief to families and businesses across Wisconsin and the nation.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan asking what steps his agency is taking to address the skyrocketing health insurance premiums across the country.

Dear Acting Secretary Hargan:

On November 1, open enrollment in the federally-run health care exchanges began in Wisconsin. Across the state, thousands of Wisconsinites found that the cost of health insurance had risen substantially. The average increase in the cost of premiums was 36 percent across the state, while the cost of silver plans had risen by 40 percent from the previous year.

My constituents are obviously concerned about this dramatic increase, with many contacting me on this issue. Many have asked what Congress and the administration are doing to try to combat these ever-rising premiums.

With the American Health Care Act and other significant health care reform efforts stalling, I am requesting the following information from the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • What steps is the agency taking to mitigate current and future premium increases?
  • What suggestions would the agency make to states that are preparing Sec. 1332 innovation waivers to lower premiums?
    • What specific suggestions would the agency make to Wisconsin?
  • What legislative steps can Congress take in the near term to prevent substantial increases in the coming years

 My constituents, along with all Americans, are demanding that their government take action to finally reform our nation’s health care system. It is our responsibility to help the health care system innovate and evolve to bring about the quality and affordable care the American people deserve. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-Wis) released the following statement on the passage of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act in the House of Representatives:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Today's passage of the House Tax Cuts & Jobs Act is a historic moment in delivering tax relief across the country. It is a significant step forward in ensuring hardworking American families will keep more of their own money.  I applaud the tenacity and leadership of Speaker Ryan and look forward to its progression through the legislative process.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced a bill aimed at reforming the CyberTipline Reporting Requirements. The bill will provide much needed updates to better reflect the current operations of the CyberTipline and the process of sending, receiving, and handling the millions of reports expected each year.

The CyberTipline was first launched in 1998 by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  The CyberTipline provides the public and the technology industry with the ability to report online (and via toll-free telephone) instances of child sexual exploitation including child pornography, online enticement of children for sexual acts, child sex tourism, and child sex trafficking. The initial statute was last updated in 2008.

The CyberTipline Modernization Act will continue the initial work of the NCMEC by adding updated provisions to ensure the protection and safety of reports citing suspected exploitation. This common sense bill makes clear the requirements NCMEC and providers must follow in order to ensure these crucial protections are not needlessly subjected to outdated government regulations.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The modernization of this bill would be a significant step forward in the fight to reduce the sexual exploitation of children online. It’s imperative we improve safety standards so we can be actively engaged in preventing the victimization of children and efficiently process and investigate all reports of child sexual abuse.”