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Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) offered the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair:

Rep. Sensenbrenner“Today’s Supreme Court decision only highlights the urgency for Congress to take action to clarify these matters of interstate commerce. Failure to do so leaves American entrepreneurs and small businesses subject to taxation and regulation without representation. Congress should immediately pass my No Regulation Without Representation Act, which restores fairness and order to our nation’s e-commerce system.”

You can read the Court’s decision here.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) voted for H.R. 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act. Congressman Sensenbrenner, an original cosponsor of H.R. 4760, offered the following statement after the legislation failed in the House:

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “Today, the House missed a golden opportunity to pass H.R. 4760, which included much-needed reforms like the mandatory use of E-Verify, end of chain migration, and increased border security. Our efforts would have also addressed the issue of family separations and provided a fix for DACA recipients — without granting amnesty. I’m disappointed by today’s results but remain committed to securing our porous borders and fixing our broken immigration system.” 

You can read the full text of the Securing America’s Future Act here.

By: Digital Commerce 360

Overstock.com Inc. is calling on Congress to pass legislation to simplify, or clarify, online sales tax collection in the wake of Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that enables states and local governments to force online retailers to collect sales taxes, even if they don’t have a physical presence, or nexus, in the state.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has reshaped the interstate commerce landscape in a move that could impact small business innovation on the internet, which has been a driving force behind our nation’s economy for the last 15 years,” says Jonathan Johnson, an executive and board member at Overstock, No. 32 in the newly released Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, “The framers of the Constitution intended Congress to regulate interstate commerce by thoughtful legislation. To lessen the potential impact of today’s ruling on internet  innovation, Congress can, and should, pass sound legislation allowing states to accomplish their aims while still permitting small internet business to thrive.”

Wayfair Inc., No. 16, which was named in the suit before the court, agreed in a statement that “the court was not the ideal venue for creating this level playing field,” before noting that it expects the decision will bring “clarity and certainty to this issue.”

Several key legislators, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee,  issued a joint statement that calls the court’s reversal of the 1992 Quill Corp. v. North Dakota decision a “nightmare for American businesses and small online sellers, who will now have to comply with the different tax rates and rules of, and be subject to audits by, over 10,000 taxing jurisdictions across the U.S. in which they have no say at the ballot box or representation in state and local government.”

They suggest the decision will have broad ramifications that Congress, rather than the court, is best equipped to deal with. However, spokesmen for the congressmen and congresswomen could not be immediately reached for comment on the likelihood that online sales tax legislation will pass.

While there are thousands of state and local taxing districts, David Campbell, CEO of Tax Cloud, which offers merchants free software that enables them to comply with state and local taxation laws (it is paid by 24 states that offer the software), says Overstock and the congressmen and congresswomen are overstating the issue.

“It sounds daunting to comply with all the more than 10,000 taxing jurisdictions, but it really isn’t,” he says. “It may have been difficult to comply with all of those jurisdictions in 1967 [ed: when the Supreme Court ruled in National Bellas Hess v. Department of Revenue of Illinois that a mail-order reseller was not required to collect sales tax unless it had a physical contact with the state], but that’s no longer the case. Computers are really good at keeping track of lot of information. To suggest that any company that can figure out how to sell  online can’t handle taxation is silly.”

By: Mark Sommerhauser of the La Crosse Tribune

Wisconsin Republicans scrambled Tuesday to respond to a rising backlash to President Donald Trump’s controversial policy resulting in thousands of families being separated after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Members of the state’s GOP congressional delegation met with Trump and their colleagues late Tuesday in Washington, D.C., in search of a possible legislative fix.

Some defend policy

Some, such as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Oshkosh and U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir of Brookfield, have defended the Trump administration’s current policy.

Vukmir’s main GOP rival for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate nomination, Kevin Nicholson, backed a proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that would detain together, rather than separating, asylum-seeking families that cross the border illegally. Many are fleeing violence and persecution in Central American countries.

Others, such as Gov. Scott Walker, are ducking the issue altogether.

A Tuesday statement from Nicholson, R-Delafield, blamed the situation on former President Barack Obama, though its immediate cause was Trump’s newly adopted “zero-tolerance” policy on border-crossing families.

“As a father I feel great concern any time I see a child crying out of fear or desperation, anywhere in the world,” Nicholson said.

Asked about the issue Tuesday, Vukmir, R-Brookfield, said that “of course families shouldn’t be separated.” But Vukmir’s campaign declined to say what changes, if any, she thinks should be made to prevent it.

Asked about separating families on a WISN-TV interview that aired Sunday, Vukmir said “I believe that we are a nation of laws and we have to stand up and uphold those laws.”

A Johnson spokesman said Tuesday that he is “working with his colleagues to find a legislative solution to this issue that keeps families together and does not encourage additional illegal immigration.”

‘Fair warning’

In an interview that also aired Sunday on WISN, Johnson said “we put everybody on fair warning” about the consequences of illegally seeking asylum after crossing the border between ports of entry, as many of the families at the center of the current controversy have done.

“You are committing a crime; we are going to prosecute you,” Johnson said in the interview. “When you start prosecuting someone like that, you separate them from their loved ones.”

The Cruz plan backed by Nicholson would increase the number of federal immigration judges, authorize new temporary shelters to detain asylum-seeking families and mandate that families be kept together, absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.

14-day window proposed

It would create an expedited 14-day window to process and review asylum cases — in which time the asylum-seeker either would be accepted or sent back to their country of origin.

But critics have questioned the plan’s feasibility. Sara McKinnon, a UW-Madison communications professor with expertise in U.S. immigration law and policy, said a 14-day window to review and decide asylum cases seems unrealistic.

“I see 14 days, and that reads to me that a lot of Central American migrants are just going to get a blanket ‘no,’” McKinnon said.

On Monday, Walker declined to comment, saying it’s a federal issue. Some governors, including at least two Republicans, have said they will not send state National Guard troops to the border until the family-separation policy is removed.

Wisconsin announced Monday that about two dozen National Guard troops will travel to Arizona to bolster border security.

Walker said he won’t prevent the state assistance, saying “the work they’re doing doesn’t have anything to do with (the child separation issue).”

Other members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, such as Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menominee Falls, and Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, issued statements criticizing the Trump administration policy leading to family separations and saying Congress should work to fix the problem.

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, issued a statement saying he would meet with Trump and others late Tuesday “to discuss solutions to these problems at our Southern border.” The statement called for addressing “the shortage of family spaces in Immigration and Customs Enforcement shelters” along the Mexico border.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, has said he’s not comfortable with the administration’s current practice of separating families and wants to stop it through legislation.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new policy that refers all cases of illegal entry — even for those seeking asylum to remain in the U.S. — for criminal prosecution. The government previously limited prosecution for many family entrants, partly because children aren’t charged with a crime and can’t be detained with their parents.

The emerging divisions show how Republicans in Wisconsin are grappling with the same issues as their national counterparts. But GOP officeholders and candidates remain wary of alienating supporters of Trump.

Separation ‘immoral’

Wisconsin Democrats have blasted the Trump administration, calling the family separations immoral.

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, traveled to the Mexico border Sunday to view federal immigration facilities and said he was deeply troubled by what he saw.

A spokesman for Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, said he supports a newly introduced bill to end family separation at the U.S. border.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison — who either Nicholson or Vukmir will face in November — said in a statement that “tearing families apart and traumatizing children is wrong and immoral.”

“This is an inhumane Trump Administration policy that the President could and should end today,” Baldwin said.

The offices of Reps. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, and Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

"Earlier this week, at one of my town hall meetings, a concerned constituent asked me about recent reports of our immigration practices. Like many others, she was horrified by the stories of children being separated from their parents and asked what can be done to stop it. I assured her that I, too, believe this situation is disgraceful and am distraught to see it occur.

It’s no secret that our immigration system is horribly broken. For years, previous administrations deliberately chose not to enforce our immigration laws, which has only exacerbated the situation at the border. For example, the Obama administration’s “catch and release” policy sent a clear message to the world: if you come here illegally, you will be able to cut the line and avoid criminal prosecution. This led to an increase in numbers of child trafficking and false asylum claims.

However, there is no reason to separate children from their parents. I find this practice to be immoral. We are indeed a nation of laws, and we must enforce them. Our laws, however, must reflect the values of our nation, and this practice certainly does not represent who we are.

At tonight’s meeting, President Trump rightly called on Congress—the branch of government tasked with writing our laws—to take action. I’m pleased to note that the House will consider legislation this week to address our broken immigration system. I continue to welcome feedback on this issue from my constituents as I review available legislative options."

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) introduced legislation to address the shortage of qualified physicians. H.R. 6123, the Physician Visa Reform Act, clears the path for highly-trained foreign physicians to access temporary visas so they can practice in health professional shortage areas. Paired with changes to state law, H.R. 6123 will help residents of rural areas across Wisconsin access life-saving medical care.

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “Every community should be served by well-trained medical staff. This legislation is a commonsense solution to the very real problem of doctor shortages that affects vulnerable populations across the country.”

Problem:

Our nation’s health care system is becoming increasingly strained due, in part, to a lack of qualified doctors. Each year, more physicians retire while fewer medical students graduate to fill the vacancies. As studies have shown, medical students frequently practice in the area where they completed their residency – often in large cities – because they lack strong incentives to move to a shortage area.

Currently, federal law requires foreign physicians to complete a residency training program in the United States if they wish to practice here. While this policy is appropriate for younger, less experienced foreign doctors, it is unnecessary for highly-experienced and well-trained foreign physicians. For instance, a Canadian physician with 20 years of specialized experience treating cancer patients should not be required to complete the same residency program as a physician who recently graduated from medical school. This current policy is time-consuming, unnecessary, and a disincentive for foreign physicians to relocate to the US.

Solution:

H.R. 6123 would reform the current visa program to allow highly-trained physicians to live and practice in an area designated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as having a shortage of health care professionals for three years without having to complete a residency program.

Notably, the legislation maintains states’ rights by allowing each state to maintain its own standards, requirements, and licensing board for physicians. In other words, when a foreign physician applies to work in a particular state, that state’s licensing board will determine, based on its own criteria, if the applicant is qualified and therefore eligible. Such criteria could include: the candidate’s country of origin, where the candidate graduated from medical school, how many years of experience the candidate has, if and what the physician’s specialty is, and other relevant information the state deems appropriate.

Once a state determines that a physician is qualified, a visa may be granted through the same application process that is prescribed under current law.

After three years of service in a shortage area, the physician may apply for permanent resident status after completing the National Board of Medical Examiners Examination (the test that all medical students must pass to graduate medical school and become fully licensed). Upon successful completion of the exam and approval from the Department of Homeland Security, the physician may remain in the U.S. and practice anywhere they are qualified and licensed.

The full text of H.R. 6123, the Physician Visa Reform Act, is available here.

Washington, D.C.—Today, the House passed the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues (SITSA) Act. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) is a co-sponsor of the SITSA Act, which modernizes the Controlled Substance Act by adding a new schedule, Schedule A, to the five existing schedules. It also immediately schedules 13 known synthetic fentanyl compounds to the Schedule A list. In an effort to keep up with ever-evolving drug analogues, the bill would expand the U.S. Attorney General’s authority to add new substances to the Schedule A list as they are discovered.

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “SITSA will help our drug enforcement agencies keep up with the constant development of new deadly street drugs, and I’m proud to cosponsor it. Its passage is a great step in addressing drug analogues that contribute to the opioid epidemic. Congress must build upon this momentum and pass my SOFA Act, which gives law enforcement even stronger tools to combat the opioid epidemic. I am committed to using every legislative tool at my disposal to win the fight against opioid abuse.”

You can read the full text of the SITSA Act here and the SOFA Act here.

By: Americans for Tax Reform

Today, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R- Wisc.) introduced H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act, to address state regulations that tax businesses physically outside the borders of the state.

 In Quill v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court found that states are sovereign only within their own borders and that the Constitution prohibits state regulations from crossing state borders. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, states have regulated businesses outside the parameters of the state for decades. Sensenbrenner’s bill would codify this requirement in relieving small businesses from the heavy weight of government overreach and overregulation.

The following can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform:

"The No Regulation Without Representation Act reigns in government overreach by forbidding any state from 1) imposing a sales tax on businesses physically outside the boundaries of the state, and 2) prohibits any state from exporting regulations onto businesses in other states.

"Regulations can be as abusive as taxes. If the American Revolution was revisited today the slogan would certainly be 'No Taxation and No Regulations without Representation.'

 "I commend Congressman Sensenbrenner for introducing the No Regulation without Representation Act and I urge all members of Congress to support this important piece of legislation. "  

The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

"Over the past few years, state legislatures have crossed their bounds by regulating and taxing businesses physically outside the parameters of their own state.

"Regulations that constrict and tax businesses outside of state borders challenge state sovereignty and federalism while making it incredibly difficult for small businesses to flourish under the backbreaking weight of regulations. I commend Congressman Sensenbrenner for addressing this by introducing the No Regulation without Representation Act."

Washington, D.C.Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) offered the following statement after the House passed thirty-five bipartisan bills to combat the opioid crisis:

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “We are taking action to restore hope to communities and families all across our nation devastated by the opioid epidemic. These bills provide real help for the millions of Americans who are struggling with addiction by providing additional treatment, increasing efforts that prevent people from becoming addicted, and ramping up enforcement to stop the flow of drugs into our neighborhoods.”

The House passed the following bills this week:

1) H.R. 449 – Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries / Energy and Commerce Committee)

2) H.R. 3331 – To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to promote testing of incentive payments for behavioral health providers for adoption and use of certified electronic health record technology, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)

3) H.R. 4284 –Indexing Narcotics, Fentanyl, and Opioids (INFO) Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Latta / Energy and Commerce Committee)

4) H.R. 4684 – Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu / Energy and Commerce Committee)

5) H.R. 5002 – Advancing Cutting Edge (ACE) Research Act (Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Dingell / Energy and Commerce Committee)

6) H.R. 5009 – Jessie’s Law, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Energy and Commerce Committee)

7) H.R. 5041 – Safe Disposal of Unused Medication Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg / Energy and Commerce Committee)

8) H.R. 5102 – Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark / Energy and Commerce Committee)

9) H.R. 5176 – Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. David McKinley / Energy and Commerce Committee)

10) H.R. 5228 – Stop Counterfeit Drugs by Regulating and Enhancing Enforcement Now (SCREEN Act), as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone / Energy and Commerce Committee)

11) H.R. 5261 – Treatment, Education, and Community Help (TEACH) to Combat Addiction Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson / Energy and Commerce Committee)

12) H.R. 5272 – To ensure that programs and activities that are funded by a grant, cooperative agreement, loan, or loan guarantee from the Department of Health and Human Services, and whose purpose is to prevent or treat a mental health or substance use disorder, are evidence-based, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Steve Stivers / Energy and Commerce Committee)

13) H.R. 5327 – Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Centers Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie / Energy and Commerce Committee)

14) H.R. 5329 – Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks / Energy and Commerce Committee)

15) H.R. 5353 – Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Leonard Lance / Energy and Commerce Committee)

16) H.R. 5473 – Better Pain Management Through Better Data Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Comstock / Energy and Commerce Committee)

17) H.R. 5483 – Special Registration for Telemedicine Clarification Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter / Energy and Commerce Committee)

18) H.R. 5582 – Abuse Deterrent Access Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Buddy Carter / Energy and Commerce Committee)

19) H.R. 5583 – To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to require States to annually report on certain adult health quality measures, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Yvette Clarke / Energy and Commerce Committee)

20) H.R. 5587 – Peer Support Communities of Recovery Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Luján / Energy and Commerce Committee)

21) H.R. 5685 – Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. John Faso / Energy and Commerce Committee)

22) H.R. 5800 – Medicaid IMD ADDITIONAL INFO Act (Sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton / Energy and Commerce Committee)

23) H.R. 5812 –  Creating Opportunities that Necessitate New and Enhanced Connections That Improve Opioid Navigation Strategies (CONNECTIONS) Act (Sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith / Energy and Commerce Committee)

24) S. 916 – Ensuring Patient Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatments Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Sen. Bill Cassidy / Energy and Commerce Committee)

25) H.R. 4275 – Empowering Pharmacists in the Fight Against Opioid Abuse Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier / Energy and Commerce Committee)

26) H.R. 5197 – Alternatives to Opioids (ALTO Act), as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Pascrell / Energy and Commerce Committee)

27) H.R. 5294 – Treating Barriers to Prosperity Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. Louis Barletta / Transportation and Infrastructure Committee)

28) H.R. 5752 – Stop Illicit Drug Importation Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn / Energy and Commerce Committee)

29) H.R. 6029 –  Reauthorizing and Extending Grants for Recovery from Opioid Use Programs (REGROUP) Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. Keith Rothfus / Judiciary Committee)

30) H.R. 5889 – Recognizing Early Childhood Trauma Related to Substance Abuse Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. Dave Brat / Education and the Workforce Committee)

31) H.R. 5890 – Assisting States’ Implementation of Plans of Safe Care Act (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Garrett / Education and the Workforce Committee)

32) H.R. 5891 – Improving the Federal Response to Families Impacted by Substance Use Disorder Act (Sponsored by Rep. Glenn Grothman / Education and the Workforce Committee)

33) H.R. 5892 – To establish an Advisory Committee on Opioids and the Workplace to advise the Secretary of Labor on actions the Department of Labor can take to address the impact of opioid abuse on the workplace (Sponsored by Rep. Jason Lewis / Education and the Workforce Committee)

34) House Amendment to S. 1091 – Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act (Sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins / Education and the Workforce Committee)

35) H.R. 2147 – Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman / Veterans Affairs Committee)

By: Alex Gangitano of Roll Call

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is the king of town halls.

The Wisconsin Republican, who was first elected to the House in 1978, held the most of any member of Congress last year, when he racked up 115. Since 2011, he has held more than 500 meetings with constituents.

“I can say that generally the crowds at the town meetings are either people who are active in political parties or ideological movements or people who come and are seeking information about something they are confused about,” he said.

But the mood of late can be hostile, and that’s made meetings tougher.

Sensenbrenner said he has noticed that “people’s blood pressure gets up when they’re talking about public policy issues now.”

He cut short two meetings over the last year after things got heated and the crowd began yelling. Before that, he had adjourned only one meeting early — in 2011 — when the group was aggressively discussing a Wisconsin state issue.

“That’s something that concerns me about the future of American politics. If we can’t respect others’ opinions … we’re going to be damaging democracy and we’re going to be damaging the type of respect that’s kept this country together,” he said.

HOH asked him to share some highlights:

Smallest crowdOne. “It worked out just fine. He and I didn’t agree on the issue of net neutrality, but we talked for half an hour on it. I make it a point not only to go to big communities, but also small ones.”

Largest crowd: “During the Clinton impeachment, I had about 500 at town meetings. Last year, because of people both supporting and opposing the Trump agenda, I had about 5,000 attendees [total in 115 town halls].”

Strangest question: “There was one woman who came in complaining bitterly that the mailman wouldn’t put the mail on the top of the stairs but put it in the mailbox. She was too lazy to go downstairs to pick up her mail. Usually I find out when people go off the page like this woman did, the rest of the crowd starts moaning and groaning.”

Youngest participant: “I got a question in Hartford, Wisconsin, on Sunday [June 4] from a grade-schooler relative to a piece of legislation that mandated research at the NIH on a very, very rare disease.”

Recent popular topics: “There was a lot of talk about health care. There were either people who supported Obamacare or people who hated it and wanted it repealed and replaced. As time has gone on, the public has been more ideologically polarized. This is reflective of Congress, as Congress has become more ideologically polarized as well.”

Do you ever not have an answer? “Oh yeah, that happens all the time. If I can’t answer it, I make people sign in on sign-in slips so I have the sign-in slip with name and address [to send them a response].”

Ever have a quiet crowd? “The people who decide to come are rarely quiet.”