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Strong international relationships are critical to the safety and advancement of the United States. That’s why I introduced the Judicial Redress Act of 2015, which passed in the House of Representatives earlier this week. 

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, and 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. 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. 

The Judicial Redress Act amounts to a small courtesy that will pay huge diplomatic and economic dividends, and the passage of this legislation is an important step forward to greater security. 
 
Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the Speaker race in the House of Representatives: 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The Republican Party continues to evolve and comprises a diverse body of independently-minded thinkers, all with strong convictions and ideas for the future. While growing pains often accompany change, so does opportunity. At this pivotal moment, we need a leader with the fortitude to withstand the governing challenges ahead, the discipline to remain firm against overwhelming pressure, and the statesmanship to work seamlessly with all Members, both within the caucus and across the aisle.  

“Congressman Paul Ryan is a true conservative leader who exemplifies what it means to be a dedicated public servant, continually working toward serious solutions to the problems we face as a nation. I fully support Paul as our next Speaker and encourage my colleagues to do the same.”
 
 
The House of Representatives today approved the Judicial Redress Act of 2015 (H.R. 1428) by voice vote. Introduced by Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), the Judicial Redress Act of 2015 would strengthen partnerships with our allies and ensure continued law enforcement cooperation between the United States and Europe by giving covered foreign citizens the ability to seek judicial redress in U.S. courts to ensure that their privacy is protected.

The bipartisan legislation would extend certain privacy protection rights to citizens of European countries, as well as other allied nations, if the federal government willfully discloses information in violation of the Privacy Act. Under the Judicial Redress Act, citizens of designated countries would be extended the core benefits of the Privacy Act, which already applies to Americans, with regard to information shared with U.S. law enforcement authorities, including the ability to bring a lawsuit for the intentional or willful disclosure of personal information.  Many countries already extend such protections to U.S. citizens. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-Va.), Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers issued the following statement on the passage of the bill:

“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Judicial Redress Act will help restore our allies’ faith in U.S. data privacy protections and helping facilitate agreements, such as the Data Protection and Privacy Agreement, that strengthen our trans-Atlantic partnerships with Europe. This bill benefits not only our own law enforcement, but is a sign of good faith to our partners abroad. We are pleased with the resounding bipartisan support that has been shown for this measure by our colleagues, and urge the Senate to take up this measure as quickly as possible.”


                                                       
Last week, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding the Department of Energy’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for energy conservation standards for residential conventional ovens:

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

I am writing in regards the Department of Energy's (DOE) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for energy conservation standards for residential conventional ovens.  DOE’s decision to group all ovens under the proposed rule into one product class called, “conventional,” would yield limited potential energy savings and function as a serious threat to the long term survival of high-performance companies, forcing them to operate in a different market space, constraining choice for consumers and limiting competition.

When evaluating and establishing energy conservation standards, DOE divides covered products into product classes.  In determining whether a performance-related feature justifies a different standard, DOE must consider the utility of the feature to the customer and its impact in the lessening of competition.

In 2006 and 2008, when faced with a substantially similar question, DOE concluded that high performance products provided a distinct utility to a customer segment and established two separate product classes – one for higher performance products and one for conventional, high production volume products.  This year, DOE departed from previously held standards and decided to regulate all ovens under one standard.  This ignores that high-performance products offer residential consumers performance and design features superior to other in-home appliances and similar to those found in restaurants.  These tiers in cooking performance and design should be considered in any analysis conducted by DOE when evaluating efficiency design options for conventional or high-performance ovens.

The main utility of any oven is its cooking performance.  The ability of any oven to bake evenly, allow yeast products to rise consistently, and produce consistent quality rack-to-rack when several racks are being used, are key criteria for consumer acceptance.  Forcing niche companies to compete in the conventional oven market space by setting a standard that requires designing appliances to employ lighter gauge materials, exposed heating elements, lighter racks, simpler controls and single verses dual convention fan systems will erase the utility and performance features that market analysis shows serves a subset of customers that enables these companies to stay viable.

The current position of DOE fails to distinguish high performing products within a larger group of products with vastly different features.  Cooking performance will be significantly affected under the current structure of the proposed rule and will leave one market – with significantly fewer players – where differences among products are largely aesthetic.  It is important that the industry be able to meet all levels of desired customer utility, while achieving energy efficiency levels that will benefit the consumer in the long-term.

In considering comments on DOE’s proposal, I request that you take into consideration its anti-competitive effect and the need for additional product classes within the residential oven market.  DOJ has a responsibility to protect competition for the benefit of the consumer and should seriously consider the impact this efficiency standard would have on small, niche market manufacturers and their ability to serve their unique set of customers.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Sincerely,

F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
Member of Congress
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner has received the prestigious Robert Schuman Medal from the European People’s Party during a ceremony in Brussels. He is only the second American to receive this honor; the first was President George H. W. Bush.
 
The Robert Schuman Medal is awarded to public figures who advance the cause of peace, help reunite the continent of Europe, and fight for the values of freedom and democracy. Congressman Sensenbrenner’s tireless work on behalf of privacy and data-sharing issues between the United States and European Union has helped build positive international relationships and strengthened America’s international security.
 
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I want to thank my European friends and colleagues for presenting me with the Robert Schuman Medal. I’m honored and humbled by this experience and look forward to continuing my work on the critical issues of privacy and data-sharing, as well as strengthening US-EU relationships.”


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Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the ruling made by the European Court of Justice: 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: "I'm disappointed that the European Court of Justice decided on such a bold move. The United States has taken great strides to build strong data protection and privacy controls, such as USA FREEDOM, which was the first curtailment of surveillance authority in the U.S. since the 1970s. It was a thoughtful rethinking of our national security laws that few other countries have undertaken. With the Judicial Redress Act, Congress has taken additional steps toward providing global citizens’ rights over their own data. These efforts will continue in the U.S., as they should abroad, but we must maintain an environment of cooperation and goodwill with our allies. I urge EU and US officials to address this issue and to work to maintain the healthy commercial relationship the EU and the US have worked so hard to build.”
 
 
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner reiterated today that the deadline for submitting applications for nominations to attend the United States Air Force, Military, Naval, or Merchant Marine Academies for the 2016-2017 academic year is Thursday, October 15. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Eligible applicants are United States citizens with residency in Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District.  They must be at least 17 years old but not past their 23rd birthday as of July 1, 2016, and must have reached their senior year of high school.

After October 15th, candidates will be contacted by a member of the Congressman’s Academy Selection Committee to schedule an interview. The interview is an assessment of the candidate’s leadership potential, character, motivation, and interests.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I urge interested Fifth District high school students to get their academy applications in to my district office as soon as possible.  Any application received after the October 15th deadline will not be considered.  My Academy Selection Committee will interview eligible candidates and then make their recommendations to me.  The selection process is an exciting time of year and I look forward to learning about the young, outstanding leaders from the Fifth District.”

Congressman Sensenbrenner’s district office is located at 120 Bishops Way, Suite 154, Brookfield, WI  53005. Information is available by calling the office at 262-784-1111, or visiting the Congressman’s website at Sensenbrenner.house.gov. 
 
 
It’s been an exciting week, particularly for Catholics in America. His Holiness, Pope Francis, became the first Pope to visit the United States of America, and it was an honor to be part of this historical milestone for our country.

During his time here, Pope Francis shared words of faith, charity, and goodwill. He inspired people young and old with his message of morality, and emphasized the importance of caring for others while extending our hands in love and friendship to the disadvantaged and less fortunate. 

In his address to Members of Congress yesterday, his words of peace included comments on some of the challenges we face today –comments that some politicians and advocates have wrongly politicized.

While I respect the Pope’s moral vision and sentiments of humanity, I don’t support the political tone that has been placed on his message. The citizens of the United States elect representatives to act on their behalf on matters of policy and law, and how we respond to the world’s challenges is a matter of prudential judgement, allocated to those elected policymakers.
 
 

Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the retirement of Speaker of the House John Boehner:

 Congressman Sensenbrenner: “As Speaker of the House, John Boehner led the Republican Party to its largest majorities since the 1920s, and in a contentious political atmosphere where it’s nearly impossible to achieve anything, he has done an exceptional job building relationships, bridging gaps, and passing meaningful and necessary legislation. Speaker Boehner’s congressional career has been one of dedicated service on behalf of his district, his party, and the American people, and he will be greatly missed. I thank him for his constant commitment to this nation and wish him well in his retirement.”

Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the Pope’s address to Congress:  

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “His Holiness, Pope Francis, came to the United States to share inspiring words of faith, charity, and goodwill. While his address to Members of Congress was a milestone in our nation’s history, it would be a mistake to politicize his message of morality. As elected representatives, we are entrusted by the people of this country to act on their behalf on issues of policy and law. While I respect the Pope’s moral vision, how we respond to the world’s challenges is a matter of prudential judgment allocated to elected policymakers.”