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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement in response to President Obama’s final budget proposal: 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: 
“Our national debt is approaching $20 trillion, but that did not deter President Obama from advocating for billions of dollars to expand government and fund his liberal agenda in his 2017 budget proposal. Rather than giving Americans in need a hand up, the President is quick to offer hand-outs, which will lead to greater debt, a weaker American economy, and increased government dependence. Rather than seizing his last opportunity to put forth a serious, fiscally solvent budget proposal, the President defaulted once again to playing politics at the expense of the taxpayer.” 
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Each year, CQ Weekly releases a comprehensive vote study featuring the records of each Member of Congress. In 2015, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner obtained a perfect voting record of 100 percent by not missing a single vote. Only 22 of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives achieved this rating.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Elected Members of Congress are put in office by voters to best serve the interests of the people and communities they represent. It’s a unique responsibility – one I have never taken lightly. I’m proud of my thoughtful and consistent voting record, as well as my dedicated service to the people of Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District, and will continue working diligently on behalf of my constituents as long as I serve in the United States House of Representatives.”

The complete vote study scores can be found in the February 8th edition of CQ Weekly.  
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over the past few years, researchers, independent advocacy groups, law enforcement and federal agencies, and bipartisan Members of Congress have been working together in an effort to reform America’s broken criminal justice system and find solutions to some of the country’s most devastating challenges. One such challenge is widespread heroin and opioid addiction. 

Between 2002 and 2013, national heroin deaths nearly quadrupled, reaching more than 8,000 annually by 2013. In that same year, an estimated 517,000 people used heroin – a figure up 150 percent from just six years earlier. Throughout the United States, addiction is ravaging communities and destroying lives. 

Last year, in an effort to combat this deadly epidemic, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA), which offers a critical first step toward ending heroin and opioid addiction. 

Provisions within the bill establish community-based anti-drug coalitions, a national education campaign aimed at deterring new and young users from trying the drug, and creating alternative incarceration programs and outpatient treatment centers for non-violent drug offenders.

Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced its plans to reassess the agency’s approach to opioid medications. According to the FDA, the proposed multifaceted plan will focus on policies aimed at reversing the epidemic, while still providing effective medication. 

Congressman Sensenbrenner:
 “For more than a decade, there has been an alarming rise in heroin and opioid addiction, causing devastation to individuals, families, and communities throughout the nation. Last year, I introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) to address this serious problem. With a Senate companion bill and the FDA’s newly reaffirmed commitment to finding solutions, I’m confident in the direction our country is headed toward solving widespread addiction.” 

companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]. Both bills await passage in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, respectively. 
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement in support of the efforts of the City of Waukesha to borrow water from Lake Michigan:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “The City of Waukesha has gone through extensive public and environmental processes, and meets the requirements necessary under the Great Lakes Compact to borrow Lake Michigan water. As the city’s application goes before the Great Lakes Regional Compact Council for review, I’m optimistic it will be approved and Waukesha will have the necessary access to a safe water supply.”

Congressman Sensenbrenner also sent the following letter of support to the Regional Body Designees and Compact Council Alternates and Secretariat:


Dear Regional Body Designees and Compact Council Alternates and Secretariat,

The City of Waukesha’s application to borrow water from Lake Michigan is now entering the next, and possibly final, stage. Waukesha, which is under court order to find a new drinking water supply, has been examining its options for more than a decade. The state of Wisconsin has been analyzing the issue for at least five years.  Ultimately, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources determined the city’s application meets the criteria for approval as laid out by the Great Lakes Compact, an agreement between the states and Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes.

The city’s application is now before the Great Lakes Regional Compact Council, which will have the final say. I support approval of Waukesha’s application because it clearly complies with the requirements laid out in the Compact and the city has proposed a reasonable and environmental responsible plan.

The regional review process was designed to be unbiased and based on science and key criteria contained in the Compact. The Compact was established so that every community directly impacted by the Great Lakes would have a voice. This was necessary to ensure that decisions about the Lakes would not be driven by politics. The process is rigorous and exhaustive. It’s a lot harder to do it this way, but the result will be rooted in true democracy and based on science and planning, not public pressure.

Of course, the public should have its say and the regional review process provides for an opportunity for that to occur. Through public events and online forums, public input has been and will continue to be registered. 

But the Compact is clear about what qualifies a community to receive Great Lakes water. Among the most important standards for approval are: that the community making the request be in a county that straddles the Great Lakes Basin divide and that the community has the ability to return the water it borrows. These standards wisely protect everyone in the Great Lakes Basin by ensuring that Great Lakes water is not sent to faraway locations outside the basin. Should an application be rejected for reasons not discovered as part of the fact-finding process, the Compact and the communities it is meant to serve would suffer.

Waukesha meets these requirements. The city has instituted a comprehensive water conservation program to reduce existing and future needs for water but still needs a new water supply. The current water supply is depleted and contains natural contaminants such as the carcinogen radium. The request to borrow Great Lakes water comes after the city considered 13 other potential options and conducted an in-depth analysis of the five other prospective water supply alternatives to Lake Michigan. Three different entities (the City of Waukesha, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and regional planning officials) held more than 100 public meetings and independently found that none of the alternatives proved to be environmentally sound, cost-effective or sufficient compared to Great Lakes water.

Waukesha’s plan makes sense and protects the Great Lakes at the same time. It would withdraw a minimal amount of water (equal to 1/1,000,000th of 1% of the Great Lakes volume) from Lake Michigan via an existing water supply pipeline and would return the same volume of water to a tributary river after it has undergone advanced treatment. There will be no net loss of Great Lakes water to the basin. The enhanced flow in the tributary will in fact improve a fish egg collection facility that is downstream from where the return water will be discharged, providing a benefit to the Great Lakes fishery.

Approval of Waukesha’s application does not have to be a choice between a safe water supply for the city and protecting the Great Lake. Under the terms of the Compact, both are possible. The communities of the Great Lakes need the Compact to be successfully utilized so that important water issues are properly managed and the Great Lakes are protected today and into the future. Waukesha’s application should be approved in order to show that the Compact - and the regional cooperation and trust that fostered it - is working.

Sincerely,

F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr.
Member of Congress
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the agreement reached between the United States and the European Union Commission regarding a new framework for transatlantic data sharing:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Today’s agreement between the United States and the European Union Commission on a new framework for transatlantic data flow is a positive step in the right direction toward ensuring the continued sharing of commercial data between friendly nations. The framework is an absolute necessity for over 5,000 U.S. businesses. I look forward to the Congressional passage of the Judicial Redress Act and ongoing efforts to rebuild trust with our international allies.”
 
Popular opinion dictates that drug abuse is contained within city limits, but the truth is that addiction doesn’t discriminate by location, age, sex, race, or any other differentiating factor. Drug abuse touches individuals, families, and communities in every corner of our country. Over the past decade, heroin specifically has been devastating lives and wreaking havoc on our communities. 

Between 2002 and 2013, heroin deaths nearly quadrupled, reaching more than 8,000 people annually by 2013. In that same year, an estimated 517,000 people used heroin; a figure up 150 percent from just six years earlier.

We cannot let this epidemic continue to spread. Addressing this issue head on will not only save lives; it will save significant taxpayer dollars both in our healthcare and our prison systems. 

Key researchers, law enforcement agencies, and addiction treatment providers all agree that the most effective way to approach the challenges of heroin abuse is to pursue a comprehensive response to both heroin and opioid addiction. In order to be successful, the response must include:
• Prevention efforts
• Law enforcement strategies
• A plan to address overdosing
• Expansion of evidence-based treatment options

It’s true that no one piece of legislation will completely solve the addiction crisis we face, however there are certainly ways we can address this problem head on. Last year, I introduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which would offer a critical first step toward ending this deadly and costly epidemic. This serious piece of bipartisan legislation has also been introduced in the Senate. 

Solutions to this terrible problem will provide a desperately needed lifeline to individuals and families while simultaneously rebuilding communities and saving taxpayer dollars. Confronting heroin addiction is part of my larger efforts to reform our broken criminal justice system, and I’m committed to seeing this through because strong individuals make strong families. Strong families make strong communities, and strong communities make for a stronger, more prosperous America. 
 
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of the Judicial Redress Act:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: 
“Today’s passage of the Judicial Redress Act in the Senate Judiciary Committee marks a positive step forward toward rebuilding relationships with our international allies and strengthening our own national security. I look forward to a full Senate vote on this critical legislation soon.”
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the EPA’s poor and outright dismissive response to the situation:

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I write to you about the water crisis that Flint, Michigan is experiencing.  The distrust that Flint’s residents, and millions of other citizens, have for our government is disturbing.  It is widely reported that your agency contributed to the cynicism people are feeling, particularly in Flint.  

Revelations that an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official ignored scientific findings and lied to the people of Flint come just weeks after finding that your agency could have prevented the Gold King Mine Spill.  It is no wonder that the American people are growing ever more dissatisfied with the level of service that our government agencies provide.   

The government’s first obligation is to protect the health and welfare of its citizens.  Allegations that the EPA ignored or even hid scientific data about people being poisoned are deeply disturbing.  We may be at different ends of the political spectrum, but I want to support your mission to “protect human health and the environment.”  However, I am deeply concerned about the culture of an agency that consistently persecutes honest business, promotes special interest and liberal political darlings like the ethanol industry, and then blatantly ignores or even covers up a public health crisis. 

The EPA must refocus on its core mission and stop promoting political agendas like ethanol, alternative energy, and cap-and-trade policies that do more harm to our economy than they do good for our environment.  It is clear that your agency is too absorbed with these issues and is missing things that cause immediate harm to our citizens.  First and foremost, the EPA must fulfill its core duties.     

To begin the process of restoring trust in your agency, you should recommit to fulfilling President Obama’s promise of leading the most open and transparent government.  Open government ensures accountability, and your agency must commit to opening your scientific studies to the American people.

I would also like you to address the following questions:

• Was the EPA in contact with researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) regarding Flint, Michigan’s water supply?  
o Please provide all correspondence between Virginia Tech and the EPA to me.
• Did the EPA learn from any other sources that Flint’s water supply was contaminated? 
• Did the EPA collect its own water samples in Flint? 
o If yes, what were the results?
o If no, why not?
• Are there other water supplies that the EPA is currently investigating for possible lead contamination?

Please respond to this letter by February 18.  

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.
Chairman Emeritus
House Committee on Science, Space & Technology
 
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the lowering of Obamacare enrollment projections: 

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Today, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the number of Americans expected to buy health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges was cut by more than one third. Millions of Americans continue to go uninsured because the President’s “signature achievement” is not only too expensive, but provides lower quality care. Today’s announcement is yet another example of the continuing failures of this disastrous policy.”
 
 
Legislation to help prisoners who have completed their sentences successfully return to society advanced in the House on Tuesday.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015 by a voice vote. The bill reauthorizes grant funding for both public and private re-entry programs, including academic and vocational education for offenders in prison, jails and juvenile facilities.

“Most of the people currently imprisoned will one day return to society, and it’s in all of our best interests to give these individuals a second chance and a hand up,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), chair of the subcommittee on crime, said in a news release.
“This legislation reduces prison costs, improves public safety, and produces significant savings to the American taxpayers. It also successfully helps reintegrate inmates into their communities, making our nation safer and stronger,” he said.

This legislation builds on the Second Chance Act of 2008 and includes important accountability measures and eliminates programs that have not been used.

“Statistics show that more than 90 percent of federal prisoners will eventually be released,” Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a release. “We must enact policies that enhance public safety by helping prisoners successfully reintegrate into society and restore their lives.”

View this article online here.