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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. 
 
 

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.”

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 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.”
 
America’s international allies are more important than ever, and smart diplomacy is critical to our national security. 

As we speak, the war in Syria is driving a mass migration across borders into Europe.  It is a humanitarian crisis, and there’s little question that virtually all of these people are innocent refugees in search of a better life. But we live in a dangerous world where even a handful of individuals can cause devastating harm. 

Terrorists like Al Qaeda and ISIS will not hesitate to exploit any opportunity to advance their agendas, and the current mass migration in Europe is one such opportunity. A European passport holder is a plane ticket from America. There is little that our immigration controls can do to prevent criminals or terrorists from entering the United States on short-term visas with European passports.
Because we justifiably refuse to live in a world where nations simply close their borders, we have to be vigilant. We need to know what our allies know and identify individuals who will do wrong. Information sharing and the sharing of law enforcement data between nations is, therefore, essential to law and order.

Against this backdrop, I authored and introduced the Judicial Redress Bill of 2015. In many ways, it’s a privacy bill—backed and supported by many of our country’s top privacy advocates—but make no mistake, the Judicial Redress Act is a crucial element to our law enforcement strategy. 

Trust is easily lost and hard to rebuild. As the original author of the USA FREEDOM Act, I saw firsthand the damage the Snowden leaks did to our international reputation. It is my hope that passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, and the unequivocal end to mass, suspicion-less surveillance in the United States, was a first step toward normalizing relations with our allies. But the Judicial Redress Act is an important second step.

The bill is essential to the implementation of a recently signed umbrella agreement between the United States and European Union. In the words of the agreement, “the purpose . . . is to ensure a high level of protection of personal information and enhance cooperation between the United States and the European Union and its Member States, in relation to the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offenses, including terrorism.”

In our complex digital world, privacy and security are not competing values. They are weaved together inseparably, and today’s policymakers must craft legal frameworks that support both.

The Judicial Redress Act of 2015 provides our closest allies with limited remedies relative to data they share with the United States similar to those Americans enjoy under the Privacy Act. It is a way to support our foreign allies and ensure continued sharing of law enforcement data. More specifically, the bill would give citizens of covered countries the ability to correct flawed information in their records—mistakes that could subject innocent people to criminal charges or unnecessary surveillance—and limited remedies in U.S. courts if the U.S. government fully and intentionally discloses their personal data. 

Americans already enjoy similar rights in Europe. Providing reciprocal rights is imperative to our international relationships. Our European allies have already indicated that such a bill is central to their willingness to continue to share law enforcement data with America. Failure to pass the Judicial Redress Act will therefore undermine several important international agreements, hurt U.S. businesses operating in Europe, and limit law enforcement sharing from key allies.

The bill is narrowly tailored, enabling only citizens of designated foreign countries to bring suit in specified circumstances, and only with respect to information obtained from their home country for law enforcement purposes. The right to redress is subject to the same restrictions U.S. citizens face under the Privacy Act, including broad exemptions for national security. 

Because of the issue’s importance, this bill enjoys broad support. It has been endorsed by the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement, as well as U.S. businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce and nearly all of our largest technology and information companies.

Continuing advancements in technology make it critical to increase our security efforts and continue building solid relationships with our allies. As part of our growing law enforcement strategy, as well as a sign of good faith to our international partners, we must past the Judicial Redress Act of 2015.

View this piece online here.
Fourteen years ago today, terrorists wreaked havoc on the United States of America, killing nearly 3000 of our fellow countrymen. The catastrophic events of that day were horrific, and from the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center, we knew our lives would never be the same. 

But from that tragic day came an opportunity to support our neighbors, show love and compassion for those impacted, and unite together in a common cause of patriotism and kinship. 

There are no words to describe the depravity of the terrorist acts perpetrated on the United States the morning of September 11, 2001. The pain and heartache of the nation can still be felt today –we continue to mourn lives lost, support the families of victims, and pray for our service men and women who answered the call of duty in defense of our country. 

But the strength of the American people cannot be denied, and from that terrible tragedy we became further bonded in the ideals this land was founded on. We unite in remembrance and move forward together as a stronger, resolute nation. 
 
Today, the Science Subcommittee on Research and Technology marked up the Surface Transportation Research and Development Act of 2015. The Subcommittee passed two amendments that will help improve motorcyclist safety and protect taxpayer money.  

Mr. Sensenbrenner applauds Congressman Hultgren’s amendments, one of which will prevent the federal government from providing grants to state and local governments to create motorcycle-only checkpoints. It requires the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the most effective means to prevent motorcycle crashes. 

The other amendment will prevent the Department of Transportation from using taxpayer money to lobby government officials. Mr. Sensenbrenner added this language to the Surface Transportation Research and Development Act of 1997 and is pleased that the Science Committee continues to work to protect American taxpayers.  

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I am pleased the Subcommittee adopted these amendments to the Surface Transportation and Development Act, as they are necessary for the safety of our nation’s motorcyclists. The amendments promote motorcyclist safety through crash prevention programs, but they also protect American taxpayers by ensuring that the federal government doesn’t use tax dollars to lobby state governments. It’s a victory anytime we can limit the federal government’s interference in state affairs. It was a pleasure to work with Congressman Hultgren in advancing these amendments. I look forward to these common sense amendments being included in the next highway reauthorization bill.”