Skip to content
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 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 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.”
 
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement on the passage of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act:

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “We’ve seen time and again that the initiatives put forth in the Second Chance Act work. In addition to saving significant taxpayer dollars, this legislation gives imprisoned individuals the tools they need to successfully re-enter society and become contributing members of their communities. With broad bipartisan support, this targeted bill will enhance our overall efforts to bring serious and desperately needed reform to our failing criminal justice system. I’m proud to be a sponsor of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act and am pleased by its passage today."
 
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.
U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner accused Marco Rubio of "McCarthyism" as the GOP hopeful has ramped up criticism of the USA Freedom Act co-authored by the longtime Wisconsin congressman. 

That includes Rubio's suggestion ISIS would have supported the bill, a comment Sensenbrenner said he resents. 

"I don't know why Sen. Rubio would object to it," Sensenbrenner told WisPolitics.com. "But saying that I am ISIS's biggest supporter in Washington being the author of the Freedom Act, I think, is McCarthyism at its worst." 

The legislation, which cleared Congress this summer, made changes to the federal government's bulk collection of phone metadata by the National Security Agency. It also has become a source of contention among several GOP presidential hopefuls, because Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky, supported the bill. 

During a stop in New Hampshire on Monday, Rubio said he would restore the previous NSA program. 

"If ISIS had lobbyists in Washington, they would have spent millions to support the anti-intelligence law that was just passed with the help of some Republicans now running for president," Rubio said. 

Sensenbrenner fired back in the WisPolitics.com interview that Rubio had a "disconnect" in his argument for bringing back the phone records collection program under the Patriot Act. 

That program went through significant changes under the USA Freedom Act, though they didn't take effect until Nov. 30. The Menomonee Falls Republican pointed out the San Bernardino shooting occurred just days after the old Patriot Act provisions expired. If the previous phone records program was as effective as Rubio and others claimed, Sensenbrenner said, the program should have picked up something on the shooters. 

The USA Freedom Act still lets the government get needed information on potential terrorist activity, Sensenbrenner said. But it has to seek a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get records from phone companies. 

"I don't think that there's anything wrong with going to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and saying, 'We suspect that this guy is up to terrorist activity. Give us an order so that we can get the phone records,'" he said. 

As he looks to 2016, Sensenbrenner, a former Judiciary Committee chairman who continues to serve on the committee, said he's still looking to push bipartisan criminal justice legislation he introduced with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. The SAFE Justice Act is targeted at reducing the recidivism rate, changing mandatory minimum sentences and aiming to ensure those who leave prison have marketable skills. 

Last year, Sensenbrenner also reached across the aisle in proposing legislation to uphold a key section of the Voting Rights Act that had been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. He said this week his fellow House Republicans don't have an appetite to take up the bill right now, but he plans to push for it again. 

Some states and local governments that had been subjected to preclearance by the federal government of their changes to voting laws complained about being subject to scrutiny that other areas didn't need to go through. Sensenbrenner said his bill would take the program nationwide while creating an incentive to avoid violations of the the law's standards. Those who go 10 years without a violation would no longer be subject to the federal review. 

"There's a carrot and the stick, and the carrot is by following the law and not discriminating, you get out from under preclearance," Sensenbrenner said. 

This week, House Republicans delivered on a longtime promise to put legislation on President Obama's desk that would repeal significant portions of the Affordable Care Act. The president today vetoed the bill. 

But Sensenbrenner said the vote underscores the GOP agenda while also responding to conservatives, particularly those on talk radio, who have complained congressional Republicans have not done enough to stand up to Obama. 

"We are giving people who have complained about us for not standing up to Obama exactly what they asked for. It will put everybody on record on who supports Obama and who does not," Sensenbrenner said, noting it would also save half a trillion dollars over the next decade according to the CBO. 

Sensenbrenner praised House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, for his leadership over the past two months. Sensenbrenner added he believes Ryan will stay on in the position after the 2016 elections if he believes it's important for the country and the party. If not, Sensenbrenner suggested Ryan could go back to being Ways and Means chairman, which would be an unusual move. 

"He's got the respect, and he's got the clout to do that," Sensenbrenner said. "That's one thing that's really important. In the House of Representatives particularly. You earn respect, and Paul has really done that with the record that he has had. If you rank the members from one to 435 on how well respected they are, Paul is No. 1." 

Sensenbrenner, who was elected to the seat in a 1978 special election, announced at the GOP state convention in May he plans to seek re-election in 2016. Assuming he wins -- and he will be heavily favored to do so -- that term would push Sensenbrenner past four decades in the House. 

He didn't sound like someone looking to retire if he wins re-election this fall. He noted he is cancer free after a scare five years ago, just announced more than 40 town hall meetings in his district and spends every weekend back home. He also pointed to the USA Freedom Act as a sign he's still an effective lawmaker, saying he started the process "with everybody in this town against me." In the end, he said, he picked them off one by one except for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Even so, a sizable chunk of Senate Republicans voted for the bill and against their leader. 

"I'm kind of a can-do person," Sensenbrenner said. "One of the things that I've demonstrated is that I'm conservative. I have not in any way compromised my principles, but I'm able to reach across the aisle on certain issues and get support there. There are not many of us in the Congress that can do that." 


Listen to the full interview here.

View this article online here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner released the following statement in response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address:

Congressman Sensenbrenner:
“Since his first State of the Union address, President Obama has delivered thousands of empty words, and tonight was simply more of the same. But the American people will no longer tolerate flowery rhetoric followed by broken promises. We have an opportunity to pursue bold ideas and reclaim America’s promise in 2016. That is why Republicans are putting forth a focused agenda that will empower our citizens, rebuild faith in our future, and restore a confident America. It’s time to leave the President’s hollow words behind us and look forward to a prosperous new era for all Americans. ” 
 
From the moment the President signed Obamacare into law, my conservative colleagues and I knew that it was going to devastate the American healthcare system, cause quality care to decrease, and produce higher insurance rates for both small business and individuals.

Unfortunately, after six years of this disastrous law, our suspicions were proven correct and the future of our healthcare system remains uncertain. However, under the leadership of Speaker Ryan, Congressional conservatives are taking bold steps forward to repeal and replace Obamacare. 

This week, H.R. 3762 – the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act – passed Congress and was sent to President Obama’s desk. This is significant because it is the first piece of legislation passed to begin the important and necessary work of fixing the damage done by Obamacare. 

The bill seeks to repeal more than a dozen unnecessary and burdensome taxes that were used to help finance the expansion of health coverage under Obamacare, such as the Cadillac tax and the medical device tax. It also seeks to repeal certain provisions, such as individual and employer mandates, Medicaid expansion, and health insurance subsidies. 

I have been outspoken on the dangers of Obamacare and my opposition to this law. Even though I fully expect President Obama to veto H.R. 3762, it’s critical to hold Members accountable for their actions through a recorded vote and force the President and his Congressional allies to own this terrible law. 

As we move forward in the New Year, one of my top priorities is to work toward a full repeal of Obamacare and come together with fellow colleagues to find an alternative solution to the pressing need for quality, affordable healthcare. 
 
 
Brookfield, WI – Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner announced today that 19 students from Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District have received nominations to the U.S. service academies.  

“The Fifth District students selected this year as nominees to the various United States service academies are truly remarkable and will do their families and communities proud in both their academic and professional endeavors,” said Sensenbrenner. “Our country needs strong leaders to protect and serve, innovate and inspire – I have no doubt these fine young men and women will do just that, and continue to be a credit to our state and this nation.”

Nominees for the United States service academies were chosen from an impressive group of qualified applicants residing throughout Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. The Congressman’s Academy Selection Committee put forth its recommendations for nomination after reviewing each individual candidate and conducting in-person interviews.  

Of the 19 students, three have been named principal nominees. If the principal nominee meets the academic, physical, and medical standards set by the academy, they are assured an offer of appointment to the academy. If a principal nominee does not qualify or chooses not to attend, the alternates compete for the vacancy. Alternates are also part of a pool of applicants from which the academies will select the incoming class.

Principal Nominees:

Alexis Fredericks of Brookfield has been named a principal nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY and an alternate nominee to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Alexis, daughter of John Fredericks and Amelia Frankum, is a senior at Waukesha South High School.

Celeste Fohey of Pewaukee has been named a principal nominee to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Celeste, daughter of Anthony and Hilda Fohey, is a senior at Brookfield East High School.  

Dominic Haight of Oconomowoc has been named a principal nominee to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and an alternate nominee to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY. Dominic, son of Daniel and Ranea Haight, is a senior at Catholic Memorial High School.

Competing Alternate Nominees from Dodge County:

Jazmyn Trudeau of Oconomowoc has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Jazmyn, daughter of Leo and Petronella Trudeau, is a senior at Oconomowoc High School. 

Competing Alternate Nominees from Jefferson County:

Brianna Halvorsen of Fort Atkinson has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Brianna, daughter of Daniel Halvorsen and Nicole Linksens, is a senior at Fort Atkinson High School. 

Wilder Wichman of Watertown has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Wilder, son of Joseph and Shelby Wichman, is a senior at Johnson Creek High School.

Competing Alternate Nominees from Milwaukee County:

Alexander Idonije of Greenfield has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY. Alexander, son of Kunle and Elaine Idonije, is a senior at Wayland Academy.

Christian Van Dellen of Wauwatosa has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Christian, son of James and Penny Van Dellen, is a senior at Milwaukee Lutheran High School. 

Competing Alternate Nominees from Washington County:

Andrew Barnhart of Jackson has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Andrew, son of Robert and Sandra Barnhart, is a senior at Living Word Lutheran High School.

Stephanie Hopkins of Colgate has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Stephanie, daughter of Ron and Teresa Hopkins, is a senior at Hamilton High School.

Competing Alternate Nominees from Waukesha County:

Rachel Baker of Brookfield has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY. Rachel, daughter of Brian Baker, is a senior at Brookfield Central High School. 

Andrew Burzinski of Menomonee Falls has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Andrew, son of Joseph and Karen Burzinski, is a senior at Menomonee Falls High School.

Riley DeMeulenaere of Brookfield has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Riley, son of Christopher and Ann DeMeulenaere, is a senior at Marquette University High School. 

Jacob Dickman of Oconomowoc has been named as an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Jacob, son of Peter and Lisa Dickman, is in his senior year of homeschooling. 

Jacob Fritz of Menomonee Falls has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Jacob, son of Christopher and Johanna Fritz, is a senior at Germantown High School.

Jake Hall of Nashotah has been named as an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Jake, son of Matthew and Denise Hall, is a senior at Lake Country Lutheran High School.  

Cassandra Jehly of Brookfield has been named as an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Cassandra, daughter of Jordan and Naomi Jehly, is a senior at Brookfield Central High School.

Joshua Redmann of Waukesha has been named as an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. Joshua, son of Matthew and Virginia Redmann, is a senior at Waukesha West High School.

Timothy “Tanner” Germann of Menomonee Falls has been named an alternate nominee to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. Tanner, son of Tim and Joy Germann, attended the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) from 2013-2014 before he attended a full-time mission trip to Germany for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is seeking readmission to complete schooling at USAFA. 

Congressman Sensenbrenner is currently accepting nomination applications from Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District for those who would like to enter any United States service academy in the summer of 2017.  Inquiries concerning this process can be made to the Congressman’s district office in Brookfield at (262) 784-1111, or online at Sensenbrenner.house.gov.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner introduced legislation to temporarily suspend for 2016 the mandatory withdrawal of retirement savings from qualifying retirement accounts.
 
Federal law requires Americans who are 70 ½ years or older to take the required minimum distribution (RMD) from their individual retirement accounts (IRA) each year. The stock market is off to a rocky start, making many investors nervous, and some seniors may decide it is in their interest to keep their retirement savings in the markets rather than taking the required minimum distribution. The RMD rules would be restored in 2017. 
 
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Given that indices around the world are already experiencing a great deal of volatility in 2016, it seems only fair to give Wisconsin seniors the option to forgo withdrawing the required minimum distribution from their retirement accounts without incurring a tax penalty from the IRS this year. This bill is about giving people choices, plain and simple.”