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Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) plans to file a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The purpose of the suit is to end the employer contribution authorized for Members of Congress and their staffs who have entered the District of Colombia healthcare exchange as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. 
 
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner: “Senator Johnson’s lawsuit is an unfortunate political stunt. I am committed to repealing Obamacare, but the employer contribution he’s attacking is nothing more than a standard benefit that most private and all federal employees receive – including the President.  Success in the suit will mean that Congress will lose some of its best staff and will be staffed primarily by recent college graduates who are still on their parents’ insurance.  This will make it even more difficult to fight the President and his older, more experienced staff.  

“Senator Johnson should spend his time legislating rather than litigating as our country is facing big problems that must be addressed by Congress – not the courts. All Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but this politically motivated lawsuit only takes public attention away from how bad all of Obamacare really is and focuses it on a trivial issue. Fortunately, Senator Johnson’s suit is likely frivolous and will not achieve the result he’s seeking.” 
Today, Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Trent Franks (AZ-08), Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Trey Gowdy (SC-04), Raul Labrador (ID-01) and Ted Poe (TX-02) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. urging an investigation of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, for lying to Congress while testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in March of 2013.  

“Director Clapper’s willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress’s ability to perform its Constitutional function,” the Members write in their letter to Holder. “There are differences of opinion about the propriety of the NSA’s data collection programs.  There can be no disagreement, however, on the basic premise that congressional witnesses must answer truthfully.”

“Congressional oversight depends on truthful testimony—witnesses cannot be allowed to lie to Congress.  Accordingly, we request you investigate Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s ‘erroneous’ statements to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence earlier this year.”

At a March 12, 2013 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, Director Clapper was asked if, “the NSA collected any type of data at all on millions of hundreds of millions of Americans” to which he responded with, “No, Sir.”  Four months later, in June 2013, after the Snowden leaks publicly exposed Clapper’s testimony as false, Clapper finally retracted his remarks and wrote, “My response was clearly erroneous, for which I apologize.”
U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) today celebrated the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a provision to posthumously award Lt. Alonzo Cushing with the Medal of Honor. Lieutenant Cushing, a Wisconsin-born Civil War hero, played a key role in securing a victory for the Union at Gettysburg.

“Lieutenant Cushing was a courageous leader who gave his life to protect our country and deserves to be recognized for his bravery,” Rep. Sensenbrenner said. “I am extremely pleased that the Cushing amendment was passed by the House and Senate and hopeful President Obama awards Lieutenant Cushing with the Medal of Honor for his heroic service during the Civil War."

“It’s never too late to do the right thing, especially when it comes to honoring our war heroes,” said Rep. Kind. “I am heartened to be joined by my colleagues in Congress in sending this bill to the President so we as a nation can finally honor Lt. Cushing with his well-deserved Medal of Honor.”

A native of Delafield, WI, Lt. Cushing is best remembered for his actions on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg when he helped turn the tide during Pickett’s Charge. On July 3, 1863, the third day of battle, Cushing and the 110 men under his command received the full force of Confederate artillery and Pickett’s Charge of 13,000 infantry. Over the course of just a few hours, all of his officers had been killed and Cushing himself was wounded. But he continued to fight, and sustained two more wounds before dying on the field of battle.

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor must be formally made within two years of the heroic action and awarded within three years. The legislation passed by Congress makes it possible to waive this requirement.  The medal can be awarded after the bill is signed by the President and the waiver is approved by the Department of Defense. Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner are sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting his prompt attention to Lt. Cushing’s record and look forward to his recommendation that Lt. Cushing be recognized with the Medal of Honor.

Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner also thanked Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin for leading the effort in the Senate to award Lt. Cushing.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon today issued a decision, ruling that the NSA’s metadata collection program is likely unconstitutional.   

Questioning the constitutionality of the collection program, Judge Leon wrote: “The Government, in its understandable zeal to protect our homeland, has crafted a counterterrorism program with respect to telephony metadata that strikes the balance based in large part on a thirty-four year old Supreme Court precedent, the relevance of which has been eclipsed by technology advances and a cell phone-centric lifestyle heretofore inconceivable.”

He also stated: “The Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature.”

Leon granted “an injunction and enter[ed] an order that (1) bars the government from collection, as part of the NSA’s Bulk Telephony Metadata Program, any telephony metadata associated with their personal Verizon accounts and (2) requires the Government to destroy any such metadata in its possession that was collected through the bulk collection program.”

Leon will stay his order pending an appeal. “In doing so, I hereby give the Government fair notice that should my ruling be upheld, this order will go into effect forthwith.”

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner: “Judge Leon’s decision further highlights the need to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. The slow trickle of revelations that began in June about NSA spying have exposed the most intrusive and secretive programs in American history. From the onset, I have been extremely critical of the government’s dragnet collection of Americans’ data.  I am encouraged by the district court’s ruling. It will add to the growing momentum behind the USA FREEDOM Act, which has garnered support from a large, diverse bloc of my colleagues and the business community. The Executive Branch should join Congress to institute meaningful reform.”

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced the USA FREEDOM Act on October 29. This legislation would restore Americans’ privacy rights by reining in the dragnet collection of data by the NSA and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.

The USA FREEDOM Act currently has 115 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and 18 in the Senate. It also has the support of tech giants AOL, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mozilla and others.
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and several other members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concerns with the EPA’s lack of transparency in its public outreach process regarding proposed greenhouse gas regulations for power plants.

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “People around the country deserve an opportunity to weigh in on policies that directly affect their lives. But instead of conducting an honest discussion, the EPA’s listening session tour amounted to nothing more than a publicity stunt. The EPA’s proposed regulations on carbon emissions will have damning effects on jobs, energy costs and the economy – especially in states like Wisconsin that rely on coal-fueled power plants. But not one listening session was held in Wisconsin. The EPA’s disingenuous attempt at transparency is a slap in the face to all Americans who will be directly affected by its regulatory power grab.”