Frank James Sensenbrenner, Jr

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Frank James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (born June 14, 1943), has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1979, representing the Fifth Congressional District of Wisconsin (map).

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Background

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Sensenbrenner graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science in 1965. He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison] in 1968. Sensenbrenner married Cheryl Warren in 1977, with whom he has two sons: Frank, born in 1981, and Bob, born in 1984. When not in Washington, Sensebrenner resides in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

Political career

While still at Stanford, Sensenbrenner served as staff assistant to Congressman J. Arthur Younger from California. Before becoming a member of Congress, Sensenbrenner served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1969 to 1975 and the Wisconsin State Senate from 1975 to 1979.

Formerly Chairman of the House Science Committee, as of 2005, Sensenbrenner is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and is also a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. In addition, Sensenbrenner serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Sensenbrenner receives high marks from the National Taxpayers Union, an anti-tax non-profit organization.

Bryan Kennedy, a Democratic professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee living in Glendale, Wisconsin who ran for Congress in 2004, has announced plans to again run against Sensenbrenner in the 2006 Congressional elections.[1]

Legislative record and stance on issues

Sensenbrenner held an important role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton, acting as one of the House managers.

In 2005, Sensenbrenner made the headlines by being a vocal advocate of the Real ID Act which requires additional scrutiny of citizenship before issuing drivers' licenses. Jim Sensenbrenner attached the controversial act as a rider on military spending bill HR418. Subsequently, it was passed by the Senate without debate. [2]

As chairman of the judiciary committee, Sensenbrenner wields significant power over the future of the USA PATRIOT Act. He has been quoted as saying that does not favor making the provisions of the act permanent, but rather wants them to continue to have periodic review by Congress.[3]

Sensenbrenner believes in criminal prosecution of broadcasters and cable operators who violate decency standards as opposed to the current FCC regulatory methods.[4]

Controversy

On October 23, 2001, Sensenbrenner introduced the USA PATRIOT Act to the House. The controversial act gives the government much more power to combat terrorism, while purporting to preserve the rights to free-speech, freedom of the press, human rights, and right to privacy.

In November 2004, Sensenbrenner and California Congressman Duncan Hunter objected to provisions of a bill that, among other things, created a National Intelligence Director, a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. The bill, however, completely ignored all of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations that deal with securing the United States border.

On April 26, 2005, it was widely reported that Sensenbrenner has had lobbyists pay for his transportation. His total travel expenses are higher than any other congressman.

On June 10, 2005, Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, abruptly ended and walked out of a meeting where Republicans and Democrats were supposed to be debating the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act, but Judiciary Democrats decided to talk about Guantanimo Bay and the Iraq war. Because Democrats were discussing matters not germane to the Committee's jurisdiction, he ordered the court reporter to halt transcriptions of the proceedings. C-SPAN cameras covering the meeting, however, remained on.

Later that month Sensenbrenner raised eyebrows when he wrote a letter to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals demanding a longer sentence for a drug courier.

In 2006, he introduced an immigration bill, HR 4377, which called for building a 700-mile wall between the US and Mexico, and making illegal immigrants into felons.


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