Jim Sensenbrenner

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Jim Sensenbrenner currently serves the 5th Congressional district of Wisconsin

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

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Jim Sensenbrenner voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Iraq War

Sensenbrenner voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

USA Patriot Act

On October 23, 2001, Sensenbrenner introduced the USA PATRIOT Act to the House. The Act gives the government more power to combat terrorism. However, it has been argued that this Act also allows it to violate citizens' 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 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. During this meeting, judiciary Democrats also talked about Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq war. Ignoring proper meeting procedure and decorum, he ordered the court reporter to halt transcriptions of the proceedings, C-SPAN cameras covering the meeting be shut off, and that discussion on the issue be halted.

Terry Schiavo

In an oft-replayed but little-noted video clip recorded during the debate over removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube in March 2005, Sensenbrenner mispronounced her name (pronounced /Shai vo/ by the Schiavo family) as "/Shee-ahvo/." He went on to introduce legislation attempting to block removal of her feeding tube, arguing passionately that action was immediately necessary. He gave no reason why no action was taking by the House of Representatives when Schiavo's persistent vegatative state was first diagnosed in 1993 or during the previous two periods during which her feeding tube was removed.

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005

On February 9, 2005, Sensenbrenner introduced the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which made sweeping changes to American bankruptcy laws, affecting both consumer and business bankruptcies. Many of the bill's provisions were explicitly designed to make it "more difficult for people to file for bankruptcy" in order to curb abuse. Sensenbrenner commented on the bill, "this bill will help restore responsibility and integrity to the bankruptcy system by cracking down on fraudulent, abusive, and opportunistic bankruptcy claims." The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on April 20, 2005.[2]

Main article: Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005

Other Controversies

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

Sensenbrenner authored the Real ID Act, which was passed into law on May 11, 2005. This controversial act discusses standards for drivers' licenses, national border patrols, individuals seeking asylum, and individuals seeking visas. However, it also allows the Attorney General and the Department of Homeland Security to bypass all laws and all judicial oversight while creating stronger borders.

In December 2005, he introduced immigration policy with no guest worker program.

Although the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina and the inadequate government response to the disaster is expected to cause further economic misery for the poor residents of New Orleans and other affected areas, Congressman Sensenbrenner has refused to allow victims of the hurricane to enjoy any exception to the recent Bankruptcy Reform, a recent bill passed with widespread support of the banking industry that aims to make it more difficult for consumers to declare bankruptcy. "If someone in Katrina is down and out, and has no possibility of being able to repay 40 percent or more of their debts, then the new bankruptcy law doesn't apply," Sensenbrenner said.[3]


On January 26, 2005, Rep. Sensenbrenner introduced the REAL ID Act of 2005 in the House "to establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence." The act required state IDs to include a minimum of the person's full legal name, signature, date of birth, gender, and driver's license or identification card number. It was required to have physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes and use common machine-readable technology with defined minimum data elements.

Main article: REAL ID Act of 2005

DC voting rights

When the District of Columbia Fair and Equal Voting Rights Act of 2007 was introduced in the 109th Congress and passed the Government Reform Committee, Chairman Sensenbrenner promised to bring the bill up for a vote in the Judiciary Committee as well. In March 2007, after the bill was introduced again in the 110th Congress, Sensenbrenner introduced an amendment to another amendment to the measure sponsored by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) that would require Utah to utilize a state redistricting map that included a new district, rather than establishing an at-large seat, as part of a compromise in giving D.C. a House vote.

Main article: District of Columbia Fair and Equal Voting Rights Act of 2007

August 2007 House voting controversy

When House Republicans contested an August 2, 2007 vote regarding the FY2008 agriculture appropriations bill, they began their protest the following morning when the House voted on the usual procedural motion to verify the previous day's congressional record. At the time, Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.) was presiding over the House and ignored a Republican request for a record vote on the measure, a maneuver they were entitled to since they had a majority of the members then on the House floor. Sensenbrenner called on Murtha to explain his ruling, and Murtha responded by saying, "It is up to the chair. Let me tell you this, the vote will show that the approval would be approved by the House, as it has been." Later that day, House Republicans attempted to pass a resolution rebuking Murtha for his actions as chair and his disrespectful treatment of Rep. Sensenbrenner, but were successfully blocked by the Democrats.

Main article: August 2007 House voting controversy



Sensenbrenner was born June 14, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Political Science in 1965. He received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1968.

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.

Bryan Kennedy, a Democrat and professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, who ran for Congress in 2004, has announced plans to again run against Sensenbrenner in the 2006 Congressional elections.[4]

Positions and Views

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 and creates a federal database of state-issued identification. Jim Sensenbrenner attached the controversial act as a rider on military spending bill HR418. Subsequently, it was passed by the Senate without debate.[5]

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 he does not favor making all of the provisions of the act permanent, but rather wants some of them to continue to have periodic review by Congress. [6]

Sensenbrenner believes in criminal prosecution of broadcasters and cable operators who violate decency standards as opposed to the current Federal Communications Commission regulatory methods.[7]

On December 16, 2005, Sensenbrenner introduced the Digital Transition Content Security Act, which is meant to plug the analog hole.

2006 congressional elections

Sensenbrenner defeated Democrat Bryan Kennedy to retain his seat.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00004291&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Jim Sensenbrenner
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption
  • Congressional Grace Caucus

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Episcopal Church
  • State Bar of Wisconsin

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Jim Sensenbrenner. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
2449 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4905
Phone: 202-225-5101
Fax: 202-225-3190
Email: sensenbrenner AT mail.house.gov

District Office- Brookfield:
120 Bishops Way, Room 154
Brookfield, WI 53005-6294
Phone: 262-784-1111

2008 Campaign Contact Information

Official Sensenbrenner for Congress campaign website

The Sensenbrenner Committee
P.O. Box 575
Brookfield, WI 53008

Phone: 414-967-9292
Fax: 414-967-9293


Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Kathleen Day, "Bankruptcy bill passes; Bush expected to sign,” The Washington Post, April 15, 2005.
  3. Martin H. Bosworth. "No Bankruptcy Relief for Katrina Victims," Consumer Affairs. September 15, 2005.
  4. "CNN page on Bryan Kennedy," CNN.
  5. Ted Barrett. "House, Senate agree on $82 billion war spending bill," CNN. May 3, 2005.
  6. Craig Gilbert. "Sensenbrenner says Patriot Act faces time limits," Journal Sentinel.
  7. Brooks Boliek. "Sensenbrenner to cable execs: Indecency is criminal act," The Hollywood Reporter. April 5th, 2005.

External resources

External articles

Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Congressional Grace Caucus
Committees: House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, House Committee on the Judiciary, House Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust, House Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust/Subcommittee on Courts the Internet and Intellectual Property, House Judiciary Task Force on Antitrust/Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism and Homeland Security, House Committee on Science and Technology, House Committee on Science and Technology/Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 7, 1978
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1979
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Wisconsin Senate, Wisconsin State Assembly,
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 120 Bishops Way, Room 154, Brookfield, WI 53005-6294
Phone: 262-784-1111 / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Website: http://www.sensenbrenner.org/
Webform Email: / Email: info@sensenbrenner.org

Campaign Offices:

1. The Sensenbrenner Committee, P.O. Box 575, Brookfield, WI 53008
Phone: 414-967-9292 / Fax: 414-967-9293

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: June 14, 1943