Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.): “Senator Burr’s proposal to plug the so-called “holes” in the USA FREEDOM Act is dead-on-arrival in the House. His bill is not stronger on national security, it is just much weaker on civil liberties. This is nothing more than a last-ditch effort to kill the USA FREEDOM Act, which passed the House 338-88. If the Senate coalesces around this approach, the result will be the expiration of important authorities needed to keep our country safe.”
Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued the following statement urging the Senate to pass the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015.
“The House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Act last week by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 338-88. If the Senate rejects the USA FREEDOM Act, Section 215—and likely the NSA program that some in the Senate are trying to preserve—will expire before we reconvene on the evening of June 1.
“The USA FREEDOM Act protects Americans’ civil liberties and enhances our national security. It ends bulk collection of data, increases transparency, and prevents government overreach. The bill also preserves key intelligence-gathering authorities. Section 215 will remain a valuable counterterrorism tool for the FBI and a targeted call detail records authority will replace the NSA’s current, unlawful program.
“If Section 215 is allowed to expire, these tools will simply disappear. The Senate will have blocked reform at great cost to the intelligence community. The USA FREEDOM Act is the only option that does not lead down that path. We once again urge the Senate to take up and pass the USA Freedom Act without delay.”
Correcting the Record on Section 215
Myth: Congress can act on June 1st to reauthorize or amend Section 215.
Fact: Three provisions of the Patriot Act, including Section 215, are set to expire at midnight on May 31, before the House is back in session. According to the Congressional Research Service, ‘absent any reauthorization, beginning at 12:00 AM in the morning of June 1, 2015, §§ 501 and 502 of FISA would read as they read on October 25, 2001.’ Moreover, the current FISA court order authorizing the NSA’s bulk telephone metadata program expires on June 1 at 5:00 p.m.
Myth: The USA FREEDOM Act reverts our intelligence-gathering programs to a pre-9/11 posture.
Fact: The USA FREEDOM Act enacts sweeping reforms to surveillance programs – ending bulk collection, creating a panel of experts at the FISA court, and mandating transparency – but the bill also preserves key authorities. Section 215 will remain a valuable counterterrorism tool for the FBI. A targeted, narrowly-tailored call detail records authority will replace the NSA’s current, unlawful program. Additionally, the USA FREEDOM Act enhances national security by providing targeted tools to keep America safe.
Myth: A brief sunset of Section 215 and other authorities under the Patriot Act is a mere technicality.
Fact: If the Senate chooses to allow these authorities to expire, they should do so knowing that sunset may be permanent. The USA FREEDOM Act has earned the support of the White House, the intelligence community, privacy and civil liberties advocates, and private industry. Nearly every member of the House of Representatives demands reform to these authorities. No such coalition exists for a clean reenactment of Section 215.Read More
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following statement Thursday urging the Senate to take up and pass the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015:
“Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate have come together in support of historic legislation that protects Americans’ privacy rights and our national security. The House took an important step this week by overwhelmingly approving the USA FREEDOM Act by a vote of 338-88. The Senate should do the same. The USA FREEDOM Act is a carefully crafted compromise that has the support of the intelligence community, technology industry, and privacy groups. For this reason, we will not agree to any extension of the NSA’s bulk collection program, which has already been ruled unlawful by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate should not delay reform again this year. Instead, the Senate should immediately pass the USA FREEDOM Act.”
Learn more about the USA FREEDOM Act by clicking here.Read More
You know you've drafted a strong bill when you unite both national security hawks and civil libertarians. The USA FREEDOM Act has done that. It also has the support of privacy groups, tech companies, and the intelligence community.
This bill is an extremely well-drafted compromise—the product of nearly two years of work. It effectively protects Americans’ civil liberties and our national security. I am very proud of the USA FREEDOM Act and am confident it is the most responsible path forward.
I don’t fault my colleagues who wish this bill went further to protect our civil liberties. For years the government has violated the privacy of innocent Americans, and I share your anger. But letting Section 215 and other surveillance authorities expire would not only threaten our national security, it would also mean less privacy protections.
The USA FREEDOM Act ends bulk collection across all domestic surveillance authorities. It also expands transparency with increased reporting from both government and private companies. If the Administration finds a new way to circumvent the law, Congress and the public will know. The bill also requires the FISC to declassify significant legal decisions, bringing an end to secret laws.
If the PATRIOT Act authorities expire, and the FISC approves bulk collection under a different authority, how would the public know? Without the USA FREEDOM Act, they won’t. Allowing the PATRIOT Act authorities to expire sounds like a civil libertarian victory, but it will actually mean less privacy and more risk.
And now to my colleagues who oppose the USA FREEDOM Act because they don’t believe it does enough for national security. This bill is a significant improvement over the status quo. Americans will be safer post-USA FREEDOM than they would be if Congress passes a clean reauthorization of the expiring provisions.
I’m not ignorant to the threats we face, but a clean reauthorization would be irresponsible. Congress never intended Section 215 to allow bulk collection. This program is illegal and based on a blatant misinterpretation of the law.
That said, the FREEDOM Act gives the intelligence community new tools to combat terrorism in more targeted and effective ways.
Specifically, the bill replaces the Administration’s bulk metadata collection with a targeted program to collect only records the government needs without compromising the privacy of innocent Americans.
It includes new authorities to allow the Administration to expedite emergency requests under Section 215, and fills holes in our surveillance law that require intelligence agencies to go dark on known terrorists or spies when they transit from outside to inside the U.S. or vice versa.
Under current law, the Administration has to temporarily stop monitoring persons of interest as it shifts between domestic and international surveillance authorities. What's more likely to stop the next terrorist attack, the bulk collection of records of innocent Americans or the ability to track a known terrorist as soon as he enters the U.S.?
If you answer that question the same way I do, then don't let the bluster and fearmongering of the bill’s opponents convince you we are safer with a clean reauthorization than we are with this bill.
Attorney General Lynch and Director of National Intelligence Clapper recognize this. In a recent letter of support, they wrote, “The significant reforms contained in this legislation will provide the public greater confidence in how our intelligence activities are carried out and in the oversight of those activities, while ensuring vital national security authorities remain in place.”
Let's not kill these important reforms because we wish the bill did more. There is no perfect. Every bill we vote on could do more. I play the lottery. When I win, I don't throw away the winning ticket because I wish the jackpot was higher.
It’s time to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. I'm asking all of my colleagues—Democrat and Republican, security hawks and civil libertarians—to vote for it. Let's speak with one voice in the House of Representatives and together urge the Senate to work quickly and adopt these important reforms.
The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 338-88 the USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048). This bipartisan bill – introduced by Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), reforms our nation’s intelligence-gathering programs operated under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 215 of the Patriot Act, along with two other provisions, are set to expire at the end of the month.
The USA Freedom Act expands upon the civil liberties protections contained in the bill approved by the House of Representatives last year. It ends bulk collection of data, strengthens protections for civil liberties, increases transparency, and prevents government overreach, while also enhancing national security. The bill is supported by a broad coalition of civil liberties advocates and technology groups, and has been vetted by national security agencies. It also has the support of President Obama.
Crime Subcommittee Chairman Sensenbrenner, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Nadler praised today’s vote in the joint statement below.
“The American people have told Congress loud and clear that we need to rein in our nation’s surveillance programs and today the House of Representatives listened to them by passing the USA Freedom Act. This strong, bipartisan bill contains the most sweeping set of reforms to government surveillance practices in nearly 40 years. The USA Freedom Act ends bulk collection once and for all, enhances civil liberties protections, increases transparency for both American businesses and the government, and provides national security officials targeted tools to keep America safe.
“In light of last week’s ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the government’s bulk collection program exceeds what is authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the Senate should waste no time defending a program that has been ruled unlawful and take up the USA Freedom Act as soon as possible.”
Key Components of the USA Freedom Act:
Protects civil liberties:
• Ends bulk collection: Prohibits bulk collection of ALL records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the FISA pen register authority, and national security letter statutes.
• Prevents government overreach: The bulk collection prohibition is strengthened by prohibiting large-scale, indiscriminate collection, such as all records from an entire state, city, or zip code.
• Allows challenges of national security letter gag orders: NSL nondisclosure orders must be based upon a danger to national security or interference with an investigation. Codifies procedures for individual companies to challenge nondisclosure orders. Requires periodic review of nondisclosure orders to determine necessity.
Improves transparency and better information-sharing with the American people:
• Expertise at the FISA court: The bill creates a panel of amicus curie at the FISA court to provide guidance on matters of privacy and civil liberties, communications technology, and other technical or legal matters.
• Declassified FISA opinions: All significant constructions or interpretations of law by the FISA court must be made public. These include all significant interpretations of the definition of “specific selection term,” the concept at the heart of the ban on bulk collection.
• Robust government reporting: The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will provide the public with detailed information about how they use these national security authorities.
• Robust company reporting: Tech companies will have a range of options for describing how they respond to national security orders, all consistent with national security needs.
Strengthens national security:
• Gives the government the tools it needs: Creates a new call detail records program that is closely overseen by the FISA court.
• Contains an additional tool to combat ISIS: The bill closes a loophole in current law that requires the government to stop tracking foreign terrorists when they enter the U.S. This provision gives the government 72 hours to track foreign terrorists when they initially enter the United States (it does not apply to U.S. persons) – enough time for the government to obtain the proper authority under U.S. law.
• Increases the statutory maximum prison sentence to 20 years for providing material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
• Enhances investigations of international proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
• Protects United States’ maritime activities from nuclear threats, weapons of mass destruction, and other threats by implementing the obligations of various treaties to which the United States is a party.
• Provides strictly limited emergency authorities: Creates new procedures for the emergency use of Section 215 but requires the government to destroy the information it collects if a FISA court application is denied.
Learn more about the USA Freedom Act by clicking here.Read More
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) today sent the following letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding E15 gasoline:
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
Section 211(h)(1) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) restricts the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of gasoline sold during summer months in the United States to 9.0 pounds per square inch (psi). The CAA grants a one pound per square in waiver for gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol.
The EPA has consistently stated that the CAA only grants the one pound waiver for gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol. When the EPA authorized the introduction “of gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent ethanol and no more than 15 volume percent ethanol (E15),” it stated that “EPA interprets the 1.0 psi waiver in CAA section 211(h) as being limited to gasoline-ethanol blends that contain 10vol% ethanol.” In January 2011, the EPA reaffirmed its interpretation stating that “EPA has historically implemented CAA section 211(h)(4) through 40 CFR 80.27(d), which provides that gasoline-ethanol blends that contain at least 9vol% ethanol and not more than 10vol% ethanol qualify for the 1.0 psi waiver of the applicable RVP standard.”
When the EPA authorized the introduction of E15 into the marketplace it worked closely with the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) on regulatory issues and a strategy to mitigate the possibility of misfueling. The agency provided specific conditions that the RFA has compiled into the “E15 Retailer Handbook,” which the EPA provides a link to on its website. The E15 Retailer Handbook states that “E15 may not exceed a maximum RVP of 9.0 psi during the summer volatility seasons (June 1-September 15). It also addresses misfueling concerns by providing a photo of the EPA approved E15 label and states that “the EPA encouraged industry to develop a public outreach and education program.”
Despite these statements from the EPA and the RFA, some retailers have relabeled their E15 pumps as flex-fuel during the summer months to avoid abiding by EPA’s interpretation of the CAA’s RVP limits. The EPA classifies E15 as gasoline. Retailers, however, have placed labels on their pumps that state that E15 is not gasoline (see photo 1). These are not the EPA’s approved E15 label (see photo 2 for EPA approved E15 label) that the RFA has made available free of charge to E15 marketers.
Given these facts, please address the following questions by June 1, 2015:
• Is it legal to sell, dispense, supply, offer for supply, transport, or introduce into commerce gasoline with an RVP in excess of 9.0 psi during summer volatility seasons (June 1-September 15) in the 48 contiguous states?
• Is the RFA “E15 Retailer Handbook” correct that the EPA requires E15 pumps to have an EPA approved label?
• Photo evidence suggests that retailers are using an unapproved label for E15 pumps. Does Photo 1 or Photo 2 show the EPA approved E15 label?
• Does the EPA know who provided the E15 label to retailers shown in Photo 1?
• Could these signs be confusing to consumers and lead to misfueling?
• How will the EPA address the potential for misfueling?
• Does the Clean Air Act authorize a 1.0 psi RVP waiver for gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol?
• Has the EPA provided a waiver 1.0 psi RVP waiver for E15?
• How is EPA enforcing the federal E15 pump label?
• How is EPA enforcing E15’s summer RVP?
Thank you for addressing these questions.Read More
The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephony metadata is illegal. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) had the following response:
“Today’s court decision reaffirms what I’ve been saying since the Snowden leaks came to light. Congress never intended Section 215 to allow bulk collection. This program is illegal and based on a blatant misinterpretation of the law. It’s time for Congress to pass the USA FREEDOM Act in order to protect both civil liberties and national security with legally authorized surveillance.”Read More
2449 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., (Jim), represents the Fifth Congressional District of Wisconsin. The Fifth District includes parts of Milwaukee, Dodge and Waukesha counties, and all of Washington and Jefferson counties.
Jim was born in Chicago and later moved to Wisconsin with his family. He graduated from the Milwaukee Country Day School and did his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where he majored in political science. He then earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1968.
After serving ten years in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Jim ran for a U.S. House seat and was elected in November, 1978. He has been reelected since 1980.
Jim’s current committee assignments include serving on the Committee on Science and Technology and the Committee on the Judiciary. Congressman Sensenbrenner is Chairman of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Oversight Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and Internet, and the Subcommittees on Environment and Oversight.
He is the former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and as a long-serving committee member, Jim has established a strong record on crime, intellectual property and constitutional issues. Previously, Jim also served as Chairman of the House Committee on Science, where he solidified his reputation as an independent leader on science issues, as well as oversight.
Throughout his public life, Jim has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve the sanctity of life, eliminate wasteful government spending and protect the interests of American taxpayers. He has regularly been cited by the National Taxpayers Union as one of the most fiscally responsible House Members and is well known for completing his financial disclosure forms down to the penny.
Jim is proud of his many legislative achievements that have helped improve the lives of many during his tenure in Congress.
In 1977, Jim married Cheryl Warren of Green Bay, Wisconsin, a staunch advocate for the rights of the disabled. They have two adult children, Frank and Bob. In his free time, Jim enjoys watching the Packers and reading.
"We will not agree to any extension of the NSA’s bulk collection program, which has already been ruled unlawful" http://t.co/qt9WGqAZzi
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