Jeb Hensarling (born May 29, 1957) is an American politician who has served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Texas's 5th congressional district since 2003. A member of the Republican Party, Hensarling currently chairs the House Financial Services Committee, and has previously served as the chairman of the House Republican Conference from 2011 to 2013.
Hensarling was born in Stephenville, the seat of government of Erath County in Central Texas; he was reared on the family farm in College Station. His father, Charles Andrew "Chase" Hensarling (1928–2014), was also a native of Stephenville, a 1949 graduate of Texas A&M University, and a United States Army officer. Charles Hensarling was engaged in the poultry business and was the president of Hy-Lay Hatcheries in Bryan, Texas. He also worked as an A&M Extension Agent and was a past president of the Texas Egg Council. In 1953, Charles Hensarling married the former Ann Brock. He served as president of the Texas A&M Consolidated Independent School District and was a past president of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Council in College Station. He later was a member of the Abiding Savior Lutheran Church Council in Cameron in Milam County, Texas, where he and his wife, retired. In addition to Jeb Hensarling, Charles and Ann have an older son, James Andrew Hensarling (born 1954) and wife, Lee of Tyler and a daughter, Carolyn Hensarling Arizpe and husband, Homero, of San Antonio, Texas.
Like his father, Jeb Hensarling graduated from Texas A&M University; he received a bachelor's degree in economics in 1979. In 1982, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He is an Eagle Scout.
Prior to serving in Congress, Hensarling was State Director for Texas Senator Phil Gramm from 1985 until 1989. From 1991 to 1993, he served as executive director of the Republican Senatorial Committee.
Hensarling next served as a vice president at two companies before becoming owner of San Jacinto Ventures in 1996 and CEO of Family Support Assurance Corporation in 2001. He served as vice president of Green Mountain Energy from 1999 to 2001.
Hensarling was elected to his first term in 2002, defeating Democratic opponent Ron Chapman with 58 percent of the vote. He was reelected in 2004 with 64 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Bill Bernstein.
A December 31, 2005 article in National Review profiled his work as the country's "budget nanny", saying that he has replaced his mentor, former Senator Phil Gramm, in this role. Hensarling's proposed legislation is said to intend to force Congress to "decide how much money they can afford to spend, and then prioritize within those limits." The article says that "the chief problem with any proposal to reform the budget process is that it excites almost nobody."
Hensarling opposed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (H.R. 3370; 113th Congress), a bill that would delay some of the reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. Hensarling criticized the bill, saying the bill would "postpone actuarially sound rates for perhaps a generation... (and) kill off a key element of risk-based pricing permanently, which is necessary if we are to ever transition to market competition." Hensarling criticized the National Flood Insurance Programs for regularly underestimating flood risk.
- Committee on Financial Services (Chair)
- Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Co-chair)
Hensarling has maintained a conservative voting record: he has consistently voted against pro-choice legislation, stem cell research, same-sex marriage and hate crimes legislation, and consistently supported free trade policies, the PATRIOT Act, and a Constitutional amendment against flag burning.
Hensarling serves on the House Committee on the Budget and the House Committee on Financial Services, in which position the Dallas Morning News has described him as a “rising congressional star” and a “man of conviction”, and the New York Times has described him as a “conservative leader.” According to the National Taxpayers Union, Hensarling scored the highest pro-taxpayer rating in the Texas delegation, and the second highest in the entire U.S. House of Representatives.
Hensarling co-authored a Constitutional amendment (known as the Spending Limit Amendment) that would prohibit federal spending from growing faster than the economy.
Hensarling has continually pushed Congress to enact a one-year moratorium on all Congressional earmarks, saying that the process needs to be overhauled. In 2007, he introduced the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. He also co-authored the Taxpayer Choice Act.
In January 2008, Hensarling co-authored the Economic Growth Act of 2008.
In May 2008, Hensarling pressed the Republican party leadership in the House to agree to a special session to give lawmakers to air their views on a new policy platform and share ideas on how to define themselves to better advantage going into the 2008 election.
On January 29, 2010, during President Barack Obama's meeting with House Republicans, Hensarling challenged Obama's position on the budget, asserting that the Obama White House was increasing the national deficit at the same rate per month that the previous President had increased it per year. President Obama responded with the following: "the whole question was structured as a talking point for running a campaign....[t]he fact of the matter is that when we came into office, the deficit was $1.3 trillion. So when you say that suddenly I've got a monthly budget that is higher than the annual – or a monthly deficit that's higher than the annual deficit left by Republicans, that's factually just not true, and you know it's not true." The Congressional Budget Office issued a projection in January 2009, before Obama took office, that the budget deficit would reach $1.2 trillion that year.
In September 2008, Hensarling led House Republican efforts to oppose Secretary Henry Paulson and Chairman Ben Bernanke's $700 billion financial bailout, and urged caution before Congress rushed to approve the plan. After voting against the bill, Hensarling said,
no one truly knows if this plan will work – though we all hope that it does. No one knows the true amount of taxpayer exposure. Treasury could spend $700 billion in no time flat and come right back to Congress for $700 billion more. Some believe the taxpayer will actually make money in the deal and I hope that proves true. But history as a guide, I have strong fears it will not. At what point do we finally bailout the American taxpayer from the unconscionable burden he or she faces from out of control Washington spending? I fear that the legislation passed by Congress remains more of a bailout than a work out. I fear it undermines the ethic of personal responsibility. I fear that it rewards bad behavior and punishes good. But my greatest fear is that it changes the role of the federal government in our free market economy, which despite its current problems, remains the envy of the world. How can we have capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down? If we lose our ability to fail will we not in turn lose our ability to succeed? If Congress bails out some firms and sectors, how can it say no to others? We must always be very careful to ensure that any remedy does allow short-term gain to come at the cost of even greater long-term pain – that being the slippery slope to socialism. The thought of my children growing up in America with less freedom and less opportunity is a long-term pain I cannot bear.
Following September 29 House vote, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 777 points in a single day, its largest single-day point drop ever. The House subsequently passed the bill in a second vote on October 3.
On November 19, 2008 Hensarling was appointed by United States House of Representatives Minority Leader John Boehner to serve on the five-member Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. He was the lone dissenting member on the "Accountability for the Troubled Asset Relief Program" report issued by the panel on January 9, 2009.
In 2008, Hensarling was mentioned as a possible candidate for Republican Conference Chairman, then the number three position in the House Republican leadership. However, Hensarling instead endorsed former Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence, a longtime friend and ally. After the 2010 elections, Pence stepped down from the House to run for Governor of Indiana. Hensarling succeeded Pence as Conference Chairman, becoming the fourth-ranking Republican, as the Republican Party had won control of the House of Representatives in 2010. Hensarling stepped down from leadership after the 2012 elections to become Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Prior to Eric Cantor's primary defeat, Hensarling was mentioned as a potential rival to Cantor to succeed John Boehner as leader of the House Republicans. Hensarling may run for Speaker or Majority Leader after the 2014 elections.
- "Hensarling, Charles". Bryan-College Station Eagle. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- "Hensarling Elected House Financial Services Committee Chairman". The Office of Rep. Jeb Hensarling. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- Elliott, Justin (April 30, 2013). "House Finance Chair Hensarling Goes on Ski Vacation with Wall Street". ProPublica. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Kasperowicz, Pete (4 March 2014). "House retreats from 2012 flood reforms". The Hill. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Jeb Hensarling on the Issues
- "Hensarling questions Obama at House GOP conference". washingtonpost.com. 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Obama vows cutback in Social Security". Washington Times. 2009-01-08. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Accountability for the Troubled Asset Relief Program
- "PENCE ANNOUNCES BID FOR HOUSE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN". Mike Pence Congressmean for the 6th District of Indiana official website. Nov 17, 2008.
- Allen, Jonathan (29 January 2012). "Jeb Hensarling eyes financial panel chairmanship". Politico. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- McGrane, Victoria (28 November 2012). "Hensarling to Head House Financial Services Committee". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- House, Billy (5 March 2014). "A Battle Is Brewing to Succeed John Boehner". National Journal. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Sherman, Jake (6 March 2014). "Young Guns gear up for next fight". Politico. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
- Alberta, Tim. "Jeb Hensarling Sees 'Green Light' to Run for Leadership in November". National Journal. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling Lee official House site
- Jeb Hensarling for U.S. Congress
- Jeb Hensarling at DMOZ
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Profile at SourceWatch
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 5th congressional district
|Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee|
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of the Republican Study Committee
| Succeeded by|
|Chairman of the House Republican Conference
| Succeeded by|
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority
| Succeeded by|
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