Jeff Sessions

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Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions.jpg
U.S. Senate, Alabama
Incumbent
In office
1997-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 17
PartyRepublican
PredecessorHowell Heflin (D)
Compensation
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2008
First electedNovember 5, 1996
Next general November 4, 2014
Campaign $$12,724,180
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Alabama Attorney General
1995-1997
Education
Bachelor'sHuntingdon College, 1969
J.D.University of Alabama, 1973
Military service
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1973-1986
Personal
BirthdayDecember 24, 1946
Place of birthSelma, AL
ProfessionAttorney
Net worth$7,080,031
ReligionMethodist
Websites
Office website
Jeff Sessions (b. December 24, 1946, in Selma, AL) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Alabama. Sessions was first elected to the Senate in 1996.

Sessions most recently won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. He defeated Vivian Davis Figures (D) in the general election.

Prior to his election to the Senate, Sessions served as Alabama Attorney General from 1994 to 1996.

Sessions is seeking re-election unopposed in 2014.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Sessions is an average Republican member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republican Party on the majority of bills.

Career

Below is an abbreviated outline of Sessions' academic, professional and political career:[1]

  • 1969: Graduated from Huntingdon College, Montgomery
  • 1973: Graduated from University of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa
  • 1973-1975: Practiced law in Russellville
  • 1973-1977: U.S. Army reserves, attained the rank of captain
  • 1977-1981: Practiced law in Mobile
  • 1981-1993: United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama
  • 1994-1996: Alabama Attorney General
  • 1997-Present: U.S Senator from Alabama

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate

2013-2014

Sessions serves on the following Senate committees:[2]

2011-2012

  • Armed Services
    • Subcommittee on Airland
    • Subcommittee on SeaPower
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Ranking Member
  • Budget, Ranking Member
  • Environment and Public Works
    • Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
    • Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy
    • Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
    • Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Water and Power
  • Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Ranking Member
    • Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security

Key votes

113th Congress

CongressLogo.png

The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1 percent) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session.[3] The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8 percent). For more information pertaining to Sessions's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[4]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Nay3.png Sessions voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[5]

Drones filibuster

See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists criticized President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[6][7][8]

According to the website Breitbart, Sessions was one of 30 Republican senators who did not support the filibuster.[9][10]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[11]

Economy

Farm bill

Nay3.png On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[12] It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[13] Sessions voted with 22 other Republican senators against the bill.

2014 Budget

Nay3.png On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[14][15] The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill.[15] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[16] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Sessions voted with 25 other Republican members against the bill.[14][15]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Nay3.png During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[17] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Sessions voted with the Republican Party against the bill.[18]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Nay3.png Sessions voted against H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[19]

Immigration

Mexico-U.S. border

Yea3.png Sessions voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[20]

Social issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Nay3.png Sessions voted against S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[21]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Sessions voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by an 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[22]

Issues

On The Issues Vote Match

Jeff Sessions' Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Sessions is a Moderate Populist Conservative. Sessions received a score of 36 percent on social issues and 58 percent on economic issues.[23]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[24]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Opposes Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Opposes
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Opposes Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Opposes
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Favors
Absolute right to gun ownership Opposes Human needs over animal rights Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Opposes Maintain US sovereignty from UN Opposes
Prioritize green energy Strongly Opposes Expand the military Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Opposes Stay out of Iran Strongly Opposes
Privatize Social Security Opposes Never legalize marijuana Opposes
Note: Information last updated: June 17, 2014.[23]

Voting Rights Act

Sessions said that Congress does not need to update the Voting Rights Act by restoring federal oversight of elections in a handful of states. Part of the legislation used to decide which states needed to have federal oversight was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. Sessions said that legislation to write a new formula to decide which states need monitoring is unnecessary. He said, "The Supreme Court only struck down a small part and there remains very powerful provisions... to stop any form of discriminatory voting actions. To pass a law in the U.S. Congress that provides penalties only to some states and not to others can only be justified for the most extraordinary circumstances. And the justification no longer exists." Civil rights groups in favor of the legislation claim that it is critical in order to detect and prevent discrimination before it affects voters.[25]

Senate Judiciary Committee

Sessions was first appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn in on January of 1997.[26]

Sessions serves as the Republican Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts. He also serves on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Crime and Drugs, Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, and Terrorism and Homeland Security.[27]

Denied a federal judgeship

When Sessions was a US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, former President Ronald Reagan nominated him to a judgeship in that district in 1985. It was during a confirmation hearing in 1986 that Sessions was denied a federal judgeship when the committee was deadlocked on a 9-9 vote which prevented him from having a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.[28]

It was during his 1986 confirmation hearing that Sessions was accused by a fellow African-American US Attorney for displaying racial insensitivity. This was before his confirmation hearing when Sessions prosecuted three civil rights workers for voter fraud, alleging that the three workers tampered with ballots. The case was used by civil rights groups in opposing the confirmation of Jeff Sessions.[28]

Thomas Figures, a former Assistant US Attorney that worked under Sessions, accused the former US Attorney of calling him "boy" in conversations which led to the allegations of racial insensitivity against him. Another Assistant US Attorney that worked under Sessions, Edward Vulevich, challenged Figures' testimony.[28]

The accusations leveled on Sessions led former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden to pressure former President Reagan to drop his nomination for Sessions. Many legal experts considered this one of the first instances when confirmation hearings for federal judges turned into the very partisan battles that exist currently in the Senate.[28]

Elections

2014

See also: United States Senate elections in Alabama, 2014

Sessions sought re-election in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Alabama. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary on June 3, 2014, and faces no general election opponent in November.

2008

On November 4, 2008, Jeff Sessions won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Vivian Davis Figures (D) in the general election.[29]

U.S. Senate, Alabama General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJeff Sessions incumbent 63.4% 1,305,383
     Democratic Vivian Davis Figures 36.5% 752,391
     N/A Write-in 0.1% 2,417
Total Votes 2,060,191

Full history


Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Sessions is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Sessions raised a total of $12,724,180 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 25, 2013.[32]

Jeff Sessions's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2008 US Senate (Alabama) Won $6,370,595
2002 US Senate (Alabama) Won $6,353,585
Grand Total Raised $12,724,180

2014

Candidates for Congress are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Sessions' reports.[33]

Jeff Sessions (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[34]April 12, 2013$2,777,227.78$101,243$(47,441.76)$2,831,029.12
July Quarterly[35]July 12, 2013$2,831,029.12$180,280.83$(54,775.34)$2,956,534.61
October Quarterly[36]September 30, 2013$2,956,534.61$220,476.83$(72,397.40)$3,104,614.04
Year-End[37]February 4, 2014$3,104,614$139,315$(66,074)$3,177,855
April Quarterly[38]April 10, 2014$3,177,855$269,443$(103,550)$3,343,748
Pre-Primary[39]May 22, 2014$3,343,748$85,492$(52,964)$3,376,275
July Quarterly[40]July 15, 2014$3,376,275$119,439$(124,002)$3,371,713
October Quarterly[41]October 15, 2014$3,371,713$130,201$(475,785)$3,026,129
Running totals
$1,245,890.66$(996,989.5)

MLB donations

In August 2013, the Federal Election Commission required the Sessions campaign to return a $5,000 from the Major League Baseball PAC. The MLB broke FEC regulations by donating the maximum allowed donation, $5,000, twice during the 2014 cycle.[42]

2008

Breakdown of the source of Sessions' campaign funds before the 2010 election.

Sessions won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Sessions' campaign committee raised a total of $6,370,595 and spent $3,906,680.[43]

His top 5 contributors between 2003-2008 were:


Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Sessions' net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $3,399,062 and $10,761,000. That averages to $7,080,031, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Sessions ranked as the 22nd most wealthy senator in 2012.[44] Between 2004 and 2012, Sessions' calculated net worth[45] increased by an average of 23 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[46]

Jeff Sessions Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
2004$2,490,451
2012$7,080,031
Growth from 2004 to 2012:184%
Average annual growth:23%[47]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[48]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

Analysis

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Sessions is a "rank-and-file Republican" as of July 2014. This was the same rating Sessions received in June 2013.[49]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[50]

Sessions most often votes with:

Sessions least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Sessions missed 114 of 5,595 roll call votes from January 1997 to July 2014. This amounts to 2 percent, which is equal to the median of 2 percent among current senators as of July 2014.[51]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Sessions paid his congressional staff a total of $2,339,784 in 2011. He ranked 19th on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 25th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Alabama ranked 50th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[52]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Click the link above for the full ratings of all members of Congress.

2013

Sessions ranked 15th in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators in 2013.[53]

2012

Sessions ranked 22nd in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators in 2012.[54]

2011

Sessions ranked 12th in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators in 2011.[55]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.

2014

Sessions voted with the Republican Party 86.8 percent of the time, which ranked 25th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of July 2014.[56]

2013

Sessions voted with the Republican Party 87.9 percent of the time, which ranked 26th among the 45 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[57]

Personal

Sessions and his wife, Mary Blackshear, have three children.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Jeff + Sessions + Alabama + Senate

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Jeff Sessions News Feed

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See also

External links


References

  1. Biographical Director of the United States Congress, "Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III," accessed October 20, 2011
  2. Congressional Quarterly, "Senate Committee List," accessed January 22, 2013
  3. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  4. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  5. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  6. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  7. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  8. ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
  9. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
  10. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  11. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  12. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. New York Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
  16. Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  17. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  18. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  19. Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  20. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  21. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  22. U.S. Senate, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  23. 23.0 23.1 On The Issues, "Jeff Sessions Vote Match," accessed June 17, 2014
  24. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more-restrictive answers.
  25. Montgomery Advertiser, "Sessions opposes update to Voting Rights Act," June 25, 2014
  26. Senate Judiciary, "List of previous members"
  27. Senate Judiciary Committee, "List of Subcommittees"
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 "ABC News" The Racial Controversy That Cost Sen. Sessions a Judgeship in 1986, June 2, 2009
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
  31. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
  32. Open Secrets, "Career Fundraising for Jeff Sessions," accessed March 25, 2013
  33. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions Summary Report," accessed July 22, 2013
  34. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions April Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  35. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions July Quarterly," accessed July 22, 2013
  36. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions October Quarterly," accessed October 28, 2013
  37. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions Year-End," accessed June 2, 2014
  38. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions April Quarterly," accessed June 2, 2014
  39. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions Pre-Primary," accessed June 2, 2014
  40. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2014
  41. Federal Election Commission, "Jeff Sessions October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  42. The Washington Post, "FEC cries foul at Major League Baseball donations," accessed August 23, 2013
  43. Open Secrets, "Jeff Sessions 2008 Election Cycle," accessed October 22, 2011
  44. OpenSecrets, "Jeff Sessions (R-Ala), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  45. This figure represents the average annual percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below) to 2012, divided by the number of years calculated.
  46. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  47. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  48. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  49. GovTrack, "Jeff Sessions," accessed July 17, 2014
  50. OpenCongress, "Jeff Sessions," accessed July 14, 2014
  51. GovTrack, "Jeff Sessions," accessed July 17, 2014
  52. LegiStorm, "Jeff Sessions," accessed August 6, 2012
  53. National Journal, "2013 Senate Vote Ratings," accessed July 17, 2014
  54. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 21, 2013
  55. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," accessed February 23, 2012
  56. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  57. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Howell T. Heflin
U.S. Senate - Alabama
1997-Present
Succeeded by
-