Jeb Hensarling (born May 29, 1957) has been the Republican congressman representing Texas' 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2003.
Hensarling was born in Stephenville, the seat of Erath County, and grew up on the family farm in College Station.
He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 1982, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He is also 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 different 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 was elected chairman of the Republican Study Committee following the 2006 Congressional elections, defeating Todd Tiahrt.
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 Taxpayer 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 2008 Jeb Hensarling was mentioned as a possible candidate for House GOP leadership, and sought to run for Republican Conference Chairman, the number three position in House Republican minority leadership. According to news reports, despite having more than enough support from his colleagues to win, Hensarling stepped aside and endorsed former Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Pence, a longtime friend and ally. Hensarling noted that "House Republicans have no better communicator or Member with communications expertise than Mike Pence."
After the 2010 elections and the announcement from Pence that he was stepping away from his leadership position in the House (possibly to consider a run for Governor of Indiana, US President or Vice President), Hensarling became the favorite of the Republican leadership to move into the GOP Conference Chair (the fourth leadership post upon taking the majority). The House founder of the Tea Party Caucus, Rep.
Michele Bachmann, also announced on her Facebook page her intention to seek the position. This caused some to see the leadership election as "an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement's winners". While Speaker-to-be John Boehner remained neutral on the issue, other members of the leadership quickly endorsed Hensarling, including Eric Cantor, Ron Paul, and the outgoing Mike Pence.
Hensarling has also been mentioned as a top contender to replace outgoing Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison by the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Associated Press, and Fox News.
February 13th, 2012