|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 32nd district
January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||New District|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 5th district
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||John Bryant|
|Succeeded by||Jeb Hensarling|
|Born||Peter Anderson Sessions
March 22, 1955
|Alma mater||Southwestern University|
Peter Anderson "Pete" Sessions (born March 22, 1955) is a politician from the state of Texas. He is a Republican, and currently represents the 32nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was previously the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. He is the Chairman of the House Rules Committee.
Personal life 
Sessions was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Alice June (née Lewis) and William Steele Sessions, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He grew up in Waco and in the suburbs of Washington, DC. He graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1978. Sessions then worked for Southwestern Bell for 16 years. He rose to the rank of district manager for marketing in Dallas, supervising 435 employees and managing a $16 million budget. He also worked at Bell Communications Research (AKA Bellcore, currently named Telcordia Technologies) in New Jersey.
He is an Eagle Scout with four generations of Boy Scouts in his family, and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, as well as a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. As a Congressman, Sessions has sponsored legislation to raise money for the Boy Scouts. At the 2007 National Convention, Sessions was presented with the Pi Kappa Alpha Distinguished Alumni Award.
Sessions and his ex-wife Juanita have two sons, Bill (age 21), who is also a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, and Alex (age 16). Roll Call Newspaper reported that Sessions and Juanita divorced in August 2011 after 27 years of marriage. 
Boy Scouts 
Congressman Sessions has led congressional efforts to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America by introducing a "100 Years of Scouting" commemorative coin that will be released in 2010.[dated info] In 2008, President George W. Bush signed H.R. 5872 entitled, the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. The bill calls for 350,000 $1 silver coins to be minted. The Boy Scouts of America has recognized Congressman Sessions as a Distinguished Eagle Scout. He currently holds a position on the Circle Ten Council of Boy Scouts of America. Both of the Congressman's sons are active in the Boy Scouts. Last year, Alex, who was born with Down Syndrome, joined the Order of the Arrow. Congressman Sessions received the Vigil Honor, the highest achievement in the OA from the Mikanakawa Lodge, Order of the Arrow, in April 2008.
Disability Advocacy 
Congressman Sessions is a strong advocate and leader in Congress for individuals with disabilities. Earlier in his career, he passed the Family Opportunity Act, which gives states the option to create a Medicaid "buy in" for families of children with disabilities whose family income or resources are up to 300% of federal poverty level. Signed into law in 2006, this landmark legislation fixes the Medicaid 'Catch-22' that forces many families to make difficult choices, like foregoing a needed pay increase, just to qualify for Medicaid assistance.
In 2008, Sessions joined Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, then-Representative Patrick Kennedy, and Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton in forming the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus to educate Members of Congress and their staff about Down Syndrome. The Caucus' goal is to promote research and public policies that would enhance the quality of life or individuals with Down syndrome.
In 2007, Sessions was featured as the Honoree at the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) Gala. And in 2011, he was honored with the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.
In 2011, Sessions became one of the original co-sponsors of the ABLE Act, which seeks to amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Although the bill has earned the support of 234 House Members and 40 Senate Members, it did not pass in the 112th Congress and was reintroduced in the 113th Congress. http://www.ndss.org/Advocacy/Legislative-Agenda/Creating-an-Economic-Future-for-Individuals-with-Down-Syndrome/Achieving-a-Better-of-Life-Experience-ABLE-Act/)
In 2012, Sessions joined Governor Jack Markell to push a public-private initiative to encourage companies to hire individuals with disabilities. This bipartisan effort was highlighted in an article on July 18, 2012.
Awards and Recognition 
Sessions has received several awards for his pro-business and conservative voting record in Congress. Some of these awards include: “Spirit of Enterprise Award” from the US Chamber of Commerce; “Guardian of Seniors' Rights” Award from the 60 Plus Association; “The Millard J. and Robert L. Health Award” from the Dallas County Medical Society; “Champion of American Family Business” from the American Family Business Institute; “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” from the Healthcare Leadership Council; and the "2012 Champion of Free Enterprise" award from the Direct Selling Association.
Success at the NRCC 
In the 2010 election, under Sessions’ leadership as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Republicans gained control of the House with historic gains. Republicans won a net gain of 63 seats and 89 new freshman members. This has been cited as the “GOP’s greatest expansion in the House since the Eisenhower Administration.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pete-sessions-running-majority-whip-seeks-reelection-nrcc/story?id=12082535#.UHcWyq5Wq7w). According to ABC news, “During Sessions’ tenure leading the NRCC, the committee raised more than $117 million during the last election cycle, including a single-month record $16 million raised during October, which eclipsed the previous record of $15.4 million raised in October 2002 during soft-money days.”
U.S. House of Representatives 
In his 1991 election bid, Sessions finished third in a special election for the House of Representatives.
In 1993, Sessions left his job with Southwestern Bell to again run for Congress, against 5th District incumbent Democrat John Bryant. Sessions made a tour of the district with a livestock trailer full of horse manure, claiming that the Clinton administration's health care plan stank more than the manure. Sessions lost by 2,400 votes. He subsequently became Vice President for Public Policy at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), a Dallas-based conservative public policy research institute.
In 1996, when Bryant decided to seek a Senate seat, Sessions was elected to succeed him in the 5th District, defeating Democrat John Pouland with 47 percent of the vote. Sessions was re-elected in 1998, defeating school teacher Victor Morales with 56 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2000 with 54 percent of the vote against Regina Montoya Coggins.
When redistricting after the 2000 Census made the 5th slightly more Democratic, Sessions moved to the new 32nd District (map) for the 2002 election. He won that with 68 percent of the vote over Pauline Dixon.
In 2004, Sessions defeated fellow Congressman Martin Frost, a 13-term Democrat, who had moved to the 32nd after the Republican-engineered redistricting in 2003 eliminated Frost's former district. Sessions won 54-44%, in what was considered the most expensive U.S. House race in the nation. According to the Associated Press, "The race also was one of the nastiest, with Frost unearthing a decades-old streaking incident by Sessions in his college days and questioning Sessions' commitment to security with an ad featuring the World Trade Center towers in flames. Sessions criticized Frost for booking Peter Yarrow of the 1960s group Peter, Paul and Mary for a fundraiser. Yarrow had faced an indecency with a child charge years earlier."
In 2010, Sessions faced Dallas businessman and attorney Grier Raggio and Libertarian John Jay Myers. The election was initially named as one of the top dark horse battles in the country. Anti-Democratic sentiment rose nationwide throughout 2010, however, and Sessions won re-election easily.
In 2012, Sessions faced Democrat Katherine Savers McGovern and Independent Seth Hollis. Sessions was endorsed by the Dallas Morning News in the race and won re-election easily again.
Committee assignments 
• House Committee on Rules (Chairman) o In 2012, Sessions was named Chairman of the House Rules Committee for the 113th Congress by Speaker of the House John Boehner. The Committee on Rules is amongst the oldest standing committees in the House, having been first formally constituted on April 2, 1789. The gateway for all legislation, the committee has the power to determine which bills reach the House floor.
Party leadership and caucus memberships • National Republican Congressional Committee (former Chairman) • Results Caucus • Malaysia Trade, Security and Economic Cooperation Caucus • Republican Study Committee • Congressional Hispanic Conference • Tea Party Caucus
Party leadership and caucus memberships 
- National Republican Congressional Committee (Chairman)
- Results Caucus
- Malaysia Trade, Security and Economic Cooperation Caucus
- Republican Study Committee
- Congressional Hispanic Conference
- Tea Party Caucus
Connections to Abramoff 
In late 2001 and early 2002, Sessions cosigned letters to two Cabinet members asking them to shut down casinos operated by several Native American tribes. Within 18 months of sending the letters, Sessions received a total of $20,500 from tribes associated with Jack Abramoff, raising suspicion [according to whom?] that Sessions had written the letters to curry favor with Abramoff as he represented a number of competing tribes. In response, the Sessions office said he wrote the letters because of his view that gambling is a local issue, falling under his long held support for federalism.
Taliban comments 
In early February 2009 he made the following comment about the Republican Party legislative strategy in the House of Representatives: "Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during the 60-minute sitdown. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes." He continued: "I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban.... I'm saying an example of how you go about [it] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."
In 2008, Sessions added a $1.6 million earmark to an appropriations bill, for dirigible research. The earmark benefitted a Chicago company, Jim G. Ferguson & Associates, which has no experience in government contracting or dirigible research. Former Sessions aide and convicted felon Adrian Plesha was a lobbyist for the firm.
In September, Adrian Plesha sued Jim G. Ferguson & Associates for non-payment of fees and expenses connected with his lobbying effort on their behalf. The lawsuits mentions the dirigible research project, saying, "as a direct result of Plesha’s services in 2007 through 2008, Plesha was able to secure a $1.6 million appropriation for defendants in September 2008...".
Ties to Allen Stanford 
Sessions has come under criticism [according to whom?] for his personal ties to Allen Stanford. Records show that Sessions received over $44,000 in political contributions from Allen Stanford and his associates. Sessions also took multiple trips to Fire Island and to the Caribbean to attend Stanford sponsored events. These trips included private travel for Sessions on Stanford's fleet of jets and accommodations.
Racial comments 
In September 2010, Sessions remarked after watching the Princeton University men's basketball team, "How often can you go see a bunch of white guys play basketball?" He also reportedly said that the players stayed entirely below the rim. The comments were described as an allusion to the phrase "White Men Can't Jump", and were labeled as inappropriate by New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell.
Countrywide Financial loan 
In January 2012, it was reported that Sessions received a so-called "VIP" or "Friends of Angelo" loan in 2007 from troubled mortgage lender Countrywide Financial, in which loans were granted at lower interest rates than were available to the public. Former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo created the program to boost the company's standing with politicians, celebrities and well-connected business figures. The congressman received a $1 million loan from Countrywide at below-market rates, which he never declared in financial disclosures. Sessions as well as names of other legislators who received similar loans were subsequently referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as part of an ethics investigation into improper gifts. Sessions was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform when their investigation revealed Sessions did not receive any preferential treatment or a below market interest rate on his mortgage from Countrywide. 
- Townley, Alvin (2007) [2006-12-26]. Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 241–252. ISBN 0-312-36653-1. Retrieved 2006-12-29.
- "Distinguished Eagle Scouts". Scouting.org. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- "Prominent Pikes". Pikes.org. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "H.r. 5872". LOC. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- "Boy Scouts of America’s Centennial Commemorative Coin Receives Presidential Approval". Boy Scouts of America. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "Boy Scouts of America Silver Dollar Centennial Commemorative Coin". Coin News. 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Lovley, Erika (2008-09-17). "Pols discuss raising special-needs kids". Politico. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Blake, Aaron (2009-07-06). "Dark horse races to watch in 2010". TheHill.com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Gillman, Todd J. (2006-01-06). "Sessions, others in casino crusade got tribal cash". The Dallas Morning News
- Isensee, Laura. (2009-02-06). "Sessions' call for GOP 'insurgency' draws fire". Dallas Morning News.
- "Pete Sessions's blimp flies into storm - John Bresnahan". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Kuffner, Charles (2006-04-19). "CREW goes after Sessions – Off the Kuff". Offthekuff.com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Lobbyist sues in wake of blimp pork - John Bresnahan". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Sallah, Michael. "Feds probe banker Allen Stanford's ties to Congress - Business". MiamiHerald.com. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "NRCC chief jokes about 'white guys'". POLITICO. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
- "NRCC Chair Makes Racially Insensitive Remarks". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
- "Democrats & African-Americans". Roll Callo. Retrieved October 7, 2010.[dead link]
- Bresnahan, John (2012-01-17). "Sessions got Countrywide VIP loan". Politico. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
- Emshwiller, John (2012-01-18). "Mozilo Tied to Loan to Top Lawmaker". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-01-19.
- Pelham, Victoria (2012-07-05). "http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20120705-pete-sessions-cleared-of-wrongdoing-in-countrywide-loan-scandal.ece". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
- Official Campaign Website
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 5th congressional district
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 32nd congressional district
|Chairman of House Rules Committee
|Party political offices|
|Chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Representatives by seniority