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“I introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act to incentivize rebuilding and development projects in southwest and central Louisiana communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act to increase investment in communities hit hard by the category four storm.

“A month after Hurricane Laura struck, Louisianians are already rebuilding their homes and businesses. I introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act to incentivize rebuilding and development projects in southwest and central Louisiana communities,” said Kennedy.

The Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zone Act would incentivize building and development projects in low-income areas impacted by the storm by allowing investors to defer and potentially reduce capital gains taxes on assets sold after Aug. 28, 2020. Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Funds would be the vehicle for investing in eligible low-income areas, which will spur economic development in areas devastated by the hurricane. 

Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts in major disaster areas designated to receive individual assistance as a result of the Hurricane Laura federal disaster declaration. These Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones allow investors to temporarily defer and partially exclude taxes on previously earned capital gains. 

Investors who reinvest those capital gains in Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Funds would not be taxed on those gains until they sell their investments or until the end of 2030. Gains from investments in Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Funds that are held for at least 10 years are excluded from tax.

This legislation also includes a sense of the Congress that capital gains rates should not be changed.

The bill text is available here.

Background:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) authorized Opportunity Zones across the country in 2017, and now the new Hurricane Laura Recovery Opportunity Zones Act will build on that program to provide the same favorable tax treatment for investors interested in helping communities recover from the storm.

On Aug. 28, 2020, President Donald Trump granted a major disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana, triggering the release of federal funds to help people and communities recover from Hurricane Laura, which occurred Aug. 22 to Aug. 27, 2020. 

"While Louisiana’s marshlands provide a habitat to some of America’s most beautiful wildlife, they are also the first line of defense against damaging storms. Nutria have already destroyed thousands of acres of wetland along our coast, putting Louisianians and our ecosystems at greater risk. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bipartisan bill. Now, I hope it quickly becomes law to save communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean from these destructive swamp rats."

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after meeting today with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by President Donald Trump to join the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an impressive, thoughtful jurist with great respect for the Constitution. I’m thankful for the opportunity to speak with Judge Barrett today, and I look forward to hearing from her in the approaching committee hearings.”

“If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a bill to determine whether a pilot program through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is delivering high-quality care to veterans by using wearable fitness monitors and whether the program should be expanded.

“Our veterans deserve incredible care, and I want to make sure they’re getting it. If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans,” said Kennedy.

The VA has operated a pilot program, VETERANS (Veteran Engagement Through Electronic Resources and Notifications Study), that provides Garmin and Apple Watches, FitBits or other wearable technology to veterans who have recently undergone surgery related to atrial fibrillation. The program also includes patients enrolled in weight management, cardiac rehabilitation and other programs. The devices help veterans monitor their heart rates and better track their overall health in coordination with the VA.

Because the program was not established through legislation, there is currently no report requirement related to the pilot program. This bill would require the Secretary of the VA to provide a report by the end of fiscal year 2022 on the pilot program’s findings to determine whether it is effective and whether the program could potentially be implemented through the Medicare system or other health care providers. 

The bill text is available here.

“I’ve worked to ensure the disaster relief fund gets the increase needed to take care of people hurt by storms and people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. Between the $17 billion infusion to the disaster relief fund and a full year’s extension for flood insurance, Louisianians can take heart that the resources they need are there for them.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the Senate passed a funding bill that adds $17 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund and extends the National Flood Insurance Program for a year.

“Louisiana is working hard to rebuild what Hurricane Laura ripped to shreds, and they shouldn’t have to worry about whether the rest of the country is going to show up to help them. I’ve worked to ensure the disaster relief fund gets the increase needed to take care of people hurt by storms and people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. Between the $17 billion infusion to the disaster relief fund and a full year’s extension for flood insurance, Louisianians can take heart that the resources they need are there for them,” said Kennedy.

Earlier this month, Kennedy introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Funding Act to increase FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which funds the agency’s recovery efforts.

“Hurricane Laura devastated communities across Louisiana, and this funding will support critical workforce development programs to bolster local economies in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,162,713 in grant funding from the Department of Labor to support workforce development efforts in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe.

“Hurricane Laura devastated communities across Louisiana, and this funding will support critical workforce development programs to bolster local economies in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include $1,458,203 to McNeese State University, $1,074,510 to the University of Louisiana at Monroe and $630,000 to NextOp, Inc.

 

“The coronavirus pandemic has challenged many of our state’s businesses, leaving too many Louisianians without jobs. This grant will create crucial opportunities for those who lost their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $16,767,303 dislocated worker grant from the Department of Labor to help the Louisiana Workforce Commission respond to workforce-related impacts of the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus pandemic has challenged many of our state’s businesses, leaving too many Louisianians without jobs. This grant will create crucial opportunities for those who lost their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus,” said Kennedy.

These funds may be used to provide employment opportunities and training activities to eligible residents affected by mass layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Louisiana’s health care providers were forced to take drastic measures to care for coronavirus patients, and these FEMA grants will help reimburse health centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for their efforts to control the virus.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $33,415,161 in FEMA grant funding to help health care providers respond to the coronavirus outbreak in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“Louisiana’s health care providers were forced to take drastic measures to care for coronavirus patients, and these FEMA grants will help reimburse health centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for their efforts to control the virus,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $21,293,595 to the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System for staff training, facility disinfection, communications, medical equipment, security, overtime labor and facility expansion.

  • $12,121,566 to the Ochsner Clinic Foundation for medical equipment, supplies and building modifications.

 

“Louisiana is still working to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, and these grants will support key health projects to protect communities across our state.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7,556,433 in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to support health projects in New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport.

“Louisiana is still working to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, and these grants will support key health projects to protect communities across our state,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $3,743,182 to Tulane University to support a coronavirus antibody and immunity network.

  • $2,718,813 to the National Network of Public Health Institutes to improve the strategic capacity of public health systems.

  • $875,438 to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study virus replication.

  • $219,000 to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport to support genetic analysis.