Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – The Senate today blocked Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for three months.
“Five million Americans and half-a-million Louisianians rely on the National Flood Insurance Program to protect their homes and businesses. It’s regrettable and dangerous that the path to extending this crucial coverage was blocked today,” said Kennedy.
The extension would have ensured the NFIP continues to protect existing and new policy holders until December 31, 2023.
- On Sept. 13, 2023 the Senate blocked Kennedy’s NFIP Extension Act of 2023 from passing on the Senate floor. The bill would have extended the NFIP through Sept., 30, 2024.
- In July 2023, Kennedy first introduced the NFIP Extension Act of 2023 to ensure that the program would not lapse on its expiration date.
- In June 2023, Kennedy helped introduce the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act to reauthorize the NFIP for five years and cap annual policy premium hikes.
- In 2019, Kennedy’s National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019 became law.
- In 2018, Kennedy’s first National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act became law.
- In addition, Kennedy has helped ensure that multiple continuing resolutions to fund the federal government have included an extension of the NFIP.
Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) today welcomed the appointment of a Lead Inspector General (IG) to provide focused oversight of America’s aid to Ukraine. Kennedy and Sinema led the effort in Congress to install a Special IG in Ukraine who could provide comprehensive oversight to ensure America’s friends in Ukraine use taxpayer-funded aid efficiently and effectively in their fight against Russia’s illegal invasion
“America’s aid to Ukraine isn’t charity; it’s an important investment in our national security. I’m pleased that the Department of Defense has listened to our proposal and selected a Lead Inspector General to ensure that every dollar the American taxpayers sent to Ukraine is used to deter Russia’s aggression,” said Kennedy.
“As America stands with Ukraine and ensures it has the tools and resources necessary to defend itself against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war, we’re glad the Administration listened to our calls and appointed a Lead Inspector General to provide critical oversight of our aid,” said Sinema.
The Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General announced on Saturday that Robert Storch would be the Lead IG overseeing aid to Ukraine. The United States has provided at least $113 billion in aid to Ukraine since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion began in February 2022.
Kennedy and Sinema have consistently advocated for the installation of a dedicated IG to track American aid to Ukraine, including:
- Introducing the Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act, a bill that would have provided $20 million to the Department of Defense to install a Special IG for Ukraine, in February 2023.
- Leading a letter in June 2023 asking the Special IG for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko, to provide insight on the importance of having dedicated oversight in Ukraine.
- Publishing this op-ed in USA Today in June 2023 calling on Congress to work together to install a dedicated IG to provide comprehensive oversight on our aid to Ukraine.
- Sponsoring an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in July 2023 based on the Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act to select a Lead IG to provide full-time oversight of aid in Ukraine.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the AGOA Extension Act of 2023, a bill that would extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) through September 2045. The AGOA has been key in helping the United States work with sub-Saharan Africa to facilitate trade, reduce poverty, promote democracy and counter China’s growing influence in the region.
“The African Growth and Opportunity Act has been the cornerstone of economic ties between the United States and Africa. Over the next two decades, the AGOA will play a pivotal role in helping Americans deter China’s growing influence throughout the region. This extension would allow the United States to keep working closely with African nations to grow our economies, reduce poverty and ensure that American values prevail in the region,” said Kennedy.
Congress first enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2000. The program encourages African countries to adopt market-based economies, support democracy and protect due process and the rule of law.
In turn, AGOA-eligible nations receive duty-free access to thousands of products in the U.S. market. Today, 36 countries are eligible for AGOA benefits. The AGOA has also supported nearly 120,000 jobs in the United States.
The AGOA Extension Act of 2023 will extend the program for 20 years to 2045. Congress last extended the AGOA in 2015 by 10 years, authorizing the program through 2025.
Full text of the AGOA Extension Act of 2023 is available here.
Sep 27 2023
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today called on his colleagues in Congress to address high inflation, as it remains a serious problem for Louisiana families. During a speech on the Senate floor, Kennedy noted that Louisianians are paying an average of $798 more every month because of the inflation that has occurred under President Joe Biden’s watch.
Key comments from Kennedy’s remarks include:
“My purpose in rising today, Mr. President, is to suggest that we should keep our eye on the ball. We are faced with many difficult issues in the Senate today. We always are. But I think that's especially true today. . . But I don't want my colleagues to forget about one of the most important issues of all facing the American people today, and that is the cost of living in our extraordinary country.”
. . .
“I say this with no joy whatsoever: Inflation in America today is man-made, and that man's name is President Joe Biden. In my state, where the mean household income is $55,000, the average [Louisiana] family is paying $800 a month more—a month, not a year, a month—more to live in this wonderful country as a result of Bidenomics. That's $9,600 a year that a family of four making $55,000 a year has to find.”
. . .
“Falling inflation just means prices are still going up every month, every day, but they're not going up as fast as they were. We call that disinflation.
“Falling inflation also means that prices overall are not going down. (That's deflation.) My point is, even though inflation is falling—and I am so glad it is—all that means is that prices are not going up as fast as they were and we're going to be stuck with these high prices. They're going to be permanent even if inflation goes to zero.”
. . .
“We have a lot of the issues that we're struggling with right now, but among the five things that moms and dads in America worry about when they lie down to sleep at night and can’t is the cost of living in our wonderful country. . . President Biden's inflation is strangling a free people. The American people deserve better, and I don't want us to lose sight of that fact as we grapple with other issues.”
Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.
Sep 26 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in introducing the CFPB Pay Fairness Act of 2023, which would increase accountability at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by requiring the agency to pay its employees according to the same standards that apply to other federal employees.
“The CFPB’s funding scheme reveals much about what’s wrong with big government. Our bill would do away with the CFPB’s unfair pay advantage and begin to put the agency’s staff on equal footing with other hardworking federal employees,” said Kennedy.
“Those who created the CFPB continually sought to remove the agency from meaningful oversight and provide it with preferential treatment, all the way down to ignoring the widely-used federal government GS pay scale for CFPB employees. This legislation is a common-sense step to reigning in exorbitant pay at the CFPB and restoring parity among federal agencies,” said Tillis.
The CFPB’s funding mechanism operates outside the regular congressional oversight process. As a result, many CFPB employees receive salaries comparable with those of members of Congress and cabinet secretaries. The CFPB Pay Fairness Act of 2023 would give the CFPB 90 days to bring its employee salaries in line with the General Schedule (GS) pay scale for federal employees.
Full text of the CFPB Pay Fairness Act of 2023 is available here.
Senate unanimously passes Kennedy bill to require FCC to expand 5G access to rural Americans by releasing previously auctioned spectrum
Sep 22 2023
WASHINGTON – The Senate today unanimously passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) 5G Spectrum Authority Licensing Enforcement (SALE) Act. The legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to release previously auctioned spectrum in order to expand 5G broadband access to rural communities.
“My 5G SALE Act provides Americans with access to broadband by giving the FCC the authority to finish transferring previously auctioned spectrum to companies that offer 5G coverage. The House should move quickly to send this bill to the president’s desk so that the job providers who depend on wireless communications in Louisiana and across America can continue to support rural economies,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy questioned FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing about the commission’s lapsed authority to transfer spectrum licenses already sold at auction. The 5G SALE Act would temporarily grant the FCC auction authority it needs to complete spectrum transfers, which would allow broadband services to provide greater 5G network coverage to Americans in rural areas.
In 2022, the FCC auctioned off roughly 8,000 licenses to grant companies access to America’s broadband spectrum. These licenses are the only way companies can legally use the radio waves that deliver 5G to customers. These wavelengths are therefore highly valuable.
During the period between when companies paid for their licenses and when the FCC should have parceled the licenses out, Congress failed to reauthorize the FCC’s ability to auction off licenses altogether. Now, each company that bought spectrum in that auction is waiting to receive its transfer. Despite payments being complete, the FCC says it no longer has the authority to grant those licenses.
Kennedy’s legislation would grant the FCC a one-time, temporary authority to issue licenses purchased in auctions that were held before March 9, 2023 (when the FCC’s Congressional authorization ended).
Full text of the 5G SALE Act is available here.
Sep 22 2023
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced more than $24.4 million in grants for Louisiana from the Department of Defense’s Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program.
“Investing in Louisiana communities is good for Louisianians and our national security, and I’m happy to see that Plaquemines Parish and the City of Leesville will be able to put this $24.4 million to use to make our state a safer place,” said Kennedy.
The Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program will fund the following:
- $13,725,400 to Plaquemines Parish to construct a multi-use emergency command center for staging and distributing supplies during emergencies.
- $5,793,200 to Plaquemines Parish to improve stormwater management infrastructure and rehabilitate a flood control basin to better protect airfields during severe weather events.
- $4,930,000 to the City of Leesville to extend a runway at the Leesville Airport to support the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Johnson.
Senate passes Kennedy, Cassidy resolution recognizing LSU baseball College World Series Championship
Sep 21 2023
WASHINGTON – The Senate passed Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy’s (R-La.) resolution to recognize the Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Fighting Tigers baseball team for winning the 2023 College World Series National Championship. The hard-fought series against the Florida Gators resulted in LSU’s seventh national championship title.
“Louisianians are proud of the LSU Tigers and Coach Jay Johnson for the team’s historic season. Each of the players worked hard to deliver an incredible championship win, inspiring us all. Geaux Tigers!” said Kennedy.
“The 2023 LSU Baseball team will go down in history as one of the best ever college baseball teams. Congratulations to the players, Coach Johnson, and the coaching staff. Geaux Tigers!” said Cassidy.
The resolution congratulates Head Coach Jay Johnson on becoming the first coach to win an NCAA Division I baseball title before his third year and highlights the many achievements by players on the field. The resolution also thanks LSU fans for their dedication and support.
Read the full resolution here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and 44 other Republican senators in demanding that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) restore the traditional, business dress code for senators on the Senate floor.
“For more than 230 years, the United States Senate has served the American people with honor and dignity. As members of this esteemed body, we understand the seriousness our positions require,” the senators wrote.
“The Senate is a place of honor and tradition, and the Senate floor is where we conduct the business of the American people. It is where we debate the policies which impact every American family and, when necessary, it is where we must make the gravest decision imaginable—whether to send our fellow Americans into battle to defend the freedoms we all hold dear. The world watches us on that floor and we must protect the sanctity of that place at all costs,” they continued.
“Allowing casual clothing on the Senate floor disrespects the institution we serve and the American families we represent. We the undersigned members of the United States Senate write to express our supreme disappointment and resolute disapproval of your recent decision to abandon the Senate’s longstanding dress code for members, and urge you to immediately reverse this misguided action,” the senators concluded.
The letter is available here.
Kennedy, Banking Republicans call out Federal Housing Finance Agency for discriminatory race-based plans
Sep 19 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today joined Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and other Banking Committee Republicans in sending a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra Thompson about the agency’s racial equity housing plans, which encourage discrimination on the basis of race.
These plans pursue a discriminatory agenda rather than focusing on increasing the safety and soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Though the senators previously asked the FHFA to refocus efforts on these priorities, FHFA ignored their request and instead published a proposed rule on April 26, 2023 that codifies a requirement to develop and measure implementation of the discriminatory plans.
“As we made you aware, the Plans are inherently problematic. They are manifestly unfair and encourage discrimination on the basis of race. The Plans may very well be unconstitutional and violate the Equal Protection Clause as they express a clear, discriminatory intent,” wrote the senators.
“While perhaps well-intentioned, we have seen the consequences of relaxing underwriting criteria and lowering down payment requirements after years of record home price appreciation; many minority families lost significant, generational wealth when they were pushed into highly-leveraged home purchases shortly before the last housing crisis,” the law makers continued.
Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) also signed the letter.
The full letter is available here.