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MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $8,040,658 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida left behind heavy damage and devastation when they hit Louisiana. This $8 million will help our state with important recovery efforts,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,995,147 to Terrebonne Parish for the restoration of the North Wastewater Treatment Plant due to Hurricane Ida damage.
  • $1,714,213 to the Office of Risk Management for repairs to numerous Department of Wildlife and Fisheries facilities that Hurricane Laura damaged. 
  • $1,282,518 to Lafourche Parish for management costs resulting from Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,048,780 to Louisiana Children’s Hospital for emergency protective measures taken during Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and colleagues in demanding that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas brief senators on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) arrest of eight illegal aliens from Tajikistan who have suspected ties to ISIS. 

Reports indicate that these suspects entered the U.S. through the southern border under the Biden administration. At least one suspect used the administration’s CBP One application to enter the country.

“We write to express our grave concerns regarding reports of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests of eight individuals from Tajikistan suspected to have terror ties to ISIS who crossed the southern border to enter the U.S. last year and this year,” the senators wrote. 

“We are deeply concerned by reports that a wiretap shows that one of the now-arrested individuals was talking about bombs and that the target of the wiretap was previously released by federal authorities at the southern border with a court date of next year,” they continued.

“We are further concerned by reports that federal authorities vetting these individuals upon entry into the U.S. did not detect any ties to ISIS at the time and only discovered these ties ‘[l]ater and in recent weeks,’” the senators added. 

The senators requested that the DHS inform senators about the nature of the suspects’ border crossings, the individuals’ connections to terrorist organizations and the Department of Justice’s knowledge of threats they posed.

Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Thune (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) also signed the letter.

Background

  • In May 2024, Kennedy joined Budd and other colleagues in demanding answers on two illegal aliens’ attempt to break into Marine Corps Base Quantico.
  • In Jan. 2024, Kennedy authored an op-ed in the New York Post that called attention to terrorists who are taking advantage of Biden’s open border policies.
  • In Oct. 2023, Kennedy joined Marshall in introducing the Where Are The Terrorists Now Act, which would require the DHS to provide monthly updates on encounters of individuals on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist at the southern border.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule that restricts the production of chemicals that are essential to America’s economy and national security. 

“The EPA’s burdensome regulation of American chemical producers is just the latest example of the Biden administration’s determination to kill American jobs and manufacturing. Congress cannot allow unelected bureaucrats at the EPA to use flawed data to hamstring Louisiana’s chemical industry and hinder American manufacturers’ ability to access the chemicals they need to keep our economy humming,” said Kennedy.

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) cosponsored the resolution.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) has introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives. 

“The Biden administration continues to put America last through their Green New Deal, job-killing energy policies. The implications of this rule undermine American jobs and domestic manufacturing. While it is important that we take a balanced approach when considering the environmental impacts of our energy resources, we cannot forcibly shut down companies that do not align with agenda-driven leftist policies. We must prioritize America first,” said Higgins.

“ACC and our members appreciate Senator Kennedy for his leadership to advance science-based rulemaking and to protect American innovation. While we appreciate some of the changes EPA made to the final rule, the Agency still relies on severely flawed science and outdated facility emissions data. This jeopardizes access to critical chemistries needed for our national priorities, including healthcare access, electric vehicles, and semiconductors. We urge Congress to pass this bicameral resolution and look forward to continuing to engage with EPA to develop science-based regulations that support American competitiveness,” said Chris Jahn, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council.

Background: 

  • The EPA recently released the final rule on “New Source Performance Standards for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturing Industry and Group I & II Polymers and Resins Industry.”
  • The new rule will subject producers of ethylene oxide, neoprene and other important manufacturing materials to strict emissions limits that make it harder for manufacturers to produce affordable chemicals in the U.S. The new rule targets more than 200 American chemical plants, including several in Louisiana. 
  • The Biden administration based the new emissions thresholds on information from the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Congress never authorized IRIS or gave the EPA authority to use its assessments in regulations.
  • The EPA designed IRIS to compile peer-reviewed data about the chemicals’ potential health hazards that reflected a consensus among scientists. In recent years, however, IRIS has departed from this standard and prioritized widely criticized studies in order to allow the EPA to attack chemicals it dislikes.
  • Producers use ethylene oxide, for example, to sterilize surgical equipment. In a recent assessment, IRIS set an acceptable limit of ethylene oxide at a level that is 19,000 times lower than what the human body produces naturally.  
  • Beyond setting impossibly low emissions levels, the EPA has also given American businesses just 90 days to comply with the new thresholds. One Louisiana neoprene producer said the tight EPA deadline will cause “irreparable harm” to the industry and force the facility to close. 

Text of the resolution is here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today introduced the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Discrimination Relief Act of 2024 to empower current and former FDIC employees who experienced discrimination or sexual harassment to have their day in court.

This bill empowers current and former FDIC employees to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or a U.S. District Court of appropriate jurisdiction (as some alleged misconduct took place at FDIC field offices). It allows individuals—but does not require them—to pursue administrative remedies before bringing a civil action. 

“Not only did FDIC officials harass other employees, but victims lived in fear of retribution if they reported abuse. It’s time to protect faithful employees and finally bring accountability to the FDIC by giving victims the ability to sue the agency for the abuse they endured under bad leadership,” said Kennedy.

Public reporting from the FDIC says that the agency received 92 official harassment complaints between 2015 and 2023, but not one offender was removed, demoted or received any disciplinary action more serious than a suspension. Only two cases of those 92 resulted in suspensions.

A review of the FDIC established a hotline to report misconduct within the agency. That hotline received 541 additional reports of misconduct, likely because employees feared retaliation if they reported harassment to the agency itself.

The FDIC Discrimination Relief Act would allow individuals employed by the FDIC between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2023 to sue the FDIC. This would allow victims to seek appropriate relief for harm resulting from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or denial of a reasonable accommodation to known limitations connected to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) cosponsored the legislation.

Text of the FDIC Discrimination Relief Act is here

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has announced $2,447,371 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida battered our state, and many Louisianians are working hard to rebuild from massive flood damage. This $2.4 million will help the Society of St. Vincent De Paul Archdiocesan Council and Xavier University continue serving their communities,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,400,099 to Xavier University of Louisiana to repair damage that Hurricane Ida caused to five buildings.
  • $1,047,272 to the Society of St. Vincent De Paul Archdiocesan Council to replace its clothing distribution center and food and furniture distribution center due to Hurricane Ida damage.

Watch Kennedy’s speech here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the Senate floor about how informed Louisianians are and how they get their news.

Key remarks from Kennedy include:

“Every time I leave Washington, D.C., and go back home to America, I am reminded of how parochial Washington, D.C., can be—how removed it can be, how unaware it can be.

“We often hear people in this city, where our Capitol sits, say, ‘Well . . . the American people just don’t understand.’ ‘The American people’—you often hear—‘just don't know what they’re talking about. They don't know what we know. They don’t read the news. They don't keep up like we do.’” 

. . .

“So, recently, Mr. President, I conducted a poll [to] test that point of view. . . . About 70% of my people in Louisiana, Mr. President, follow the news every single day.”

. . .

“Thirty-nine percent of the people in Louisiana—70% of whom follow the news every single day—get their news from cable TV. 

“Another 21.1% get their news from morning and evening broadcast television—not cable—local television news and national television news.” 

. . . 

“Twenty-seven percent of my people get their news primarily from the internet.”

. . .

“Radio news is also important in my state. Seven percent of my people . . . listen to radio news as their primary source of news.”

. . . 

“Only 4% of my people receive their news today from newspapers.”

. . .

“Sometimes we get it wrong in Washington, Mr. President, in terms of our perceptions of what's going on in real America.” 

Watch Kennedy’s full speech here.

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking and Appropriation Committees, joined Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) in introducing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Accountability Act to bring fiscal accountability to the CFPB.

Currently, the Federal Reserve is responsible for funding the CFPB. This unusual arrangement allows the CFPB to avoid fiscal accountability to the American people through their elected officials in Congress.

“The bureaucratic state is always trying to grab more power and minimize its accountability. CFPB bureaucrats don’t rely on Congress for funding—which means the bureau isn’t accountable to American taxpayers in key ways. That needs to change,” said Kennedy.

The senator also questioned CFPB Director Rohit Chopra during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the CFPB’s funding structure in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America. In that case, the Supreme Court held that CFBP’s funding scheme, which allows it to draw from the Federal Reserve’s combined earnings, satisfies the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause.

“Now, for the longest time, the Federal Reserve was earning money, but that stopped in what, September of 2022? Now, they are losing money. They don't have any earnings. . . . And the Supreme Court based its decision on saying that this funding scheme is constitutional under the Appropriations Clause by saying that these earnings would go to the general fund from the Federal Reserve, so getting them directly from the general fund is no big deal. How are you entitled to any money right now? The Federal Reserve doesn't have any earnings,” Kennedy asked.

“Well, we’ve heard of this theory. I think it’s one of the latest,” said Chopra.

“It’s not a theory. It’s a congressional statute,” said Kennedy. 

The CFPB Accountability Act would ensure that the CFPB is accountable to taxpayers by requiring Congress, not the Federal Reserve, to fund the Bureau’s budget through the appropriations process. 

“The CFPB must be required to go through the regular congressional appropriations process to ensure public accountability. As a lifelong businessman, protecting consumers in the financial marketplace is important, but handing vast government regulatory power to an agency that is not accountable to the American people’s elected representatives is unacceptable. Americans deserve to have far greater input in this agency,” said Hagerty.

Sens. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Kennedy’s full exchange with Chopra is here.

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the Senate floor to explain how persistent inflation has depleted personal savings accounts and driven many Louisianians into credit card debt. Kennedy noted that inflation has cost the average Louisiana family $22,166 since President Biden took office.

Key comments from Kennedy’s remarks include:

“I realize there is a yawning disconnect between what President Biden says and what my people in Louisiana are experiencing. There is. President Biden says that the economy is just fine. He says the economy is just wonderful. And I’ll tell you what my people say. My people say, ‘With respect, Mr. President, you need to put down the bong because, in our state, we are paying more to live worse. And we're not going to be able to retire because of you, Mr. President, until four years after we’re dead.’” 

. . .

“Our median household income is about $58,000. That's mom and dad both working. Two children. $58,000. It's about $4,800 a month. President Biden's inflation is costing my people an extra $900 a month. That's not a year. $900 a month. $11,000 a year. My average family's making, once again, $58,000 a year. They've got to find, all of a sudden, an extra $11,000 a year. Since President Biden has been president, his inflation has cost the average family in Louisiana an extra $22,000.”

. . .

“The prices of consumer goods and in my state, on average, are up 20% since President Biden took office. Some are up a lot more, some are up a little less, but the average is 20%. 

“Credit card debt is up 46%. The average credit card balance in Louisiana is now $5,800. When you're making $58,000 a year for a family of four, $5,800 is a lot. Delinquent credit card debt is up 11%, the highest in 12 years. We have had a record number of people who have had to take early withdrawals from their retirement accounts.”

. . .

“The average electricity bill in Louisiana is up 28% since President Biden took office. Gasoline in Louisiana: up 53%. Eggs: 69%. Bread: 28%. Coffee: 28%. Rice: 29%. Flour: 30%. Milk: 15%. Ice cream: 22%. Chicken per pound: 27%. If you're a mom and dad, and you’re both working, and you have maybe two car notes—certainly one car note—and a mortgage and two children, how can you afford this? You can’t!”

. . .

“It hurts, and it hurts deeply. President Biden’s inflation in my state is a cancer on the American dream. And it didn't have to be this way. We tried to tell him. We tried to tell him. Not only we—when I say many of my Republican colleagues—many of my Democratic friends did as well. Jason Furman, Economic Advisor to President Obama, I remember clearly, Dr. Furman—now at Harvard—said, ‘With all due respect, Mr. President, you spend this kind of money, you’re going to have inflation.’ And we did. And the worst part of this is that President Biden has no plan to get it down. None.”

Watch Kennedy’s full speech here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) helped block the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act of 2023, a Democrat bill that would erode the Supreme Court’s independence, threaten the constitutionally mandated balance of powers and surrender the power of the judicial branch to bureaucrats. 

Kennedy’s remarks are below:

“I do not believe most of my colleagues think this bill is about ethics. This bill is about abortion. In June of 2022, the United States Supreme Court decided the Dobbs case. It returned the issue of abortion to the American people through their states. 

“While the Supreme Court was deliberating that case, my colleague and my friend, Senator Schumer went over to the Supreme Court, and, on the steps of the Supreme Court building—I was there; I remember it like it was yesterday—this is what Senator Schumer said, I quote, ‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh’—not ‘Justice Gorsuch,’ not ‘Justice Kavanaugh’—‘I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you,’ Senator Schumer said, ‘if you go forward with these awful decisions,’ close quote.

“What we’re seeing today with this legislation, in my opinion—but most senators agree with me—is part of the promised whirlwind, and I do not believe that we should try to undermine the integrity of the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States because we’re unhappy with one of its opinions.”

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,940,149 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida left behind destruction and debris in south Louisiana. This $5.9 million will help Louisianians clear debris and repair damage to their bridges and schools,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $2,683,859 to St. John the Baptist Parish for debris removal resulting from Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,639,110 to the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association to repair damages to the Combon Bridge’s electrical infrastructure resulting from Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,617,180 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs to the Vincent Settlement School in Sulphur, La. resulting from Hurricane Laura.