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MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $14,089,774 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid and protective measures.

“Louisianians are working hard to recover from hurricane damage and protect their infrastructure from future storms. I’m grateful to see this $14.1 million help the people of Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes with their recovery from Hurricane Ida and help Cameron Parish prepare for future disasters,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $8,512,546 to Terrebonne Parish to restore Buquet Bridge due to damages caused by Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,316,566 to the Greater Lafourche Port Commission to repair damages to the Wilbert Collins Sr. Fourchon Operations Center, the Johnny Melacon Jr. Fourchon Emergency Operations Center and the Fourchon Operations Warehouse caused by Hurricane Ida.
  • $4,037,364 to Cameron Parish to fund the first phase of the construction of an electric substation and transmission line.
  • $223,298 to Cameron Parish for management costs associated with the first phase of electric substation and transmission line construction.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the bipartisan Helping Eliminate Limitations for Prompt (HELP) Response and Recovery Act to enable the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to respond to disasters and other emergencies more efficiently and promptly.

The HELP Response and Recovery Act would repeal Section 695 of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, which restricts the length of non-competitive DHS contracts for urgent and compelling requirements to 150 days.  The repeal of this obsolete regulation ensures that DHS deadlines for emergency contracts follow current government-wide rules that allow contracts of up to one year.

“Louisiana is no stranger to natural disasters, and Louisianians depend on the local, state and federal government for help when the unthinkable happens. Private businesses also work hand-in-hand with government partners to help Louisiana communities recover from natural disasters. Repealing an outdated portion of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act that unnecessarily limits recovery efforts will allow the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency to help our people more effectively for the long haul,” said Kennedy.

“When emergencies and disasters strike, the federal government should have all the tools at its disposal to help Americans in need. This bipartisan bill will ensure DHS is efficiently and effectively responding to emergencies,” said Peters.

“The National Emergency Management Association applauds the leadership of Senators Peters and Kennedy in simplifying DHS contracting requirements through S. 3468, the Helping Eliminate Limitations for Prompt Response and Recovery Act. This bill will modernize contracting requirements for DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and align them with the less restrictive requirements applied to all other government agencies. Especially when responding to disasters, speed is of the essence, so it is imperative to give FEMA the tools necessary to be efficient and responsive when needed most,” said Russ Strickland, NEMA President and Secretary of Maryland Department of Emergency Management.

Text of the HELP Response and Recovery Act is available here.

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke in the Senate Banking Committee about the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Risk Rating 2.0 program, which has dramatically raised flood insurance premiums for Louisianians.

Of the 5 million Americans who rely on the NFIP to protect their businesses and homes, roughly 500,000 are Louisianians.

Key excerpts from the senator’s remarks are below.

[FEMA] lied. They said a million people of the 5 million people will see their rates go down. I haven't talked to a single person who's seen their rates go down. This is just an excuse to raise premiums, and they don't care. The whole purpose of the National Flood Insurance Program is to provide a product that people can afford.”

In my state, here's what the premiums have done: They said, ‘A lot of [your] people, Kennedy, they'll see it decreases.’ Terrebonne County—we call our counties ‘parishes’—305% increase. Another parish: 321%. Plaquemines Parish: 540%. FEMA lied, and they're not going to do any better.”

Right now, FEMA can raise the premiums 18% every single year, and they’re going to keep doing it because they don't care. They lied to the American people and my people, and they ought to hide their heads in a bag.”

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 at 9%.

Background:

  • On Sept. 28, 2023 the Senate blocked Kennedy’s second attempt at passing his NFIP Extension Act of 2023 on the Senate floor. 
  • On Sept. 13, 2023 the Senate blocked Kennedy’s NFIP Extension Act of 2023 from passing on the Senate floor. 
  • 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 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.

View Kennedy’s full remarks here

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,512,068 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida created a massive strain on Louisiana’s health services. I’m thankful that this $4.5 million will help cover the expenses the storm caused,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $4,512,068 to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for emergency protective measures taken during Hurricane Ida, including additional support to 911 operations, medical evacuations and other public health measures.

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today raised concerns regarding the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans’ inefficiency and failure to protect Louisianians’ homes and businesses from flood damage.

Key excerpts from the senator’s remarks are below.

“When New Orleans gets two inches of rain in a short period of time, it floods. Why? Because New Orleans is below sea level, and it’s in a bowl.”

. . .

“That’s why our founders in the city built first in the French Quarter—because it’s the highest area. We have what’s called the Sewerage and Water Board, which has pumps, when it rains a lot, to pump the water out. We’ve had that for years and years and years and years. The taxpayers pay for it. 

“And for years and years and years and years, it has been a model of inefficiency. In fact, it has been a cesspool of political patronage and corruption.” 

. . .

“Look at the headlines from our TV stations: ‘Payroll fraud in a secret sex room: troubling allegations at New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board,’ ‘Former New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board Employee Sentenced for Theft Scheme,’ ‘New Orleans Sewerage Water Department Raided by FBI,’ ‘Ex-Sewerage and Water Board Official Has to Pay Back $100,000 He Stole,’ . . . ‘We knew the Sewerage and Water Board was dysfunctional—Now We Know It's Corrupt.’” 

“The people of New Orleans deserve better, and what we need to do is one of two things. The politicians have had their shot: They missed. We need to either turn the Sewerage and Water Board over to the state of Louisiana and let some somebody else run it, or we need to privatize it because the Sewerage and Water Board’s plan right now—when it floods, when half of the pumps are broken—you know what their plan is? I kid you not: ‘Move to higher ground.’ Where?”

View Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and a bicameral group of 113 other lawmakers in urging the Biden administration’s U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to withdraw its proposed rule regarding Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks. 

Under the Biden administration’s proposed rule, automakers would be required to more than double their average fleet-wide fuel economy in fewer than 10 years. This requirement would force American car manufacturers to produce electric vehicles to meet the new CAFE standards.

We write to express our deep concern with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for passenger cars and light trucks, which represent yet another attempt by this Administration to use the rulemaking process to impose its climate agenda on American families,” the lawmakers explained.  

“NHTSA’s proposed standards, when coupled with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) distinct, extreme tailpipe emissions proposal, amount to a de facto mandate for electric vehicles (EVs) that threatens to raise costs and restrict consumer choice, harm U.S. businesses, degrade our energy and national security and hand the keys of our automotive industry over to our adversaries, especially China,” they continued.

“The proposal issued in July is mere virtue signaling for this Administration’s extreme climate agenda, but it would actually have only limited impact on emissions while strengthening foreign adversaries and harming American workers and consumers,” concluded the lawmakers.

Kennedy also urged leaders to prevent the Biden administration’s EPA from implementing its rule to require more than two-thirds of all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be fully electric in fewer than nine years.

The full letter is available here.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor, warning the Biden administration that terrorists, cartel members and sex offenders are exploiting the chaos at the border to enter our country illegally.

Kennedy urged President Biden to work with conservatives to secure the border and address this ongoing national security threat.  

Key comments from Kennedy include:

“You can cut the irony with a knife. After years of presenting themselves as ‘sanctuary cities,’ officials—many of them well intentioned—throughout the country learned in 2023 that the crisis at our border is not just a problem for southern states like Texas, Arizona and even my state. It’s an American crisis. Today, President Joe Biden’s failed border policies have wreaked havoc in every single corner of the United States, including Louisiana.

“According to one estimate, and it’s not the only estimate, but I think this is a very telling estimate—Louisianians pay an additional $4,613 an illegal migrant—that’s about $604 million per year—in state taxes because of illegal immigration. . . . That’s happening at a time when Louisiana families are also having to come out of pocket with an extra $800 per month to deal with inflation.”

. . .

“President Biden’s border policies are not just a human rights disaster, though they certainly are. But his policies have also provided the perfect cover for terrorist sympathizers, child sex offenders, for cartel associates to enter the United States illegally. All you have to do is mix in because nobody is checking anybody.

“The numbers that I’m about to give you will make you throw up. Border Patrol apprehended 169 members of the FBI’s terrorist watchlist attempting to cross the southern border illegally in 2023 alone. . . . That’s more than 10 times the number of potential terrorists that Border Patrol detained in the four years before President Biden took office.”

. . .

“We know what Mexico’s cartels have done. They have been exploiting our open border to terrorize Americans for years. Their weapon of choice is fentanyl. The cartels kill tens of thousands of U.S. citizens per year by working with China to flood our communities with fentanyl. That fentanyl comes from China, and it comes from Mexico. Louisiana lost more than 1,300 people—1,300 loved ones—to fentanyl poisoning in 2022 alone. The narco-terrorists flood our communities with poison and fill their coffers with as much as $1 billion per year.”

. . .

“These cartels, the members, they put migrants through hell as they march them across our southern border. Predators sexually assault an estimated four out of every five women. It’s unsurprising, then, many of the male migrants the cartels usher to the border are also known sex offenders. In just two months, Mr. President, Border Patrol agents in Texas caught 21 known child predators . . . attempting to enter the country illegally. Imagine how many we don’t know about. Border Patrol apprehended 284 sex offenders in fiscal year 2023 alone.” 

. . .

“The American people see the southern border like they see the front door of their home. Most Americans lock their front door at night. They don't do that because they hate everybody on the outside. Most Americans lock their front door at night because they love the people on the inside, and they just want to know who's coming in and out of their home—and that's all the American people want in terms of immigration.”

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined the Major Richard Star Act, which Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced. The bill would allow combat-injured veterans with fewer than 20 years of military service to receive full retirement benefits—without reduction—concurrent with their disability compensation.

“Louisiana and America’s brave veterans are underserved because they’re not able to receive both retirement and disability compensation. It is only right that our combat veterans are able to retire peacefully with full benefits for their sacrifices,” said Kennedy.

Currently, only veterans with over 20 years of military service and a 50% or more disabled rating can qualify to receive Department of Defense retirement and Department of Veterans Affairs disability payments concurrently.

“I will always demand our nation’s veterans receive the full benefits they’ve earned, especially those who were forced to retire from military service as a result of their injuries. Prior to his passing, I was proud to work with Major Richard Star to address an injustice that prevents thousands of veterans living with the wounds of war from accessing what they’ve earned. The Major Richard Star Act is a top priority for me, and I’ll continue to take on anyone in Washington to get it passed and provide veterans the benefits and dignity they deserve,” said Tester.

Major Richard Star was a decorated war veteran after whom this legislation is named. Major Star retired due to combat related injuries and passed away from cancer in 2021. 

“More than 50,000 veterans, including hundreds in Idaho, could benefit from the Major Richard Star Act. To honor the service of all veterans and Major Star’s enduring legacy, we must meet the responsibility of ensuring these combat-injured veterans receive the full benefits they have earned. Reducing retirement pay because of a combat disability is an injustice that must be corrected,” said Crapo. 

The full bill text is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $14,006,597 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricanes Ida and Laura and severe storms ripped through Louisiana, and many communities are still rebuilding. I’m grateful to see that this $14 million will help Louisianians’ recovery efforts throughout our state,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following: 

  • $4,237,757 to the Beauregard Electrical Cooperative for permanent work repairs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $4,173,482 to the Natchitoches Parish Port Commission for dock repairs as a result of severe storms and flooding.
  • $3,310,409 to Lafourche Parish for permanent repairs to the Larose Park as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $2,284,949 to Ascension Parish for waterway debris removal operations required as a result of Hurricane Ida.

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in introducing the Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act.

The bill would codify the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy (formerly the Mexico City Policy), which prohibits the funding of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortions. The Mexico City Policy was first instituted by Pres. Ronald Reagan and has since been rescinded and reinstated by various presidential administrations.

“This will sound like common sense to most fair-minded people, but the Biden administration should not ship Americans’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars overseas to fund abortions. No matter who occupies the White House, America should support life at home and abroad,” said Kennedy.

“Each human life, born and unborn, has immeasurable dignity and worth. The lives of both an unborn baby and her mother matter; and healthcare should heal, protect, and preserve both their lives. Our laws and use of taxpayer money should reflect that truth, which is why I have introduced these bills,” said Lee. 

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Text of the Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act is available here.