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“Our public transportation system has to adapt to the coronavirus. This funding will help reduce the burden on Louisiana’s public transit providers and support the long-term economic health of Louisiana communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $162.6 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to support Louisiana’s transit industry in response to the coronavirus.

“Our public transportation system has to adapt to the coronavirus. This funding will help reduce the burden on Louisiana’s public transit providers and support the long-term economic health of Louisiana communities,” said Kennedy.

A provision from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires the FTA to allocate funds to operate and maintain Louisiana’s public transportation systems. The funding will cover operating expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020 and will be available to urban, rural and tribal area providers.

“Oil and gas jobs remain a vital part of Louisiana’s economy, and factors outside workers’ control are jeopardizing those jobs. The simplest, smartest lifeline we can extend to the oil producers is pressing pause on the royalties the federal government charges them.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has spoken with Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to request that he temporarily suspend royalty payments from oil and gas producers to the federal government.

“Oil and gas jobs remain a vital part of Louisiana’s economy, and factors outside workers’ control are jeopardizing those jobs. The simplest, smartest lifeline we can extend to the oil producers is pressing pause on the royalties the federal government charges them. Families and independent producers have worked long and hard to support America’s energy independence. They deserve a little flexibility in return,” said Kennedy.

Low barrel prices are putting enormous strain on the state’s oil industry, and Kennedy reached out to the Interior Secretary in an effort to preserve countless Louisiana jobs. Many oil producers operating in the Gulf of Mexico would benefit from a suspension of royalty payments, including small and medium-sized companies.

Kennedy also spoke recently with Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., urging her to end the disagreement with Russia that has helped send oil prices plummeting.

“Louisiana residents have Secretary Perdue and his team to thank for filling up our food banks, especially in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) praised the United States Department of Agriculture and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for cutting through bureaucratic tape in order to make 4 million pounds of food available to food banks in New Orleans.

“Louisiana residents have Secretary Perdue and his team to thank for filling up our food banks, especially in areas hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. As we tackle the economic challenges that come with the coronavirus, we have to work on multiple fronts to make sure Louisiana families have food on their tables. I’m grateful to have Sonny Perdue as an ally in this battle,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy spoke with Perdue by phone on Friday to request the food banks be granted flexibility to deliver food to people whose health or livelihoods have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The food for these programs comes with certain restrictions concerning who is eligible to access it. Perdue granted Kennedy’s request to allow food banks to better meet the local demand, which continues to increase in Louisiana.

“These medical projects will benefit people all over Louisiana. I’m glad to see HHS support critical health services and research for our communities, especially in tough times like our state is facing today.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $8.9 million in funding from the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to maintain health services and support new medical research.

“These medical projects will benefit people all over Louisiana. I’m glad to see HHS support critical health services and research for our communities, especially in tough times like our state is facing today,” said Kennedy.

Projects include:

  • $4 million will help fund Head Start and Early Head Start programs for the Kingsley House in New Orleans.

  • $2.25 million will help fund the graduate medical education payment program at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

  • $1.2 million will help fund the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board’s Head Start program.

  • $631,968 will help fund exploratory research at Tulane University in New Orleans on HIV contributions to heart and lung comorbidities.

  • $516,323 will help fund Tulane University’s look at immunopathogenesis in fungal asthma.

  • $335,191 will help fund the Appletree program at the Louisiana Department of Health, which forms public health responses to hazardous waste sites.

“Louisiana property owners are struggling under the coronavirus pandemic and need relief. This extension will give policyholders more time to renew their flood insurance and allow them to prioritize their families during this difficult time.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today commended FEMA for responding to economic challenges caused by the coronavirus by extending the grace period for flood insurance renewals from 30 to 120 days.

“Louisiana property owners are struggling under the coronavirus pandemic and need relief. This extension will give policyholders more time to renew their flood insurance and allow them to prioritize their families during this difficult time,” said Kennedy.

According to FEMA, policyholders who may be struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic will be given additional time to pay insurance premiums and avoid policy cancellations for nonpayment.

To avoid a lapse in coverage on policies with expiration dates between February 13, 2020 and June 15, 2020, policyholders must pay the appropriate renewal premiums within 120 days of the expiration date. For underpayment notices received between February 13, 2020 and June 15, 2020, policyholders must pay the additional premium amount requested within 120 days of receiving the notice.

FEMA advises policyholders who need to prolong their 120-day extension to contact their insurance agents or insurers for alternative payment options those insurers may offer.

People’s lives and their livelihoods depend on a swift, comprehensive response to this pandemic. . . . The CARES Act is the best path open to preserving and reviving our economy as we battle the coronavirus in Louisiana communities and around the country.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, along with additional emergency funding.

“The coronavirus has hit Louisiana hard and nearly ground the gears of our economy to a halt. People’s lives and their livelihoods depend on a swift, comprehensive response to this pandemic. The size and scope of spending in this bill is significant, but inaction in the face of this unprecedented challenge would be reckless.

“The CARES Act is the best path open to preserving and reviving our economy as we battle the coronavirus in Louisiana communities and around the country. Of course, this bill is far from perfect, but it gives families, workers and employers the resources they need to be resilient.

“This virus poses a unique health risk, and we know that poverty can also threaten lives. Understanding that, I voted today to protect the wellbeing of Louisianans now and into the future by investing in medical services, families, workers and businesses,” said Kennedy.

The CARES Act includes significant provisions to protect the health and wellbeing of Louisianians. These include resources for medical care, small businesses, workers and key industries.

Medical care:

  • The CARES Act provides coronavirus testing at no cost to patients and requires private insurance plans to cover testing costs,
  • ensures the coronavirus vaccine is free to recipients,
  • includes $117 billion for hospitals and veterans’ health care,
  • includes $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other preparedness measures,
  • includes $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  • includes $1.5 billion for state and local health responders,
  • includes $45 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund and
  • includes $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to improve access to supplies needed for national security and pandemic recovery.

Small businesses:

  • The CARES Act includes $450 billion for loans, loan guarantees and investments to support eligible businesses, states and municipalities,
  • authorizes main street lending at the Federal Reserve to be leveraged up to $4 trillion,
  • allows small businesses to delay paying payroll taxes,
  • provides $350 billion in guaranteed Small Business Administration loans for businesses and non-profits with 500 or fewer employees, including those who are self-employed or part of the gig economy, allowing funds to pay employee salaries, wages, cash tips, sick leave, employee group health care benefits and insurance premiums, retirement contributions and covered leave,
  • offers loans immediately and would waive affiliation rules for small businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries, certain franchises and businesses receiving financing through the Small Business Investment Company program and
  • waives the early withdrawal penalty for qualified retirement accounts up to $100,000 for reasons related to the coronavirus.

Workers:

  • The CARES Act provides $1,200 checks to individuals and $2,400 to couples in low- and middle-income households, with payments increasing by $500 per child per household,
  • makes more workers eligible for unemployment benefits and provides them with $600 per week for up to four months, allowing the Department of Labor to approve funds for states lacking the resources to make these payments,
  • provides $1.5 billion to support economic development grants for areas impacted by the coronavirus,
  • provides $1 billion in loans to the rural business and industry loan guarantee program,
  • provides $300 million to provide direct financial assistance to all manner of fishers, fishery participants and communities that have been affected by the coronavirus and
  • provides $25 million for the learning, telemedicine and broadband grants program.

Key industries and state and local governments:

  • The CARES Act establishes a $500 billion economic stabilization fund to support industries, states and cities,
  • includes $150 billion to supplement state and local government budgets,
  • provides an estimated $1.8 billion to Louisiana to fund coronavirus-related assistance,
  • provides $25 billion in collateralized loans for airlines and
  • provides $17 billion in collateralized loans for businesses critical to maintaining national security.

“It is no secret that Louisiana needs your help during this disaster. . . . I am requesting that you approve this request as expeditiously as possible in order to make additional resources available to supplement the state’s resources.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) wrote today to President Donald Trump to request a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“It is no secret that Louisiana needs your help during this disaster. . . . I am requesting that you approve this request as expeditiously as possible in order to make additional resources available to supplement the state’s resources,” wrote Kennedy.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-La.) yesterday made a formal request for a federal emergency declaration for Louisiana in response to the coronavirus global pandemic. The request cites the need for federal funding for emergency work under the Stafford Act.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

“The federal and state governments are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect local communities from the coronavirus—and to doing it quickly. This $31 million grant could increase medical services and supplies for Louisiana communities in order to slow the spread of this disease and care for those affected by the virus.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $31 million FEMA grant to the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness in response to the coronavirus.

“The federal and state governments are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect local communities from the coronavirus—and to doing it quickly. This $31 million grant could increase medical services and supplies for Louisiana communities in order to slow the spread of this disease and care for those affected by the virus,” said Kennedy.

President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13 to protect public health and safety in response to the coronavirus. The grant comes under the authority of the Stafford Act. It could be used to support emergency protective measures, including emergency medical care, medical sheltering, general health communications and the distribution of supplies. 

“Now is the time to mobilize resources to save American lives and livelihoods. Louisiana businesses and their employees are struggling through no fault of their own, and they need relief fast. . . . I’ve been talking with the administration about our great state and am glad to see the Small Business Administration make this resource available to hardworking Louisianians.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the U.S. Small Business Administration declared Louisiana an economic disaster in the wake of the coronavirus.

“Now is the time to mobilize resources to save American lives and livelihoods. Louisiana businesses and their employees are struggling through no fault of their own, and they need relief fast. When our state and country recover from the coronavirus, we want to ensure that we have a strong economy to return to. Low-interest loans for small businesses are a key to Louisiana’s economic success in the future. I’ve been talking with the administration about our great state and am glad to see the Small Business Administration make this resource available to hardworking Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

Businesses requesting assistance from the Small Business Administration can do so here.

We simply don’t need to pour taxpayer dollars into supporting criminals who have perpetrated violence against Americans. Instead, we should focus our limited resources on protecting innocent lives from terrorists.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a package of bills that protects law-abiding citizens and prioritizes them over convicted terrorists. The legislation includes the Terrorist Release Announcements to Counter Extremist Recidivism (TRACER) Act and the No Welfare for Terrorists Act.

“Terrorists who target U.S. citizens don’t deserve the public assistance that law-abiding families receive. We simply don’t need to pour taxpayer dollars into supporting criminals who have perpetrated violence against Americans. Instead, we should focus our limited resources on protecting innocent lives from terrorists. That’s why part of this package also directs the Department of Homeland Security to warn communities when convicted terrorists are released back onto their streets,” said Kennedy.

At present, the federal government has no systematic way—outside of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces—of notifying state and local law enforcement when people with convictions linked to terrorism are released into their communities. The TRACER Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to collect information on when and where the Bureau of Prisons releases convicted terrorists and share it with relevant state and local law enforcement.

The House of Representatives passed the TRACER Act in the 115th Congress.

The No Welfare for Terrorists Act would bar the federal government from giving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to individuals convicted of crimes related to terrorism. Current federal law prevents food stamps from going to people convicted of violent crimes like murder and rape. The No Welfare for Terrorists Act would update the law to make convicted terrorists ineligible to collect SNAP benefits.