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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today urged President Donald Trump to declassify the entire Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) record on former campaign aide Carter Page so that it can be released to the American people.

“The Inspector General report showed the FBI was willing to do anything in order to spy on Carter Page, including making 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions.  The American public deserves to know everything the FBI did,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I’m asking President Trump to declassify the entire record so that Attorney General Barr and FBI Director Wray can release it to the American people.  If the FBI wants to continue the employment of rogue, politically-motivated agents, then let the public read the entire record.”

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) announced today a decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expedite the funding process for the U.S. Virgin Islands to pay Louisiana contractors who provided immediate aid after hurricanes Irma and Maria.

After two hurricanes devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2017, Louisiana businesses were hired to provide relief and repairs to families who experienced home damage.  Their work provided families with safe, clean homes immediately after the disaster. 

Many of these Louisiana contractors are still waiting on millions in past due payments for their work and have begun laying off Louisiana employees.  Some of these companies have even filed for bankruptcy.  Earlier this year, Sen. Kennedy joined the Louisiana delegation in sending a letter to U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan requesting the continuation of work towards a solution to paying the contractors and the scheduling of a second “strike team” meeting to iron out bureaucratic hurdles that have impeded payment.

New FEMA funds are expected to be released in the coming weeks, but there is a growing concern that significant bureaucratic hurdles remain and will, again, delay payments to Louisiana businesses.

“Louisiana businesses have waited long enough and are dying on the vine as a result of all of this,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Now it’s up to Gov. Bryan to ensure that this funding is directed towards Louisiana contractors who badly need these funds to pay their workers before Christmas and keep their doors open.  We’ve left these contractors in the lurch for far too long, and enough is enough.  I’m optimistic that Gov. Bryan is aware of our dire situation and will remove any remaining obstacles in the coming days.”

“Louisiana contractors rushed to help the U.S. Virgin Islands recover in the aftermath of Irma and Maria.  Two years later, they have not been paid,” said Dr. Cassidy.  “This funding is intended for Louisiana contractors.  Gov. Bryan making these payments is vital for these firms to remain open and able to aid in future disasters.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Hazardous Materials Safety Improvement Act of 2019 today to ensure that rail shippers and tank car owners aren’t subjected to costly and unfair regulatory burdens because of a usurping of federal authority.  Outside groups are trying to circumvent the federal rulemaking process without conducting a comprehensive safety assessment or a cost benefit analysis to protect the public.

The legislation requires the administrator of the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to respond to petitions for regulatory action within 18 months and makes it clear the response supersedes a decision by outside groups.  The proposal is supported by the American Chemistry Council, tank car builders and tank car shippers.

“Tank car owners and shippers are under constant threat from regulatory burdens that leave them financially strapped.  These burdens are job killers,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The Department of Transportation’s exclusive authority to set standards for hazardous materials is being usurped by outside groups.  My legislation puts DOT back in charge.”

“Sen. Kennedy’s bill will bring much needed urgency and clarity to how the federal government addresses the transportation of hazardous materials.  Simply put, this legislation will require PHMSA to act quicker on regulatory requests and will help the administration be more agile when it comes to safeguarding the shipment of hazardous materials,” said Chris John, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council.  “Equally important, the bill will also reaffirm the Department of Transportation as the final authority when it comes to establishing regulations and standards that govern the safe movement of hazardous materials.  We appreciate Sen. Kennedy’s leadership on helping PHMSA to act quicker on regulatory requests and urge his colleagues to support this important legislation.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke with reporters Tuesday to provide an update on the latest developments in the impeachment process.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s statement on impeachment.

 

Highlights from Statement:

Senate impeachment trial: “There will be a trial conducted in the Senate.  That trial will begin either Jan. 2 or Jan. 6.  I don’t know how long the trial will take.  My guess is a minimum of two weeks.  It could last four, five or six weeks.”

Rules for the trial: “The rules will be set either by negotiated agreement, on which all senators have to vote, or just a straight up Senate vote in terms of the rules on how we will proceed.  I can tell you right now that I will vote to allow both sides – the House managers of the impeachment articles and the President – to have virtually unfettered discretion to cross examine all witnesses, to call any witness that they want to and to offer any rebuttal evidence that they want to. And I will vote that way because I think that no one is above the law, but nobody is beneath the law.  And I’ve been very disappointed at the absence of due process in the House of Representatives.”

Future impeachment trials: “This will be the first purely partisan impeachment in the United States.  And I worry that Speaker Pelosi, in her decision to do this, is normalizing impeachment as a routine political weapon.”  

Impeachment corruption: “The second concern I have about the House proceedings is that they’re rigged.  They’re as rigged as a carnival ring toss, as I’ve said before.  The president has not been allowed to cross examine any of the witnesses against him.  He’s not been allowed to call witnesses.  He’s not been allowed to offer rebuttal evidence.  Toward the end, Speaker Pelosi and some of the other leadership said now, after all the damage has been done, you can come participate.  But at this juncture it’s pretty clear that the cow is out the barn … We will do it differently in the Senate, and we will afford both sides due process.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Department of Justice, today about his report outlining misuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Horowitz conducted an investigation into how and why the FBI investigated the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s questioning.

 

Exchange between Sen. Kennedy and Inspector General Horowitz:

Kennedy: “Let’s talk about the people involved in the initial FISA application and the renewals. These are experienced people, right?”

Horowitz: “In this case, these were experienced people.”

Kennedy:  “Many of them had professional degrees, including but not limited to, law degrees, right?”

Horowitz: “I actually don’t know what all their degrees were.”

Kennedy: “They knew the law?”

Horowitz: “They should have not only known the law; they should have known every single policy they had to deal with here.”

Kennedy: “I mean they were hand-picked by Mr. McCabe right?”

Horowitz: “They were hand-picked.”

Kennedy: “This wasn’t their first rodeo.”

Horowitz: “It certainly wasn’t with maybe an exception or two towards the end of relatively new agents coming on board.  But that should not have been an excuse, just to be clear.”

Kennedy:  “It just seems to me that it has to be one of two things: incompetence or intentional conduct.”

Horowitz:  “I agree.  It’s either sheer incompetence or intentionality or something in between.”

Kennedy: “So which do you think it is?

Horowitz:  “… I think it’s fair for people to sit there and look at all of these 17 events and wonder how it could be purely incompetence.”  

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor today thanking Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), for fighting for the American people and recommending a public auction of the C-band spectrum needed for 5G.

The FCC was considering a closed-door private sale instead of the public auctions it typically conducts.  Two weeks ago Chairman Pai announced the FCC will conduct a public auction of the valuable C-band spectrum. The private auction would have allowed foreign companies to profit from the spectrum sale and lacked transparency. 

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s floor speech.

  

Highlights from the Speech:

Benefit of a Public Auction: “Doing a public auction is nothing new for the FCC.  The FCC auctions off different airwaves all the time. In fact, the FCC in the last 25 years has held right around 100 public auctions … The good people at the FCC have brought in to the American taxpayers about $123 billion in the last 25 years by auctioning off these airwaves and giving everybody a fair chance, in a fully transparent way, in front of God and country.”

Fighting for a Public Auction:  “A lot of swamp creatures were pushing hard for a private sale.  The American taxpayers would not only have lost $60 billion, we would have lost control of the C-band … We can’t let our guard down.  I’ve learned in my short three years that those swamp creatures, if they can’t get in the front door, they’re going to try to get in the side door.  And if they can’t make it through the side door, they’re going to try the back door. We’ve got a lot of money at stake here, so we’ve got to remain vigilant.”

Chairman Pai’s Leadership:  “I want to thank Ajit Pai for standing up.  He made the right people mad.  That’s easy to talk about, but hard to do.  It takes courage.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the recent shootings in New Orleans:

“I just spoke with Mayor Cantrell.  I offered to contact FBI Director Christopher Wray for any additional resources she needs to catch the killers who disrupted an otherwise beautiful weekend in New Orleans,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We need to work together to keep our city and our state safe.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $5.5 million Department of Transportation grant to construct a terminal building at Lafayette Regional Airport. 

Since taking office in 2017, Sen. Kennedy has helped secure more than $54 million in grants for repairs, renovations and additions at Lafayette Regional Airport. 

“Lafayette is a growing city, and the airport needs to grow with it,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The Lafayette Regional Airport is used by people from all over the world, and this grant will help the airport continue to serve all the folks flying to and from Lafayette.”

“The robust economy is enabling more passengers to travel by air so this Administration is investing billions of dollars in America’s airports which will address safer operations, fewer airport delays, and greater ease of travel for air travelers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $1.5 million FEMA grant for Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College near Covington to fund repairs to Benet Hall.  The hall was among 31 buildings damaged at the historic campus by flooding in 2016.

“The 2016 flooding was devastating to Saint Joseph Abbey.  This grant will help the college rebuild and continue its mission to educate religious leaders and serve the community,” said Sen. Kennedy.

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) subcommittee hearing chaired by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today, federal officials confirmed that an auction of C-Band spectrum can be completed by the end of 2020.  This confirmation eliminates concerns that a private sale needs to be held because a public auction would take years to coordinate.

Sen. Kennedy has been a strong advocate for a public auction of the C-Band spectrum needed to deliver 5G technology to the American people.  Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the FCC will conduct a public auction of the C-Band spectrum, instead of a closed-door private auction.  At today’s hearing, the FCC’s Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology Julius Knapp and Acting Chief of the Office of Economics and Analytics Giulia McHenry confirmed that the FCC is fully capable of commencing and completing the C-Band auction by the end of 2020.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s opening statement.

Hearing Highlights:

SEN. KENNEDY:

C-Band Potential Litigation: “There’s $60 billion at stake here, maybe less but not much less. It’s been my experience when government makes a decision that you get sued anyway.  If somebody’s happy and somebody’s sad, you’re going to get sued, and I fully expect whatever the FCC does, private or public auction, you’re going to get sued, but good luck finding a federal judge who’s going to issue an injunction and is going to shut this down.  I think that the case law in my opinion is on the FCC’s side.”

C-Band’s 5G capabilities: “… the FCC, for some time, has been deliberating how best to allocate the C-Band, 3.7 gigahertz to 4.2 gigahertz.  We have discovered it will be very valuable for fifth generation wireless technology because it can reach a large geographical area and carry lots and lots of data.”

Impact on Rural Communities: “Last night I introduced a bill, a competing bill, that will require the FCC to hold a public auction of the C-Band spectrum.  It would allow for no less than 200 megahertz and no more than 300 megahertz of C-band spectrum to be auctioned off.  It would ensure … that incumbent C-Band users will be protected.  My bill will direct that all of the money goes to the United States Treasury and that $10 billion of the funds be specifically set aside to build out and maintain rural broadband infrastructure in unserved rural communities.”

C-band ownership: “My understanding is that the current users of the C-band paid no money for it.  They do not have a license.  I’m not sure of the exact legal term that gives them the right, the privilege rather, to use the C-Band auction, but I liken it to a 30 day month-to-month lease.  And I think the property right here is something that we should address.”

MS. GIULIA McHENRY:
Federal Communications Commission Acting Chief of the Office of Economics and Analytics
About the Public Auction Decision: “Guiding the chairman’s decision, was his view that the proposed private sale offered by the C-Band alliance was unlikely to be fair and transparent,” said Ms. McHenry.  “Given that bidders across the board, have repeatedly stated that the rules and protections of an FCC run auction are necessary for this potentially multi-billion dollar sale, the chairman concluded that the tried and true method of a public auction was the fastest and best means to get the spectrum to market.”

The Public Auction Timeline: “The chairman has announced that he expects a commission vote on the public auction early next year, and we are planning to conduct a fair and transparent auction while preserves that upper 200 megahertz of this band for the continued delivery of programming,” said Ms. McHenry.  “We are confident we can commence this auction before the end of 2020.”

 

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