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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Judge Kavanaugh is obviously well-educated and has an impressive resume, but I look forward to getting to know him better throughout the confirmation process.  I want someone who’s smart, intellectually curious and willing to test their assumptions against the arguments of those who disagree with them. 

“During the Senate Judiciary hearings, I plan to delve into how he interprets a statute and how he would interpret the Constitution when it’s not clear.  I want to understand how he thinks the judiciary fits in the Madisonian balance of separation of powers.  I want to know if he respects the Bill of Rights and understands why we have a Bill of Rights.  You really can’t tell whether that standard can be reached until you have a confirmation hearing.  That’s why I look forward to a full and fair vetting process.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Livingston Parish School Board will receive $7.4 million in FEMA funds to help recover from the devastating floods of 2016.

“This funding will help replace the contents at 17 schools in Livingston Parish.  Livingston Parish was one of the hardest hit by the unexpected 2016 flooding.  This money will go a long way toward helping Livingston Parish’s schools recover and put this devastating event in the rearview mirror,” said Sen. Kennedy.

“Livingston Parish Public Schools appreciates the efforts of our congressional delegation in their work with FEMA to quickly reimburse monies spent by our school system to recover from the Great Flood of 2016,” said Livingston Parish Public Schools Superintendent Rick Wentzel. 

 

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Construction funding includes $343 Million for Comite River Diversion Canal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that Louisiana received nearly $1.4 billion for disaster recovery projects in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Work Plan.  The funding includes $343 million for the Comite River Diversion Canal.

“The Comite River Diversion Canal has been on the drawing board for decades.  A lot of people have watched their homes flood waiting for the diversion canal to be built.  Families and businesses in multiple parishes desperately need this funding.  The time for meetings and excuses is over, it’s time to get it built,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I cannot emphasize enough how much this funding will mean for families and business owners who worry every time it rains.”

Also included in construction funding that was enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018:

  • East Baton Rouge Parish Flood Control, $255 million
  • Grand Isle, $15 million
  • West Shore, Lake Ponchartrain, $760 million. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today called for a thorough investigation into whether taxpayer dollars were wasted because of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ sloppy oversight of the Medicaid program.  A recent audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office determined that it’s impossible for DHH to know whether millions of dollars in taxpayer money were improperly spent.

“Louisiana’s chief auditor, who is nonpartisan and calls it like he sees it, described DHH’s management of the Medicaid program as completely willy-nilly.  It’s embarrassing,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Medicaid consumes nearly half the state budget. I don’t think it’s a matter of whether taxpayer dollars were wasted, it’s a matter of how many were wasted because of DHH’s incompetence.   Someone – preferably not DHH – needs to account for every single penny and demand repayment of any that was misspent.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today about the radical push by some Democratic leaders to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

“Democrats who are pushing to eliminate ICE must be living in a fantasy world.  They’ve forgotten the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  They pretend that violent drug cartel members aren’t intent on crossing our border and turning our daily lives into bloody nightmares,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “ICE just helped secure the lengthy prison sentence of a drug cartel leader whose organization tortured and murdered 12 Mexican law enforcement officers.  The ridiculous push to eliminate ICE dishonors those who have died in cross border violence and the officers who have sacrificed their lives guarding the U.S. border.  Radical Democrats and Democratic leadership are playing high stakes, political poker with the safety of American families.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that he has signed on to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) bill, S.3041, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018.  This legislation addresses the duplication of benefits’ problem for the 2016 flood victims, improves mitigation activities and ensures that multi-structure campuses such as schools and hospitals only have to meet one $500,000 deductible.  The duplication of benefits’ fix is especially important to the victims of the historic 2016 floods in Louisiana who are still struggling to rebuild.

Sen. Kennedy also has separate legislation S.2547, the Consolidating Losses Associated to Severe Storms Act of 2018 (CLASS Act), to relieve the financial stress that Louisiana school districts are suffering because of the 2016 floods.  S.3041 builds on Sen. Kennedy’s previous efforts to spare school districts from millions of dollars in penalties on flood-damaged buildings.

“Under the current rules, we are essentially punishing people for being diligent about rebuilding their homes after a disaster, and that has to stop.  This legislation makes some long-awaited, common sense reforms to our disaster recovery programs, including duplication of benefits,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Currently, the federal government treats a loan from the Small Business Administration like a disaster benefit which then often prevents people from qualifying for disaster grants down the road.  I am proud to be a part of this legislation that helps Louisiana families recover from the 2016 floods.”

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) proposed an amendment to eliminate the federal employee executive branch pay raise for next year.  The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a vote of 2-29, rejected his amendment.

“Washington is on a spending spree, and it’s time for some change around here,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My amendment would have saved hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in a payroll that tops $270 billion annually.  We could have used the savings to pay down the national debt and invest in our children’s futures.  It may have only gotten two votes, but at least I tried.  And I’ll keep fighting to curtail government spending.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed a Senate Farm Bill today that contains U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to prevent the National Flood Insurance Program from expiring in the middle of hurricane season.  H.R.2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Senate Farm Bill, extends the program for six months.  The Senate passed the Farm Bill on an 86-11 vote.

The bill also protects Louisiana sugar cane farmers by keeping tariff-rate quotas on imports and preventing foreign countries from flooding the market with their inferior product.  The American Sugar Cane League estimates that Louisiana sugar cane production employs 17,000 people and generates 13 million tons of cane a year.

“I’m grateful that the Senate included my amendment, ensuring that the National Flood Insurance Program will continue to protect families during hurricane season.  We can’t abandon Louisiana families who faithfully pay their premiums every year,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I also cannot emphasize enough how much this bill does for our sugar cane farmers.  Generations of families have farmed sugar cane in Louisiana.  That is a legacy we need to protect from foreign producers trying to flood the market.”

Other highlights included in the Farm Bill for Louisiana:

  • Allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund projects that will deploy high-speed broadband in rural America, including Louisiana.
  • Continues to fund programs that help cotton farmers and textile manufacturers.
  • Reauthorizes the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program, which promotes clean source water in rural communities.  The plans identify voluntary actions that farmers and ranchers can do to prevent source water pollution.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today on the retirement announcement by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy:

“I congratulate Justice Kennedy for serving on the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 30 years and wish him well on his retirement.  Serving on the nation’s highest court is a pinnacle reached by few and requires true dedication to public service.  We owe him a sincere thank you.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to sitting down with President Trump’s nominee and asking some tough questions.  I will be looking for someone of great intellect who has more than a passing fondness for the U.S. Constitution and doesn’t think personal preferences have a role in judicial decision-making.  In short, I’m hoping Justice Gorsuch has a brother or a sister who is willing to serve.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate today inserted a proposal by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for six months into a substitute version of the Senate Farm Bill.  The program extension, which was cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), now is in H.R.2, the substitute Senate Farm Bill.  A vote on the full bill is expected Thursday.

“This is huge news for homeowners from Houma to Plain Dealing and all the points in between.  The National Flood Insurance Program is on the brink of expiring at the worst time possible.  It’s the middle of hurricane season, and we haven’t even gotten to August when the worst hurricanes typically hit,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This six-month deal will give us time to work on a longer reauthorization and much-needed reforms.  It will also ensure that Louisiana families don’t have to worry every time it rains.”

“Louisiana families depend on the National Flood Insurance Program for peace of mind and recovery after disaster,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Preserving this program through hurricane season, as we work on a long-term reauthorization that ensures the program is affordable and sustainable, will be a big victory for homeowners.”

 

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