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WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with key provisions for Louisiana that Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) successfully negotiated into the bill. The 2022 WRDA package now awaits a vote in the full Senate.

“With the crucial provisions we negotiated for our state, WRDA would help restore ecosystems in south Louisiana and ensure that important Army Corps of Engineers projects get completed sooner,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy fought to include in WRDA several measures that would expedite Army Corps of Engineers projects in Louisiana and a provision that would substantially reduce Louisiana’s cost share to perform ecosystem restoration in areas degraded by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) navigation channel.

The MRGO navigation channel was closed after Hurricane Katrina, but the state has not yet restored the habitats that the channel damaged. Louisiana normally covers 35 percent of the cost of Corps of Engineers projects while the federal government covers 65 percent. The WRDA provision that Kennedy helped negotiate increases the federal share of restoring the MRGO to 90 percent of the project’s cost.

Other Kennedy victories in WRDA include directing the Corps of Engineers to:  

  • Resume operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the Algiers Canal Levees at full federal expense.
  • Prioritize the Louisiana Coastal Area Project.
  • Expedite completion of studies for coastal storm risk management in St. Tammany Parish and south-central coastal Louisiana.
  • Mandate a low-cost, environmentally-friendly plan to dispose of dredged material as part of the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Deepening Project. This plan could allow Louisiana to start this project sooner than alternative plans and would allow the state to use the dredged material to create additional wetlands.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Holding Foreign Insiders Accountable Act to hold the executives of foreign companies that are traded on U.S. stock exchanges to the same disclosure requirements that executives of U.S.-based firms follow.

Currently, executives of U.S. publicly-traded companies must disclose any trades they make of their own company’s stocks to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) within two business days of the trade. Executives of foreign firms, however, are not required to make such timely disclosures. Foreign executives are exempt from this requirement, and must only paper-file these disclosures to the SEC long after they have made their trades. The lag this system creates means that foreign executives can keep trades private for a longer period of time, which promotes insider trading at the expense of everyday American investors.

“Without being required to make quick disclosures, Chinese and Russian executives—along with many other foreign company insiders—have been able to make trades to avoid personal losses that can leave other investors in the lurch. I’m introducing the Holding Foreign Insiders Accountable Act to level the field between American and foreign firms, discourage insider trading and help Americans make more informed choices about where to invest their hard-earned money,” said Kennedy.

The bill would specifically amend Section 16 (a) of the Securities Exchange Act to require executives of public companies based outside the U.S. to make electronic disclosures of trades in their company’s stocks to the SEC within two business days. The SEC would then make that information available to public. This is the standard that currently applies to firms based in the U.S.

Text of the Holding Foreign Insiders Accountable Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released the following statement on the leak of a draft opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

“Preserving the Supreme Court’s integrity is vital, and this unprecedented leak attacks its independence and legitimacy. For the sake of the court and Americans’ confidence in its independence, a thorough and robust investigation is needed to find and punish the leaker.  

“As I’ve said many times before, Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be reversed. Everyone on either side of this issue should, however, condemn the leak and demand that we hold the leaker accountable.”

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) penned this op-ed for the Washington Times, which urges the Senate to build on the success of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act by ratifying the Kigali Amendment.

“Win-win opportunities aren’t easy to find in politics, but sometimes single solutions exist to help tackle several challenges. Cleaning up super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is one of those rare solutions that will boost our economy and help protect our planet.”

. . .

“For years, American companies have been at the forefront of developing HFC alternatives, so by phasing down HFCs we help promote U.S. leadership in the innovation and manufacturing of new climate-safe products. That’s what brought us together to write and pass the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act in 2020, a law that phases down the production and use of HFCs by 85% over the next 15 years. Transitioning away from HFCs drives more investments in American-made technologies that are better for the environment, cheaper for consumers, and good for the economy.

“The AIM Act is expected to create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs and help more than 130,000 Americans keep their current jobs over the next five years in communities across the country including our home states of Louisiana and Delaware.”

. . .

“This manufacturing boost will also be good for Louisiana, where plants in Geismar, Baton Rouge, and St. Gabriel could create more jobs and save hundreds of existing jobs by transitioning to production of safer coolants. And Louisiana companies involved in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) industry could benefit, as well. The international HVACR market could more than double over the next decade, and Louisiana’s HVACR industry can produce appliances that don’t rely on HFCs—appliances that we could then export to make the most out of this industry’s growth.”

. . .

But our work isn’t done yet. While the AIM Act has helped position America to reap the domestic fruits of transitioning away from HFCs, it can’t ensure that we’ll keep beating competitors (and super-polluters) like China and India unless America is a full partner in international efforts to phase out these substances.

“In order to see the full economic and environmental benefits of transitioning away from HFCs, the Senate must now ratify the Kigali Amendment. By building on the successes of the AIM Act, ratifying the Kigali Amendment will expand the global market for American-made technologies and safeguard U.S. investments.

“More than 170 countries support the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which obliges its signers to gradually phase down their HFC usage by 85%. China and India have both ratified the amendment. Starting in 2033, the Kigali Amendment would impose trade restrictions between countries that comply with the HFC phasedown agreement and those that do not.

“The AIM Act is already bringing the U.S. into alignment with the Kigali Amendment’s plan to phase down HFCs. It only makes economic sense that the Senate now ratify this agreement to ensure that the U.S. can capitalize on the success of the AIM Act instead of unnecessarily limiting our trade partners and giving our competitors—or even adversaries like China—a leg up at the expense of hardworking Americans.”

The op-ed is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $9,925,219 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“Hurricanes Zeta and Ida tore through Louisiana and devastated many families. This $9.9 million will help our state recover from the damage,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $6,973,049 to Jefferson Parish for Public Assistance emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Zeta.
  • $1,845,816 to the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,106,354 to the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.

MADISONVILLE, La. – The Save the Liberty Theatre Act, which Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced in the Senate and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced in the House, was today signed into law by President Joe Biden. The bill allows the city of Eunice to restore its historic Liberty Theatre.

“I’m grateful that we could finally get through a bureaucratic roadblock which has been blocking the restoration of the historic Liberty Theatre. The people of Eunice are finally free to start bringing the Liberty Theatre back to life,” said Kennedy.

The National Park Service owned a section of the Liberty Theatre that provides a handicap accessible entrance, but this ownership interest in the property has been hindering efforts to restore the theater. The Save the Liberty Theatre Act grants Eunice full ownership of the theater property so that the city can begin restoration efforts. 

Text of the Save the Liberty Theatre Act is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to grant assistance to Louisiana crawfish farmers recovering from natural disaster damage.

The lawmakers point out that, in early 2021, Louisiana experienced a historic deep freeze that caused six deaths, damaged infrastructure and hit Louisiana’s crawfish industry. 

“Crawfish require warm temperatures in order to flourish and grow. In fact, even a day or two of severe cold weather can significantly stunt their growth. As we saw, this historic winter freeze did not kill the crawfish, but instead substantially slowed down their growth, crippling supply at the beginning of the season. Later that year, while crawfish farmers were still recovering from losses, Hurricane Ida ripped through Louisiana causing tens of billions in property damage,” the lawmakers wrote.

“As you know, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or other loss conditions. In May 2021, we were relieved food fish and other aquatic species were granted eligibility to request ELAP assistance. While we’re encouraged to learn that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) began delivering this much needed assistance to our crawfish farmers just two weeks ago, we’ve since received several concerns from farmers whose applications have been denied due to the failure to report their acreage prior to the September deadline,” continued the lawmakers.

“We understand that acreage reporting is a normal practice for FSA programs, and traditional crop farmers are aware of the process, requirements, and deadlines. However, it is essential to note that crawfish farming is a unique, niche practice to which some producers’ first time engaging with FSA was for this purpose. . . . We urge you and the FSA Administrator to review this time-sensitive request and grant much needed assistance to our Louisiana crawfish farmers,” they concluded.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Reps. Clay Higgins (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Julia Letlow (R-La.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) also signed the letter.

The letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to call for a Committee hearing about the potential consequences at the southern border of the Biden administration’s decision to rescind the Title 42 public health order.

“Termination of the Title 42 order will likely result in a large influx of migrants at the southern border–larger than the already record levels of illegal immigrant crossings currently taking place along the border. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz recently stated that there are already approximately 7,000 encounters per day with illegal immigrants crossing the border, and that the number of encounters is likely to pass the 1 million mark for the first 6 months of FY2022 alone,” the senators wrote.

“Given this reality, it is imperative that DHS have an effective and detailed plan in place to deal with such an influx before Title 42 is terminated. This is not a partisan issue, and senators of both parties have raised concerns about the Administration’s recent announcement that it will rescind the Title 42 order in May,” continued the senators.

“. . . we believe it is important that DHS develop an effective contingency plan, share the details of the plan with Congress, and come before the Judiciary Committee to discuss the plan and answer any questions committee members of both parties may have,” the senators concluded.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has been awarded the title of “True Blue” member by Family Research Council Action (FRC Action). Kennedy scored 100 percent for his voting record in both 2020 and 2021, earning him two “True Blue” awards for his unwavering support of faith, family and freedom.

“I am proud to fight for Louisiana families and their values, and I’ll never stop defending life and our core freedoms,” said Kennedy.

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins praised Kennedy’s record.

“We thank Sen. Kennedy for defending faith, family, and freedom. He has voted to reject the radical gender ideology that would overhaul our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity. He voted to protect women, the military, homeless shelters, and public restrooms from this harmful ideology. He has voted to protect the sanctity of human life for unborn babies, end taxpayer funding of abortion, and prevent additional taxpayer funding of abortion both domestically and overseas. He also voted to expand protections for conscience rights, reject the increasing acceptance of marijuana use, and reject pro-abortion, anti-family, judicial and executive appointments.

“Louisianans should be encouraged to know that they have a champion like Sen. Kennedy in Congress who, despite relentless attacks from the Left and the media, is standing strong for faith, family, and freedom,” concluded Perkins.

 

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led 13 other senators in urging President Joe Biden not to remove the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian terrorist group responsible for hundreds of American deaths.

“Not only would this removal be wildly misguided, but it would betray our partners and allies in the region—particularly Israel and the Gulf states. These allies and partners already hold concerns that the United States is reducing its regional presence. The enactment of such a deal would provide the Iranian regime access to funds that it would use to destabilize the region through terrorist proxies,”
wrote the senators.

“When it comes to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the realities are grim. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is actively trying to kill U.S. politicians and public servants on U.S. soil—most notably, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is responsible for the deaths of more than 600 American troops in Iraq through the provision of lethal aid and improvised explosive devices to Iran-backed Shia militia groups. . . . The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has shown no meaningful change in conduct and is actively engaging in terrorist activities,” continued the senators.

The senators asked Biden several questions, including whether he believes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps no longer engages in terrorist activity or threatens U.S. security.

“We humbly request that you meet this test of resolve and conscience by publicly and categorically rejecting any discussion of delisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the senators concluded.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) also signed the letter.

The senators also directed the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The letter is available here.