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“It’s important for state and federal governments to work together to contain and mitigate the coronavirus’s spread in Louisiana. This funding gives our state more tools and resources to combat the disease. I will continue to work with the Trump administration to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7.8 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support Louisiana’s response to the coronavirus.

“It’s important for state and federal governments to work together to contain and mitigate the coronavirus’s spread in Louisiana. This funding gives our state more tools and resources to combat the disease. I will continue to work with the Trump administration to protect the health and safety of our communities,” said Kennedy.

President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act on March 6 to provide states with appropriate resources in response to the coronavirus.

Louisiana residents can contact the Louisiana Department of Health for information on the state’s coronavirus response. The Department of Health is sharing information about the coronavirus at ldh.la.gov and has set up a coronavirus hotline at 1-855-523-2652.

Issue statement following reports that the administration will appeal the Tenth Circuit’s decision

WASHINGTON—Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) today issued a statement following reports that President Trump will appeal the Tenth Circuit’s decision on small refineries.

“We’re encouraged by the reports that the administration will appeal the Tenth Circuit’s decision on small refineries. Thousands of blue collar workers’ jobs are at stake if the ruling were to stand. We’re grateful for President Trump’s commitment to the hardworking men and women of small refineries, and look forward to working with the administration to ensure follow through on the President’s decision,” the senators said.

Last week, multiple senators sent a letter to President Trump urging him to continue fighting this erroneous decision to invalidate hardship relief for small refineries under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

“Americans are increasingly concerned that the federal government is not doing enough to address the threat that China poses to our capital markets and national security. . . . These developments have increased our concerns about the protection of American investors who are unknowingly investing in the self-dealing, human rights abuses, cyberattacks, and frauds perpetrated by the CCP through these companies.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, sent a letter to Investor Advocate Rick Fleming of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking that he alert SEC leadership and the general public about the risk of investing in many Chinese companies.

“The fact that a Chinese company can be included in an index to avoid the SEC’s rigorous company-specific disclosure and audit regulations seems to fly in the face of the investor protection mandate of the Commission, your office, and the Investor Advisory Committee,” wrote the senators.

“Americans are increasingly concerned that the federal government is not doing enough to address the threat that China poses to our capital markets and national security. A recent survey found that 72% of Americans believe if Chinese companies want to list in the United States, they should have to satisfy the same regulatory requirements as U.S. businesses. These developments have increased our concerns about the protection of American investors who are unknowingly investing in the self-dealing, human rights abuses, cyberattacks, and frauds perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party through these companies,” the senators continued.

The Dodd-Frank Act created the Office of the Investor Advocate in 2010 to give American retail investors a voice on decisions the SEC oversees. The Investor Advocate is also required to inform Congress and the SEC about serious risks that threaten Main Street investors.

Kennedy and Van Hollen encouraged Fleming to hold a hearing to educate investors about the various risks Americans face when they invest in Chinese businesses listed on U.S. exchanges and registered with the SEC. Those risks include fraud, espionage, human rights abuse and funding the Chinese Communist Party.

In 2019, Kennedy and Van Hollen introduced the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which would address one of the SEC’s most significant issues in overseeing the financial reporting of U.S.-listed, China-based companies. The bill would require companies to provide proof they are not implicitly state-owned and prohibit them from being publicly listed if they refuse inspection of their records for three consecutive years.

“I believe this is, at heart, an economic issue: Real America needs a REAL ID extension. I look forward to working with you to ensure the transition to REAL IDs does not disrupt the lives or livelihoods of hardworking citizens.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) wrote today to President Donald Trump to request a one-year extension of the REAL ID deadline of October 1, 2020. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security reports that only 100 million Americans have received REAL IDs, and the deadline could cause significant disruptions for air travelers and America’s economy.

“To expect 125 million Americans to obtain the REAL ID before the October 1 enrollment deadline seems nearly impossible. Achieving that goal within seven short months becomes even more unlikely given nationwide reporting that the process for obtaining a REAL ID can be overly bureaucratic and take hours upon hours from a person’s work day. Speaking for my home state, I can report that the good people of Louisiana are too busy earning a living and raising their families to burn half a day waiting in long lines and jumping through hoops to get REAL IDs,” wrote Kennedy.

“I believe this is, at heart, an economic issue: Real America needs a REAL ID extension. I look forward to working with you to ensure the transition to REAL IDs does not disrupt the lives or livelihoods of hardworking citizens.”

In the 15 years since the REAL ID Act became law, fewer than half of Americans with driver’s licenses have received new REAL ID-compliant licenses. Additionally, two states were not even issuing REAL IDs to their residents as of last month.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

WASHINGTON — Today, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced an amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act that would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a phase down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons over the next 15 years. These chemicals, known as “HFCs,” are potent greenhouse gases used primarily as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioning systems.

Identical to the senators’ American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which is currently supported by a bipartisan group of 32 Senators—16 Republicans and 16 Democrats—this amendment would benefit U.S. industries that directly use or produce fluorocarbons and employ more than 593,000 Americans. This amendment would:

  • Save American consumers $3.7 billion over 15 years;
  • Increase U.S. manufacturing output by almost $39 billion over seven years; and,
  • Result in the creation of 150,000 more American jobs.

“If we want to keep America competitive in global industry, we need to continue investing in alternatives to HFCs. The amendment that dozens of my colleagues have cosponsored would save billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs—all while we protect the environment. Business and environmental groups support the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. If we give up the chance to move this amendment forward, America is going to look up in a few years and be the odd man out of the economic success that comes from transitioning away from HFCs,” said Kennedy.

“American companies have invested billions of dollars to produce and sell the next-generation technologies to replace HFCs. Our bipartisan amendment protects and builds upon these investments, and it would result in 150,000 new American jobs and almost $39 billion in annual economic benefits. At the same time, joining the rest of the global community in reducing HFCs could help avoid up to a half degree Celsius in global warming by the end of the century. I hope our colleagues will join us in supporting this amendment that will help American businesses and workers do well while doing what’s good for our planet,” said Carper.

The AIM Act was crafted with input from the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to give businesses a clear timeline for transitioning to new innovations in refrigerants. The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth phasedown that doesn’t disrupt jobs and leave the U.S. behind in an emerging global market. The global market is moving away from the use of HFC refrigerants, given that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requires their phase-out.

Sens. Kennedy and Carper are joined by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in cosponsoring the amendment.

“It gives me great comfort to know that Louisiana has dedicated law enforcement officers like you who are committed to protecting our communities.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter to Captain Earl D. Nichols of the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Department to congratulate him on being named the 2020 Louisiana Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.

“It gives me great comfort to know that Louisiana has dedicated law enforcement officers like you who are committed to protecting our communities. . . . You put your life on the line, and you impress us with your bravery and sacrifice every day,” Kennedy wrote to Nichols.

Nichols began his career with the Rapides Sheriff’s Department in 1970, and he continues to work 32 hours a week. This year marks his 50-year anniversary as a commissioned deputy.

Read the full letter from Kennedy to Nichols here.

“As we consider the claims made by both parties in June Medical Services v. Russo, we know that one of the biggest lies the abortion movement peddles is that we can only protect life in the womb at the expense of vulnerable women. The opposite is true. We cannot safeguard unborn children if we do not prioritize the health and wellbeing of their mothers.”

 

 

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke about Louisiana’s pro-life leadership ahead of oral arguments in the Supreme Court case June Medical Services v. Russo. Below are his remarks as prepared:

“My name is John Kennedy, and I believe in life.

“I am here today to celebrate with you God’s greatest gift—life. The Supreme Court is meeting this morning because Louisiana is a pro-life state that is helping to lead our country’s pro-life movement. I am so proud of that. Americans on both sides of the Mississippi River understand that every life is precious, and every life has meaning, whether it’s 82 years old or 82 seconds old.

The undeniable truth is that we have a solemn duty to protect all lives, all souls, especially the most innocent and vulnerable among us.

“I am also here today, with you, to give the voiceless a chance to be heard. Frankly, I wish we didn’t have to be here today. It’s sad. It’s sad because in 1973 the United States Supreme Court misread the United States Constitution to allow abortions across this great land. Under that decision, more than 50 million babies have been killed before they had the chance to be born.

“Even now, more than four decades after Roe v. Wade, I still don’t understand the legal sleight of hand that purportedly supports that opinion. You can’t defend it legally. You can’t defend it logically. And you surely can’t defend it morally.

“Dr. Martin King once said, ‘We have guided missiles and misguided men.’ That was true in 1973, and it’s true today. We are two decades into the 21st century, and some people have more compassion for shellfish than for children.

“What does all this mean for us today? Two things: One, we have a lot of work to do in fighting for unborn children. Two, we have a lot of work to do in fighting for the safety of women, who have too often become the victims of an abortion agenda that cuts deals and cuts corners and puts more distance—not less—between expectant women and quality health care.

“Moments from now, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a very important case. As we consider the claims made by both parties in June Medical Services v. Russo, we know that one of the biggest lies the abortion movement peddles is that we can only protect life in the womb at the expense of vulnerable women. The opposite is true.

“We cannot safeguard unborn children if we do not prioritize the health and wellbeing of their mothers.

“The Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act—the subject of today’s Supreme Court hearing—recognizes that abortion providers routinely put the safety of women at risk. Some abortion clinics often fail to offer women even basic standards of medical care, like ready access to both emergency and follow-up services.

“Louisiana’s law requires any doctor who performs an abortion to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Why? Because abortions are surgical procedures. Immoral surgical procedures, but surgical procedures nonetheless. They are inherently risky, and we in Louisiana believe that the women exposed to medical risk should be as protected as possible. We want to make the health of children and women a priority again. The law these nine justices are considering today is compassionate, and it’s common sensical.

“I have always been proud of Louisianians’ steadfast support for protecting life—whether that life belongs to an unborn child or an expectant mother. If either compassion or common sense prevails before this court after they hear today’s arguments, I want Congress to be ready to extend the safeguards we adopted in Louisiana nationwide, so that women everywhere will have a better chance of getting adequate medical care.

“That’s why I introduced in the United States Congress the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act just a few weeks ago. The idea that a woman in any state—not just Louisiana—should suffer at the hands of a health care provider who doesn’t even have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital to get her needed medical attention is barbaric.

“I agree with the good people of Louisiana and all of my pro-life friends here today: It’s time to actually prioritize the health of women and unborn children again. Protect women, and protect life.

“So, take comfort that you’re not alone in this fight for life, and take courage that every day more people recognize the value of both women and their unborn children. I know I do. God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.”

Supreme Court scheduled to hear oral arguments today in Liu v. Securities and Exchange Commission

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, released a statement today ahead of Supreme Court arguments in Liu v. SEC, a case challenging the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement powers to seek disgorgement on behalf of defrauded investors.

“Today’s argument in Liu v. SEC highlights the critical importance of affirming the SEC’s ability to protect investors through its disgorgement authority. Disgorgement authority is an essential enforcement tool that deters violations of our securities laws, protects Main Street investors, and helps compensate hardworking Americans who are victims of financial scams. Since the Court’s 2017 decision in Kokesh v. SEC, the SEC has forgone an estimated $1.1 billion in proceeds on behalf of harmed investors—a number that will only grow if the Supreme Court sides with the petitioners in this case—putting more money in the pockets of scammers and fraudsters while leaving ripped-off investors holding the bag. While we strongly believe that the SEC has the legal authority to seek disgorgement in civil actions, uncertainty from this case underscores the importance of congressional action to better protect harmed investors. In the Senate, we have introduced bipartisan legislation that would affirm the SEC’s disgorgement authority and expand its toolkit to increase financial recovery for harmed investors. The House passed similar legislation last year. We urge our colleagues in the Senate to act now by taking up this bipartisan effort,” said the senators.

Kennedy and Warner last year introduced the Securities Fraud Enforcement and Investor Compensation Act, bipartisan legislation that would give the SEC power to seek restitution for Main Street investors harmed by securities fraud. The bill would give the SEC a broader range of tools to seek compensation for investors who have lost money to Ponzi schemes and other investment scams.

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long agreed that our health system should protect men, women and kids with preexisting conditions, and my simple bill would do that regardless of what the Supreme Court may decide here.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Continuing Coverage for Preexisting Conditions Act of 2020 to keep in place legal protections for people with preexisting medical conditions.

“Americans with preexisting health conditions should have confidence that they’re going to keep the coverage they’ve been paying for. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long agreed that our health system should protect men, women and kids with preexisting conditions, and my simple bill would do that regardless of what the Supreme Court may decide here,” said Kennedy.

The Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Continuing Coverage for Preexisting Conditions Act would ensure that coverage for preexisting conditions continues even if the court rules that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The text of this legislation is available here.

“Banks can’t break the law because they find their duty to their clients inconvenient. Citibank’s misconduct shows us that the OCC must continue to watch it and other Wall Street giants like a hawk.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter to Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Joseph Otting praising the agency’s enforcement action against Citibank. From at least 2014 to 2017, the bank repeatedly violated the Flood Disaster Protection Act, and Kennedy urged the OCC to continue its enforcement efforts.

“Louisiana families know the risk of flooding all too well. The OCC is right to fine Citibank for failing to make sure homes and businesses in flood zones had flood insurance. Banks can’t break the law because they find their duty to their clients inconvenient. Citibank’s misconduct shows us that the OCC must continue to watch it and other Wall Street giants like a hawk,” said Kennedy.

The Flood Disaster Protection Act requires borrowers to purchase the appropriate flood insurance within 45 days after their lender tells them they need that insurance. If a borrower fails to purchase flood insurance within this period, the lender must purchase insurance on the borrower’s behalf.

In a pattern of illegal behavior, Citibank neglected to purchase the necessary flood insurance for borrowers with loans on properties located in designated flood hazard areas. The penalty for Citibank’s violations totals nearly $18 million.

Read Kennedy’s letter to the OCC here.