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“Now is the time for both chambers of Congress to ensure that firms beholden to Communist China finally let U.S. regulators examine their books—to stop them from swindling American investors.”

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have introduced the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill passed the Senate unanimously this May.

Kennedy and Van Hollen introduced the legislation to protect American investors and their retirement savings from foreign companies that have been operating on U.S. stock exchanges while flouting Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight.

“Every day that lawmakers fail to act gives fraudulent Chinese companies the chance to continue exploiting hardworking Americans. The Senate has already endorsed this bill unanimously, and it has the SEC’s support as well. Now is the time for both chambers of Congress to ensure that firms beholden to Communist China finally let U.S. regulators examine their books—to stop them from swindling American investors,” said Kennedy.

From retirement accounts to their children’s savings plans, many Americans rely on investments to support their futures. But for too long, investors have not been provided accurate or timely information from Chinese companies registered on U.S. exchanges—costing Americans dearly. Publicly listed companies should all be held to the same standards, and our proposal would ensure that. I’m glad this provision has already passed the Senate with unanimous support, I urge my colleagues to get this done,” said Van Hollen.

Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have cosponsored the NDAA amendment.

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act prohibits securities of a company from being listed on any of the U.S. securities exchanges if the company has failed to comply with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) audits for three years in a row.

The bill would also require public companies to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government, including China’s communist government. 

Many Americans invest in U.S. stock exchanges as part of their retirement savings, and dishonest companies operating on the exchanges put Americans at risk. This legislation protects the interest of American investors by ensuring that foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to American companies.

Background:

Congress established the PCAOB to inspect audits of public companies, ensuring the information companies provide to the public is accurate, independent and trustworthy.

Currently, China’s communist government refuses to allow the PCAOB to inspect audits of companies registered in China and Hong Kong. Such companies represent a keen risk to American investors as nearly 11 percent of all securities class action lawsuits in 2011 were brought against Chinese-owned companies accused of misrepresenting themselves in financial documents.

According to the SEC, 224 U.S.-listed companies are located in countries where there are obstacles to PCAOB inspections. These companies have a combined market capitalization of more than $1.8 trillion.

In the last 10 years, the number of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges has increased significantly, as those firms take advantage of the capital available in America.

“This HHS funding will promote the wellbeing of Louisiana communities by supporting key health care and education programs.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $26,413,564 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to help support various health and education projects in Louisiana.

“This HHS funding will promote the wellbeing of Louisiana communities by supporting key health care and education programs,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $10,742,088 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Louisiana Crisis Response program.
  • $7,851,684 for the St. Landry Parish School Board for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. 
  • $4,274,272 to Delta Community Action Association, Inc. for the Head Start program.
  • $2,345,520 to the Vernon Parish School Board for the Head Start program.
  • $1,040,000 to Louisiana Primary Care Association, Inc. for Health Center Controlled Networks.
  • $160,000 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program.

 “Opioid abuse has crippled communities in our state, and this funding will help law enforcement keep these deadly drugs off of Louisiana streets and out of Louisiana homes.”

 WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $2,998,794 award from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to the Louisiana State Police. The funds, which come through the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF), will help combat the illegal production and distribution of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and prescription opioids in Louisiana. 

“Opioid abuse has crippled communities in our state, and this funding will help law enforcement keep these deadly drugs off of Louisiana streets and out of Louisiana homes,” said Kennedy.

The AHTF delivers funding to law enforcement agencies located in states with high rates of treatment admissions for heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other opioids. These resources will help support criminal investigations into the distribution of such prohibited substances.

“Children are uniquely vulnerable to wicked people who hide in the internet’s shadows. Law enforcement needs modern resources to stop and punish child predators, and this bill delivers a critical tool for the good guys.”

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) today introduced the Targeting Child Predators Act of 2020 to help stop children from being exploited online. Current law gives suspected predators opportunity to evade prosecution when Internet Service Providers alert them to potential law enforcement investigations.

“Children are uniquely vulnerable to wicked people who hide in the internet’s shadows. Law enforcement needs modern resources to stop and punish child predators, and this bill delivers a critical tool for the good guys,” said Kennedy.

“Internet Service Providers can be invaluable partners to law enforcement in tracking down child sexual predators, but ISPs often alert the predator to inquiries about their identity, making it easier for them to evade prosecution. This bill would forbid ISPs from telling these criminals that their information has been requested by law enforcement until their actions can be properly investigated,” said Cornyn.

“Child exploitation is particularly awful, and every second counts when it comes to putting these types of criminals behind bars. This bill will give law enforcement another tool to respond swiftly to these crimes, find predators, and bring them to justice,” said Cotton.

“I thank Senators Kennedy, Cornyn and Cotton for standing up for vulnerable children by introducing the Targeting Child Predators Act which I sponsored in the House of Representatives when I was a congressman. It passed in the House and the Senate should act similarly to ensure online predators are swiftly prosecuted and our children are protected,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

When investigating the exploitation of children online, law enforcement can typically match an IP address to a suspected predator. Officials may then use this evidence to obtain a subpoena to collect the name of the person attached to the IP address from an Internet Service Provider.

Internet Service Providers routinely comply with such subpoenas, but often immediately inform the users—in these cases, suspected child predators—of the request. Suspects who discover that law enforcement is investigating them regularly erase their internet footprints, which can make prosecuting online child predators nearly impossible.

The Targeting Child Predators Act would allow law enforcement to obtain a subpoena that forbids the Internet Service Provider from notifying the targeted user that his or her information has been requested. This prohibition would be valid for 180 days to give law enforcement sufficient time to determine whether to prosecute the individual in question.

The legislation applies only in cases of suspected child exploitation. In addition, law enforcement must certify that, if the Internet Service Provider disclosed the information request to the targeted suspect, that disclosure could enable suspects to:

  • endanger the life or physical safety of an individual,
  • flee from prosecution,
  • destroy or tamper with evidence,
  • intimidate a potential witness, or
  • otherwise seriously jeopardize an investigation.

The Targeting Child Predators Act does not expand what type of evidence law enforcement can collect. The bill allows for judicial review of the subpoenas.

This bill passed the House in the 115th Congress by a voice vote, and its text is available here.

“Flooded roads can put Louisianians at risk, and this funding will help elevate LA Highway 1 to make travel in Lafourche Parish safer.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $135 million in federal funding from the Department of Transportation to build approximately 8.3 miles of elevated highway between Leeville Bridge and Golden Meadow as part of the LA Highway 1 Improvement Project.

“Flooded roads can put Louisianians at risk, and this funding will help elevate LA Highway 1 to make travel in Lafourche Parish safer,” said Kennedy.

“FEMA and Louisiana took unprecedented steps to respond to this pandemic, and this funding will help pay for vital resources needed to combat the virus.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $15,285,718 in FEMA grants to reimburse hospitals around Louisiana for the cost of services and equipment used to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“FEMA and Louisiana took unprecedented steps to respond to this pandemic, and this funding will help pay for vital resources needed to combat the virus,” said Kennedy.

Louisiana’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is receiving $6,126,612 for helping Baton Rouge General Hospital accommodate additional coronavirus patients and acquire equipment for its intensive care unit. 

Louisiana Children’s Medical Center is receiving $9,159,106 for its emergency medical care response and distributing personal protective equipment to its staff. 

This funding is authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Act.

“The coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted Louisiana’s most vulnerable populations, and this CARES Act funding will help support critical health and education programs that serve these individuals.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $201,938,804 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to help support various health care and education programs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic has heavily impacted Louisiana’s most vulnerable populations, and this CARES Act funding will help support critical health and education programs that serve these individuals,” said Kennedy.

Safety net hospitals and health care providers that take part in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are receiving $183,665,934 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

Under the CARES Act, the Head Start program is receiving $18,272,870. The program helps low-income children prepare for kindergarten by providing meals, health screenings and pre-kindergarten education.

The Chinese Communist Party has made nests for its propaganda on college campuses all over our country. . . . It’s time to end Communist China’s deceitful attacks on democratic freedoms by giving power back to American students and educators.”

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate passed the Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States (CONFUCIUS) Act by unanimous consent. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the legislation in March 2019 to address concerns about Confucius Institutes’ suppressing free speech on American college campuses. Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) cosponsored the legislation.

“The Chinese Communist Party has made nests for its propaganda on college campuses all over our country. Confucius Institutes are threatening academic liberty and free speech without shame, and too many American schools have fallen victim to the political con. It’s time to end Communist China’s deceitful attacks on democratic freedoms by giving power back to American students and educators,” said Kennedy.

At universities across the U.S., the Chinese government is waging an influence war through its Confucius Institutes. Though ostensibly designed to promote cultural studies on college campuses, Confucius Institutes receive direct funding from the Chinese government.

The CONFUCIUS Act reduces the Chinese Communist Party’s influence on U.S. colleges and universities by granting full managerial authority of Confucius Institutes to the universities that host them. 

Specifically, the CONFUCIUS Act provides that Confucius Institutes must:

  • Protect academic freedom on the campus where the Confucius Institute is located,
  • Prohibit the application of any foreign law on any campus of the institution, and
  • Grant full control over what a Confucius Institute teaches, the activities it carries out, the research grants it gives, and the individuals it employs to the college or university on which it is located.

This bill would prohibit federal government funding to colleges and universities that host Confucius Institutes and are not in compliance with the above provisions. The funding prohibition would only apply to funding directed to the college or university and would not include funding disbursed to students, such as Pell Grants.

Video of Kennedy’s unanimous consent request is available here.

Background:

  • According to the nonpartisan National Association of Scholars, there are at least 72 Confucius Institutes at colleges and universities in the U.S.
  • This May, the College Republican National Committee and the College Democrats of America wrote a joint letter calling for the “immediate and permanent closure of all Confucius Institutes in the United States” due to their “concerns over the present state of academic freedom” and “the continued exploitation of liberal, democratic academic institutions by authoritarians.”
  • These institutes can threaten universities by withholding funding in order to achieve their objectives, such as regulating speech the Chinese government opposes. Universities forced to choose between losing funding or upholding free speech are often tempted to yield to an institution funded by a foreign government over the interests of free speech. This allows foreign governments like China’s Communist Party to exert influence (such as prohibiting the Dalai Lama from speaking on a campus) and even apply Chinese Communist laws on U.S. soil.

“Severe tornadoes ripped through several facilities on Louisiana Tech’s campus last year, and this FEMA grant will help make necessary repairs on behalf of students.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $9,847,869 FEMA grant to support tornado-related repairs to J.C. Love Field at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

“Severe tornadoes ripped through several facilities on Louisiana Tech’s campus last year, and this FEMA grant will help make necessary repairs on behalf of students,” said Kennedy.

On June 3, 2019, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration as a result of severe tornado damage in northern Louisiana. This funding is provided under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Act.

“The existing cap arbitrarily siphons money away from conservation in oil-producing states. This cap isn’t smart, sustainable or fair. The commonsense solution here is eliminating the cap on oil revenues for Gulf states.”

WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), has introduced the Offshore Cap Parity Act to eliminate the arbitrary, misguided cap on the amount of revenue Gulf states can receive from oil and gas drilling off their coasts.

The states direct much of this revenue to coastal conservation and restoration efforts. Currently, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) limits the dollar amount of revenue that Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama can collectively receive to $375 million per year, though total revenues for the Gulf topped $5 billion in 2019.

“Louisianians have tirelessly supported America’s path to energy independence, and we depend on GOMESA funds to conserve and restore our storm-battered coastline.

“The existing cap arbitrarily siphons money away from conservation in oil-producing states. This cap isn’t smart, sustainable or fair. The commonsense solution here is eliminating the cap on oil revenues for Gulf states,” said Kennedy.

Text of the Offshore Cap Parity Act is available here.

Background:

Under GOMESA, federal revenues from the offshore energy production of Gulf states are divided into three portions. The federal government returns 37.5 percent of this revenue to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. The Land and Water Conservation Fund receives 12.5 percent of offshore revenue and directs most of that money to landlocked states. The final 50 percent of Gulf oil and gas revenue goes to the U.S. Treasury.

The GOMESA cap limits the dollar value of Gulf states’ 37.5 percent revenue share to $375 million, meaning the states receive no benefit when the energy sector peaks and revenues surpass the cap. Conversely, the Mineral Leasing Act ensures that states with onshore drilling operations receive 50 percent of their revenues, while there is no cap on how much money that share includes.

States with onshore energy production typically aren’t required to spend that money on environmental priorities. Louisiana constitutionally dedicates revenues from offshore energy production to pay for its coastal conservation and restoration projects.