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View Kennedy’s full remarks here

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today looked back on another year shared with Louisianians and sent a special Christmas message to everyone in the state.

“God has blessed me in so many ways, but getting to call Louisiana ‘home’ is one of the blessings I love most,” said Kennedy, alongside Alphonse the alligator, who is also a native Louisianian.

“There is no question that no state can outmatch Louisiana during the holidays. None. Zero. Nada. Our people are merrier, our meals are tastier, our music is more joyful, and no one knows—no one—how to have more fun with the ones they love than the good people of Louisiana. Even when times are tough—and I know they’re tough right now for many Louisiana families—Louisianians always find a way to pull together and give thanks for the blessings in their lives,” he continued.

“Our people make everything good about Louisiana better.”

“So, I, along with my wife, Becky, my son, Preston, and our two beloved dogs, Lily Grace and Charlie, want to wish you and your family peace and hope and joy during this Christmas season,” said Kennedy.

“God bless you all, and Merry Christmas—from both me and Alphonse!”

 Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, penned this op-ed in The Hill calling for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Martin Gruenberg to resign. Kennedy details the widespread allegations of sexual harassment at the FDIC, and he argues that Gruenberg must resign to allow a new leader to restore professionalism at the agency.

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s op-ed include:

“Reports of the conduct at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) read like a screenplay for ‘Animal House,’ the 1980s John Belushi movie about campus debauchery at the fictional Faber College. ‘Animal House’ is funny as hell. What’s not funny is finding out that some of the same behavior—and worse—may have been happening for years at one of the agencies charged with supervising America’s banking system.

“According to employees who spoke with the Wall Street Journal, the FDIC functioned as a real-life Faber College where excessive drinking, public urination and sexual harassment were common but professional consequences for this bad behavior were rare. Employees described booze-filled training conferences where trainees regularly ‘puked off the roof’ or drank so much they wound up in the hospital. (There’s no evidence of FDIC toga parties—yet.)”

 . . .

 “Since joining the FDIC’s board in 2005, Chairman Martin Gruenberg has had a front-row seat to it all. He was chair or acting chair of the FDIC for nine of the past 18 years while his agency apparently tolerated a culture of debauchery and harassment. Gruenberg either knew about the abuse women faced at the FDIC and failed to address it or was negligently blind to it.

 “Either way, Gruenberg should resign.”

. . . 

If Gruenberg wants to show his employees and the American people—for the first time in his nearly two decades of leadership—that he is doing something to end abuse, he should resign and allow a real leader to restore professionalism to the FDIC. Right now, it's #MeToo—except for the connected at the FDIC.”

Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here.

Read Kennedy’s letter to Chair Gruenberg here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate has passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) initiative to establish a Special Inspector General (IG) for Ukraine as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

The Special IG would oversee the humanitarian, economic and security assistance funding that the U.S. Congress has provided to the country and would make sure that the funds are appropriately spent so that American taxpayers can be confident that their tax dollars do not end up in the wrong hands.  

“While Americans have supported Ukraine’s work to beat back Russia, our aid is not an act of charity. It’s bolstering our own national security, and American taxpayers deserve to know that our resources are helping Ukraine defeat Putin effectively. The Senate voted to guarantee that oversight by establishing an inspector general to ensure that this aid makes our homeland safer,” said Kennedy.

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) cosponsored the original legislation.

Kennedy’s initiative authorizes $8 million to carry out the important duties of this Special IG for Ukraine.

In order to prevent an indefinite expanse of the federal bureaucracy, the provision also includes a termination clause that would end the Special IG role once U.S. taxpayer spending for Ukraine drops below $100 million per year. 

Kennedy’s op-ed calling for a special inspector general for Ukraine aid is here.

The NDAA conference report is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in introducing the Close the Shadow Banking Loophole Act to close loopholes that would allow commercial companies to offer banking services without oversight from the Federal Reserve.   

“American consumers deserve confidence that our financial system is stable and accountable to protect consumers. Allowing companies to run their own big full-service banks without effective oversight puts individual Americans and the U.S. financial system at risk. I’m working to close the shadow banking loopholes that have left consumers vulnerable,” said Kennedy.

“Letting Big Tech and commercial companies operate banks without proper oversight will only open doors for predatory lending, invasions of consumer privacy, and broader financial instability. To protect consumers’ pocketbooks and ensure a strong banking system for Main Street, we need to ensure all banking institutions play by the same rules,” said Brown.

The Close the Shadow Banking Loophole Act would:

  • Require a company that owns or controls an industrial loan company (ILC) to be subject to the same consolidated supervision by the Federal Reserve as any other bank holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act.
  • Provide a carve-out for existing ILCs and allow the FDIC time to consider pending ILC applications.
  • Prohibit the federal banking agencies from approving a change in control of an existing ILC unless its acquirer is subject to consolidated supervision by the Federal Reserve.

ILCs were established as small loan companies in 1910 to lend money to industrial workers. Over time, ILC powers have expanded, and non-bank companies can offer financial services without the same regulations and oversight as traditional banks. 

This loophole prevents federal regulators from examining the non-bank commercial holding company to determine the risks its non-bank operations pose to both the stability of the ILC and the financial system.

Non-bank commercial companies that seek to operate like banks through an ILC raise systemic financial stability, competition and consumer protection concerns. This bill would protect consumers and ensure the safety and soundness of the financial system by closing the ILC loophole. 

The full bill text is available here

 

 

 

View Kennedy’s full remarks here

WASHINGTON – Democrats today blocked Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) legislation to bolster Louisiana’s shrimp, red snapper and seafood industry and protect American consumers from illegal imports.

Kennedy’s bill would increase funding to the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) by $36 million using unobligated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funds. The funding would allow the SIMP to conduct audits on seafood under its purview to prevent foreign seafood imports that misrepresent themselves from entering U.S. markets.

“Big seafood exporters, such as India and Ecuador, are flooding America’s markets with illegal shrimp and selling it for cheaper than quality Gulf shrimp caught right here at home. In order to serve American consumers and protect jobs, the U.S. must conduct better inspections on imports—and that is what my bill would help do,” said Kennedy.

Shrimp consumption in the U.S is on the rise, more than doubling from 2.3 pounds per person in 1990 to 5.9 pounds per person in 2021. However, domestic shrimp profits have decreased in recent years, particularly for shrimp sourced in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic regions. Illegal imports are to blame.

Background: 

  • According to the FDA, approximately 94% of seafood sold in the U.S. is imported, and only a small amount is inspected.
  • SIMP establishes reporting requirements for imports of certain seafood species, including shrimp, to combat illegal and unregulated seafood from entering U.S. commerce.
  • The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and Customs and Border Protection conduct random seafood audits under SIMP. However, only 1% of seafood imports under its purview are audited. 
  • More than one-third of the shrimp imports that SIMP audits do not comply with U.S. regulations.

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

Full text of the bill is available here

 

WASHINGTON – The Senate and House have passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) U.S. and Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Kennedy’s legislation would combat Communist China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region by establishing a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). 

“Beijing puts more economic and diplomatic pressure on the Pacific Island states each day, and America is out of time to talk about strategic solutions without implementing them. Congress has voted to take a clear, easy step to counter China’s communist antagonism by establishing a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum,” said Kennedy.

The bipartisan legislation includes 20 cosponsors, including lead co-sponsor Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

The PIF is an international organization of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations.

Communist China recognizes that these nations are strategically located in the Indo-Pacific region and has already established its own special envoy to the PIF. The U.S. took an equivalent diplomatic step by naming its own special envoy in Oct. 2022, but the position was not codified in law. With this bill, the position is now a permanent one that requires the Senate to confirm the special envoy role.

The role will elevate diplomacy in the region and have accountability to Congress. A special envoy would help answer a diversity of threats from the communist regime by deepening trust and increasing dialogue on the Pacific Islands’ economic, cyber security and military concerns.

Kennedy’s op-ed in Defense News is here.

Text of the legislation is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $35,144,139 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida devastated so many parts of south Louisiana. I’m thankful this $35 million will help cover some of the damage these storms did to Louisianians’ utilities, hospitals, schools and playgrounds,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $30,690,495 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative to fund an emergency generator power substation required due to Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,031,388 to the Southwest Louisiana Hospital Association for management costs resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,344,204 to the Terrebonne Parish School Board for the permanent restoration of the Bayou Black Elementary, Broadmoor, Montegut Middle and Montegut Elementary school campuses required as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,078,052 to Jefferson Parish to repair damages to the Rosethorne Playground resulting from Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in introducing a resolution to condemn the antisemitic phrase “from the river to the sea” and its derivations.

The phrase ‘from the river to the sea’ is a call for genocide against Jewish people and to annihilate the state of Israel. The only appropriate response to that threat is to condemn it, and this resolution deserves unanimous support,” said Kennedy. 

In a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray stated that hate crimes and threats against Jewish Americans are increasing. 

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, reports of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. have increased 337%. Six college campuses, including Tulane University, are now under investigation by the U.S. Education Department after a rise in discrimination against Jewish students on campus.

“People who invoke this disgraceful, antisemitic slogan are calling for the mass murder of Jews, whether they know it or not. On October 7, the world saw the genocidal intent of the phrase, ‘From the River to the Sea.’ No one who uses this phrase should escape condemnation,” said Cotton. 

Background:

  • At Tulane University, where approximately 43% of the student population is Jewish, pro-Palestine activists graffitied the slogan “from the river to the sea” on campus. 
  • Demonstrators at Tulane University assaulted three Jewish students, breaking one student’s nose. 
  • Kennedy spoke on the Senate floor about the Israel-Palestine conflict and condemned attacks against Jewish students in Louisiana.

Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Thune (R-N.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) also cosponsored the resolution.

The full text of the resolution is available here

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate with legislative wins for Louisiana and includes two of Kennedy’s bills.  

“This year’s National Defense Authorization Act includes consequential investments for Louisiana and America. The funding will give our service members a much deserved pay raise, strengthen border security and keep China, Russia and Iran in check by bolstering U.S. military readiness,” said Kennedy.

Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act 

The NDAA included the Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act, which would combat Communist China’s aggression in the Pacific Ocean by establishing a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). The PIF is an international organization of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations.

Beijing recognizes that these nations are strategically located in the Indo-Pacific region and has already established a special envoy to the PIF. The U.S only recently appointed its own special envoy after Kennedy filed his original bill last year, but Kennedy’s legislation would make the position permanent and would require Senate confirmation. 

A special envoy would help answer a diversity of threats from the communist regime by deepening trust and increasing dialogue on the Pacific Islands’ economic, cyber security and military concerns.

Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act

The national defense authorization also includes language from Kennedy’s Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act, which would establish a Special Inspector General (IG) for Ukraine.

The Special IG would oversee the humanitarian, economic and security assistance funding that the U.S. Congress has provided to the country and make sure that the funds are appropriately spent.

Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA) 

The NDAA also includes language from the FEPA, which Kennedy co-sponsored. The legislation would criminalize foreign officials’ soliciting bribes from Americans or U.S. businesses.

Under the FEPA Act, penalties for soliciting bribes would include a fine of up to $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe (whichever is greater) and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.  

Military construction priorities for Louisiana

Kennedy helped authorize $155.9 million in wins for Louisiana’s military bases in the NDAA, including:

  • $112 million for a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB). 
  • $13.4 million for an athletic track and field at Fort Johnson.
  • $7 million for a dormitory at Barksdale AFB. 
  • $7 million for the medical facility at Barksdale AFB.
  • $6.4 million for the communications grid at Naval Air Station New Orleans.
  • $3.7 million for a dormitory at Camp Minden.
  • $2.4 million for the dormitory at Camp Beauregard. 
  • $2 million for the National Guard Readiness Center at Camp Beauregard.
  • $2 million for a Child Development Center at Barksdale AFB.

The NDAA also:

  • Provides for a 5.2% pay raise for military service members. 
  • Increases funding to recruit military service members.
  • Supports the modernization of the U.S. nuclear force. 
  • Requires all military personnel action to be based on merit and performance. 
  • Authorizes increased funding for cutting-edge technology to make American weapons more effective and resilient against enemy attacks.
  • Supports requested funding to procure naval vessels, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapon systems and munitions.
  • Improves America’s capabilities for long-term strategic competition with China. 
  • Establishes a comprehensive training, advising and institutional capacity-building program for Taiwan’s military forces to help counter Chinese aggression.
  • Supports U.S. defense activities relating to the security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS, which also helps counter Chinese aggression. 
  • Authorizes increased funding for Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard operations.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today introduced a resolution congratulating Louisiana State University (LSU) quarterback Jayden Daniels on winning the 2023 Heisman Memorial Trophy.

“As all LSU fans have witnessed over and over again, Jayden Daniels earned this Heisman Trophy with talent and grit. Louisianians will celebrate his legacy as a dual-threat quarterback for many years to come. Geaux Tigers!” said Kennedy.

Daniels led the LSU Tigers to several prominent victories during the 2023 regular season, throwing for 3,812 yards and 40 touchdowns and rushing for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is the third Tiger to win the award and the only player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to have surpassed a career 12,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards.

“Historic numbers deserve to be recognized. The committee rightfully bestowed Jayden Daniels with this year’s Heisman Trophy. He will go down in history as one of the best to ever wear the Tiger uniform. A tremendous achievement for a tremendous player. Geaux Tigers!” said Cassidy.

The resolution also recognizes head coach Brian Kelly, offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan, and Daniels’ teammates for their roles in this achievement. It additionally thanks LSU fans and the entire state of Louisiana for their dedication and support.

Read the full resolution here.