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“The manufacturing industry plays a critical role in both state and national economies, and 3D printing will help take it to the next level. This funding will help educate university students and better equip Louisiana’s workforce.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,334,588 in funding from the National Science Foundation to the Louisiana Materials Design Alliance (LAMDA) to promote 3D printing research and education programs in multiple universities within the state. These institutions include Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University, Southern University and A&M College, Tulane University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“The manufacturing industry plays a critical role in both state and national economies, and 3D printing will help take it to the next level. This funding will help educate university students and better equip Louisiana’s workforce,” said Kennedy.

This funding will support LAMDA’s education products, including new courses and industry-supported technology. LAMDA will help grow the Louisiana science, technology, engineering and math workforce by providing research experience, course module development and professional development for undergraduate and graduate students, the hiring and mentoring of new faculty and training for community college educators.

Additional information about this funding is available here.

“Last year, the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway devastated Louisiana’s seafood and fishing industries, and I appreciate any assistance that helps restore our fisheries. There’s more to be done, though.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $58,343,185 in funding from the Department of Commerce to assist Louisiana fisheries impacted by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in 2019.

“Last year, the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway devastated Louisiana’s seafood and fishing industries, and I appreciate any assistance that helps restore our fisheries. There’s more to be done, though,” said Kennedy.

This funding is authorized by Congress through the 2019 Consolidated and Supplemental Appropriations Act. These resources could help commercial and recreational fishermen, charter businesses, processors, shore-side infrastructure, subsistence users and fishing ecosystems. 

Kennedy continues to fight for direct payments to fishermen as the Louisiana industry struggles to recover.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement in response to reports that Intelsat has filed for bankruptcy, which would put its pending agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on hold.

“Intelsat’s decision to file for bankruptcy reveals what many suspected all along: Intelsat had no intention of accepting the FCC’s deal. The FCC should withdraw its offer, take control of America’s spectrum and save taxpayers billions of dollars instead of shelling out that money to foreign companies,” said Kennedy.

“The American people are strong and smart. They want to go back to work, and this funding for expanded testing will help men and women return to their jobs safely.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $190,781,430 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Disease Control, to expand coronavirus testing in Louisiana.

“The American people are strong and smart. They want to go back to work, and this funding for expanded testing will help men and women return to their jobs safely,” said Kennedy.

This HHS funding is part of $11 billion authorized to support coronavirus testing needs under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. These resources will help expand testing in states, localities, territories and tribes.

 

“I thought our meeting today was very positive as we discussed how we could give state and local governments crucial flexibility to help their communities using money they already have. . . . It’s clear that the president has a deep confidence in the innovation and resilience of the American people, and so do I.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today met with President Donald Trump and Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to discuss Kennedy’s legislation, the Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility for State and Local Government Act.

Kennedy requested the meeting to discuss the bill, which would give state and local governments more flexibility as they use funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany also attended the meeting.

“President Trump continues to engage Congress as we look for ways to reopen this economy safely and soon. I certainly can’t speak for the White House, but I thought our meeting today was very positive as we discussed how we could give state and local governments crucial flexibility to help their communities using money they already have,” said Kennedy after the meeting.

“It’s clear that the president has a deep confidence in the innovation and resilience of the American people, and so do I.”

The Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility for State and Local Government Act would allow states and local governments to use CARES Act funding for operating expenses unrelated to the coronavirus. This bill does not allow officials to spend this CARES Act money on shoring up their pension funds.

The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which has provided payments to state, local and tribal governments to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Every state received at least $1.25 billion from this allocation.

Currently, state relief funds expire on Dec. 30, 2020. States are required to send unused funds back to the U.S. Treasury. This legislation would allow state and local governments to continue using these funds until they are expended.

“It’s critical that we expand testing so that the American economy can reopen safely. . . . The better our testing, the more success we’ll have saving lives and jobs.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $10,460,799 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration, to expand coronavirus testing in 36 health centers around Louisiana.

“It’s critical that we expand testing so that the American economy can reopen safely. This funding will allow health centers to identify, treat and isolate those with the virus and help slow its spread. The better our testing, the more success we’ll have saving lives and jobs,” said Kennedy.

This funding is provided under the authority of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. These resources will help support coronavirus testing and testing-related resources, such as personal protective equipment, training for people involved in testing, laboratory services, expanding walk-up or drive-up testing capabilities and other mitigation activities.

Additional information about this HHS funding is available here.

 

Bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers press Treasury, IRS and Social Security Administration to protect taxpayer dollars by stopping improper payments to dead people

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Reps. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) and Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) in leading a group of lawmakers who are raising concerns regarding recent reports that deceased individuals are receiving COVID-19-related economic impact payments as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

In a letter sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig and Social Security Administration (SSA) Commissioner Andrew Saul, the bipartisan, bicameral group asked each agency to take immediate action to prevent further improper CARES Act payments.

“While it is essential that our constituents receive stimulus payments quickly, these improper payments to deceased individuals represent significant government waste and a burden to constituents who mistakenly receive the payments,” the lawmakers wrote.

Specifically, the lawmakers asked how many improper economic impact payments have been disbursed and asked for information on the steps that are being taken to recover these funds, prevent future improper payments of funds to deceased individuals and protect and support taxpayers who received improper payments through no fault of their own.

This letter builds on the work that Kennedy and Carper have done to curb improper payments to the deceased. Last year, they introduced legislation, the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, that would help save millions of federal dollars by curbing erroneous payments to deceased individuals.

In their letter, the lawmakers noted, “Unfortunately, this is not a new issue. . . . According to an Office of Personnel Management Inspector General report, agencies made a total of $601 million in improper payments from 2006 to 2010 to federal retirees later found to have already died. In total, the Administration in its most recent budget request estimates that payments to deceased individuals cost taxpayers over $800 million per year.”

The SSA maintains the most complete federal database of individuals who are reported to have died. However, only a small number of federal agencies have access to this official list, and most federal agencies rely on a slimmed down, incomplete, and less timely version of the death information. In addition, most Inspectors General lack access to the complete death information. As a result, many federal agencies make erroneous payments to people who are actually deceased.

In addition to Kennedy, Carper, Gianforte and Bustos, the letter was signed by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Reps. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and Gil Cisernos (D-Calif.).

Text of the letter is below and available here.

“In order to ensure that these funds are used most effectively in supporting U.S. economic growth and a continuity of service—especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—I urge the FCC to institute a ‘Buy American’ request to all satellite operators.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that the FCC use C-band auction funds to purchase satellites from U.S. manufacturers to support American workers and families.

“The deployment of nationwide 5G networks and services is believed to be vital to American technological and economic leadership. I am writing you today as I strongly believe that funds raised from this U.S. government-led auction should advantage the American manufacturing base and support job growth here in the United States,” wrote Kennedy.

“Given that U.S. taxpayers are effectively footing the bill for these assets—assets that are already owned by the taxpayer—it makes good sense to require an investment in the American industrial base. In order to ensure that these funds are used most effectively in supporting U.S. economic growth and a continuity of service—especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—I urge the FCC to institute a ‘Buy American’ request to all satellite operators,” he continued.

Foreign satellite operators, which have been using American airwaves at no cost, originally promised to purchase satellites from American manufacturers as they transitioned to using a different part of the spectrum. However, these foreign operators are now planning to invest in launch vehicles, ground equipment and satellites produced by foreign manufacturers, meaning that American taxpayers are being forced to invest in foreign producers.

“It looks like foreign satellite operators are taking the first chance they’ve gotten to break their promises. They pledged to purchase satellites from U.S. manufacturers, but now they’re planning to shop overseas, at great expense to American taxpayers. This isn’t a done deal, though, and I encourage these foreign satellite firms to rethink their plans,” said Kennedy.

The American aerospace industry typically contributes hundreds of billions of dollars to U.S. gross domestic product each year and supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

The full letter is available here.

“While it’s not the federal government’s job to bail out local and state officials who spent recklessly, giving those governments the flexibility to do maximum good for their communities—with money they already have—is a no-brainer.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility for State and Local Government Act to give state and local governments more flexibility as they use funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Local and state governments are struggling to serve their people in the face of an incredible health crisis. Louisianians know all about weathering hard providences. While it’s not the federal government’s job to bail out local and state officials who spent recklessly, giving those governments the flexibility to do maximum good for their communities—with money they already have—is a no-brainer. This bill gives state and local leaders the chance to regain their fiscal footing without putting American taxpayers on the hook for even more spending,” said Kennedy.

The Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility for State and Local Government Act would allow states and local governments to use CARES Act funding for operating expenses unrelated to the coronavirus. This bill does not allow officials to spend this CARES Act money on shoring up their pension funds.

The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which has provided payments to state, local and tribal governments to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Every state received at least $1.25 billion from this allocation.

Currently, state relief funds expire on Dec. 30, 2020. States are required to send unused funds back to the U.S. Treasury. This legislation would allow state and local governments to continue using these funds until they are expended.

The bill text is available here.

 

“The Federal Reserve’s decision to make relief more available to the companies and workers who drive America’s energy independence comes in the nick of time. There’s still more we should do to preserve the industry and its jobs, and I hope the administration takes additional positive steps in the coming days.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) praised the Federal Reserve’s decision to make its Main Street Lending Program more accessible to firms employing oil and gas workers.

“Louisiana has been hemorrhaging jobs because of the devastating toll the pandemic and price war have taken on the oil and gas industry. The Federal Reserve’s decision to make relief more available to the companies and workers who drive America’s energy independence comes in the nick of time. There’s still more we should do to preserve the industry and its jobs, and I hope the administration takes additional positive steps in the coming days,” said Kennedy.