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“Expanding testing helps people in Baton Rouge return to their jobs while keeping communities safe. I’m grateful HHS is providing additional support for communities hit hardest by this virus.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will support increased free coronavirus testing in Baton Rouge, La.

“Expanding testing helps people in Baton Rouge return to their jobs while keeping communities safe. I’m grateful HHS is providing additional support for communities hit hardest by this virus,” said Kennedy.

HHS will increase testing in communities experiencing a recent and excessive number of new cases and hospitalizations related to the coronavirus outbreak. Beginning on Tuesday, July 7, HHS will help perform 5,000 free tests a day in Baton Rouge through Saturday, July 18.

According to HHS, testing locations in Baton Rouge include:

 

Louisiana State University

Alex Box Stadium parking lot

Gourrier Avenue

Baton Rouge, LA 70820

 

Southern University

FG Clark parking lot

801 Harding Blvd

Baton Rouge, LA 70807

 

Cortana Mall

9701 Cortana Pl.

Baton Rouge, LA 70815

 

Fairgrounds at BREC’s Airline Highway Park

17200 Airline Hwy

Baton Rouge, LA 70118

“The Paycheck Protection Program helped countless small businesses keep their doors open and their workers on payroll. . . . I’m glad to work with Sen. King on getting those businesses another tool to help them focus on their core business instead of worrying about bureaucratic landmines.”

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced the Calculate PPP Forgiveness Act of 2020, which directs the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop a free calculator for businesses seeking to estimate their loan forgiveness amount through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill directs the SBA to coordinate the development of the calculator, providing additional support for small businesses that are navigating a complex web of challenges.

“The Paycheck Protection Program helped countless small businesses keep their doors open and their workers on payroll,” said Kennedy. “Now, they need support to navigate the loan forgiveness process so they can continue helping our economy recover. I’m glad to work with Sen. King on getting those businesses another tool to help them focus on their core business instead of worrying about bureaucratic landmines.”

“Each day of the coronavirus crisis, businesses are facing a million different challenges – making payroll, covering rent and utilities, maintaining the health of their employees and customers, on and on. By providing a free calculator of PPP loan forgiveness, we give them a little more clarity when it comes to planning their expenses,” said King. “This bill will provide peace of mind to businesses who’ve utilized the PPP to stay afloat, and will help them avoid harmful financial surprises. This is an important step to making sure the local businesses we love are able to weather this storm and keep playing vital roles in our communities.”

The Calculate PPP Loan Forgiveness Act would require the Administrator of the SBA, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, to establish a free, publicly accessible online calculator and/or certify free, accurate and publicly accessible third-party calculators in order to provide certainty and assistance to lenders and small businesses as they fill out PPP loan forgiveness forms.

As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, a member of the Senate Banking Committee and the chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Appropriations, Kennedy worked closely with the U.S. Treasury and SBA on implementing the PPP. Kennedy called for additional PPP funding after the program initially ran out of funds in April. At the Small Business Committee hearing on June 10, Kennedy pressed SBA Administrator Carranza and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to provide certainty and clarity about the PPP forgiveness process. On June 12, Kennedy asked the Treasury and SBA to simplify the PPP loan forgiveness application. When it was reported that dozens of Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country applied for and received about $80 million in PPP loans, while knowing they were ineligible to apply, Kennedy asked the Justice Department to investigate the misuse of funds set aside for small businesses and their employees.

King has pushed to make sure federal funds are being directed to the sectors of our society that need them most as quickly and efficiently as possible – earlier this month, his legislation extending the length of time businesses could use funds and allowing businesses to use more of their loans on non-payroll expenses passed the Senate unanimously and was signed into law. In addition to his leadership in reforming the PPP’s timeline and providing increased flexibility for business owners, King has pushed to ease paperwork requirements for small businesses seeking loan forgiveness under the PPP. He has also urged the SBA to provide clear, concise and accurate guidance on eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and to readjust regulatory requirements so that seasonal employers can access the full amount of the PPP loans for which they qualify. He has cosponsored legislation that would repeal a massive tax break for a small group of wealthy taxpayers that was included in the CARES Act. Since the coronavirus crisis began, he has remained in regular contact with Maine business leaders, including tele-conferences with the Maine State Chamber of CommercePortland Buy LocalPenobscot Bay Regional Chamber of CommerceNew England Council and 500 Maine employees of Sun Life.

 

“Health care professionals around Louisiana took unprecedented steps to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, and this HHS funding will help our hospitals continue to prepare for public health emergencies.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $11,060,438 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to help the Louisiana Department of Health prepare for public health emergencies.

“Health care professionals around Louisiana took unprecedented steps to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic, and this HHS funding will help our hospitals continue to prepare for public health emergencies,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $9,100,321 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Louisiana Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program.
  • $1,960,117 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Louisiana Hospital Preparedness Program.

“Apprenticeships equip workers with skills and experience to excel in today’s workforce, and this funding will give Louisiana workers the chance to build meaningful careers that enrich their communities.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,450,000 in federal grants from the Department of Labor to help the Louisiana Workforce Commission expand its Registered Apprenticeship Program. 

“Apprenticeships equip workers with skills and experience to excel in today’s workforce, and this funding will give Louisiana workers the chance to build meaningful careers that enrich their communities,” said Kennedy.

These grants are administered through a two-tiered funding system that encourages states to improve employer engagement and positive outcomes for their respective Registered Apprenticeship Programs. Louisiana is one of only 12 states receiving funds under the second funding tier.

“Every so often, Washington actually saves taxpayer dollars instead of watching that money circle the bureaucratic drain. Today, the Senate made the commonsense move to pass the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act . . . I hope the House quickly sends this bipartisan solution to the president’s desk.”

WASHINGTON – Today the Senate passed the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, which Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced in May 2019. The bill would save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous government payments to people who are deceased.

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the U.S. Treasury sent more than 1 million coronavirus stimulus payments—worth approximately $1.4 billion—to dead people.

“Every so often, Washington actually saves taxpayer dollars instead of watching that money circle the bureaucratic drain. Today, the Senate made the commonsense move to pass the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, and I’m thankful for Sen. Carper’s leadership in helping our bill cross the finish line. I’m also grateful for the work Finance Committee Chairman Grassley did to save billions in taxpayer money from flowing to ghosts. Americans need those resources to save and improve lives, and I hope the House quickly sends this bipartisan solution to the president’s desk,” said Kennedy.

Background: 

The Social Security Administration (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.

The Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act has several key provisions, including:

  • Allowing federal agencies access to the complete death database. Under current law, only federal agencies that directly manage programs making beneficiary payments have access to complete death data. The bill would allow all appropriate federal agencies to have access to the complete record of death data in order to promote public safety and accuracy in distributing benefits.
  • Requiring agencies to use death data to curb improper payments. The legislation would require federal agencies to use this death data in order to curb improper payments and reduce waste and fraud that occur when agencies send taxpayer money to people who are no longer living.
  • Improving the death data. The legislation would establish procedures to ensure more accurate death data. For example, the bill requires the SSA to screen for “extremely elderly” individuals, as a 2015 Inspector General Report identified 6.5 million people who were listed as living despite the fact that they were all recorded as being more than 112 years old.

This transmission electron microscope will reinforce LSU’s position as a top research institution that attracts leading educators, research scientists and students. The investment will also create economic opportunities for Louisiana through the cutting-edge research this microscope makes possible.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the U.S. Army has awarded Louisiana State University (LSU) a $10 million transmission electron microscope. Kennedy, the only member of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation on an appropriations committee, supported LSU’s proposal for the research partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense.

The new microscope will strengthen LSU’s position as one of the premier microscopic imaging and measurement facilities in the U.S.

If America is going to remain the world’s technological leader, we must increase our focus on the next generation of quantum cybersecurity and other tech fields. Louisiana is doing its part to help the U.S. win the technology race. This transmission electron microscope will reinforce LSU’s position as a top research institution that attracts leading educators, research scientists and students. The investment will also create economic opportunities for Louisiana through the cutting-edge research this microscope makes possible,” said Kennedy.

“With this new instrument, we will be able to image and measure all kinds of natural and engineered materials—from cellular to molecular to subatomic scales—at a level of detail found at very few universities,” said LSU Vice President of Research and Economic Development Samuel J. Bentley. “This will form the basis for frontier research in partnership with the Army and other agencies and universities. It will also be a magnet for the best faculty and students to join our LSU team and push the envelope of human knowledge.”

“We are excited to add such next-level instrumentation to LSU’s Shared Instrumentation Facility,” Cynthia Peterson, dean of the LSU College of Science, added. “The transmission electron microscope will further advance the university’s research enterprise and support emerging technologies and research efforts in materials and manufacturing science.”

 Background:

Transmission electron microscopes are the only instruments that allow researchers to examine physical and chemical properties at levels smaller than the atom. These microscopes are a crucial tool in analyzing materials for biomedical research, micro-electronics research and nano-electronics research, as well as for superconductivity research and for the development and manufacturing of materials. Transmission electron microscopes are also a necessary tool to develop the next generation of quantum information science and technology and quantum cybersecurity.

It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women. . . . We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo.

“Louisianians and Americans understand that every life is valuable, whether it’s 82 years old or 82 seconds old. It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women.

“States should be able to put basic health and safety laws in place to safeguard people from the deficient care that abortion clinics too often offer them. We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.

“I have always been proud of Louisianians’ steadfast commitment to protecting life. Unborn babies are the most innocent and defenseless people in our communities, and I’ll keep fighting for the life and health of every person, including vulnerable women and children.” 

This January, Kennedy introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act to ensure women have access to immediate medical care nationwide. The bill would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 15 miles of the medical office where the abortion occurs. The legislation would also require abortion providers to inform patients of where they can receive follow-up care for any complications arising from abortion procedures.

“This funding will help Monroe support key public transit services as it recovers from the coronavirus outbreak.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4.8 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration to fund transit operating assistance, maintenance and equipment purchased for the city of Monroe, La. during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This funding will help Monroe support key public transit services as it recovers from the coronavirus outbreak,” said Kennedy.

This funding is provided under the authority of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The project is fully supported by federal funds with no local match required.

“Through Louisiana’s Department of Health and Tulane University, this HHS funding will help promote the good health of children and seniors in our state.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,565,847 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to help support multiple health care projects in Louisiana.

“Through Louisiana’s Department of Health and Tulane University, this HHS funding will help promote the good health of children and seniors in our state,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $3,822,883 to the Louisiana Department of Health for immunization projects and vaccines for children.

  • $1,363,080 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program.

  • $379,884 to Tulane University for its predictive modeling of how the coronavirus progresses in older patients.

The rising ‘cancel culture’ movement is fundamentally coercive. . . . Given the present danger the mob poses to individual Americans, common sense, and common decency, I call upon you to vigorously prosecute all those who have appropriated the banner of peaceful protest to carry out violent illegal acts.”

 WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking the Department of Justice to prosecute individuals who deface or dismantle public monuments or statues to the fullest extent of the law.

The rising ‘cancel culture’ movement is fundamentally coercive. . . . Given the present danger the mob poses to individual Americans, common sense, and common decency, I call upon you to vigorously prosecute all those who have appropriated the banner of peaceful protest to carry out violent illegal acts,” wrote Kennedy.

Citing President James Madison’s warning against the destructive nature of mob rule, Kennedy continued, That is precisely why America’s system of government is wedded to various checks and balances and a broad division of power: so the impassioned few cannot override the reasonable majority. This is also why any justice system worth its salt has consequences for criminal actions.”

“If you feel these and other laws already in existence do not provide adequate legal authority to bring justice to these criminals and their victims, I would be glad to introduce legislation to solve that problem. If we care about America’s next generation, we cannot let violent criminal actions go unpunished. What we allow today is what will continue tomorrow,” Kennedy concluded.

The text of the letter is available here.