WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in introducing the WALL Act, legislation that will fully fund the border wall along the southern border. Their legislation is the first bill that will fund the wall by identifying specific funding sources.
We can certainly afford the construction,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This legislation will save taxpayers $33 billion simply by ensuring that the taxpayers’ generosity isn’t wasted. If you want to receive food stamps and other benefits, then you should prove your citizenship. If you cross the border illegally or overstay your visit to this country, then you should pay a stiff penalty.”
“President Trump has called for a border wall and I agree,” said Sen. Inhofe. “As a former builder and developer in south Texas, I know border security is national security and we need to do more to deter the growing numbers of unauthorized immigrants coming across our borders. That’s why I’ve outlined specific ways to fund the border wall by assessing penalties on illegal immigration and closing loopholes that allow unauthorized immigrants to receive federal benefits. We’re going to build the wall through reforms that that protect the integrity of hardworking American citizens’ tax dollars. It’s that simple.”
“The primary responsibility of the federal government is the defense of our nation, which includes strong border security,” said Sen. Rounds. “The WALL Act will provide full funding for construction of a physical barrier along our southern border to protect against illegal immigration and stop those who wish to do us harm, such as terrorists, gang members and drug dealers, from entering the United States from the south. It pays for the wall by closing existing loopholes that allow illegal immigrants to receive federal benefits and increasing fines for illegal border crossings and visa overstays. By funding the wall through increased fines, we prevent any risk of dipping into Department of Defense (DoD) funding, which is already stretched thin. I thank Chairman Inhofe for his leadership on this effort and I look forward to advancing this proposal in the Senate.”
“I have long called for building a wall as a necessary step in defending our border and stopping the flow of illegal immigration into our country,” said Sen. Cruz. “The overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans want to see the border secured. The WALL Act would fully fund the border wall by closing existing loopholes that provide illegal immigrants with federal benefits and tax credits, without affecting the benefits and tax credits used by Americans.”
This legislation will fully fund the president’s $25 billion border wall while providing specific ways to pay for it:
- Require a work-authorized Social Security Number (SSN) to claim refundable tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit:
- Currently only the child needs a SSN, not the parent benefiting from the refundable child tax credit. The WALL Act would require the parent to have a valid work-eligible Social Security Number.
- Before 2003, the Social Security Agency did not distinguish between work-eligible and non-work eligible SSNs. Therefore, there are individuals benefiting from the EITC they are not authorized to receive because they are non-work eligible.
- Require welfare applicants (food stamps, TANF, HUD, etc) to verify citizenship:
- Currently someone only needs to “declare” citizenship and provide a SSN to receive some of these benefits.
- The WALL Act enhances citizenship verification prior to granting benefits using E-verify and require a work-authorized SSN for eligibility.
- Increasing the minimum fines on illegal border crossers and establishes minimum penalty for visa overstays.
U.S. Senate Passes Bipartisan Kennedy-Duckworth-Durbin Legislation to Support Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
Dec 07 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) bipartisan Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, S. 2679. The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act aims to help veteran entrepreneurs cut costs and enhance their economic opportunity by giving them access to surplus federal property.
The federal surplus property program allows certain non-government organizations to acquire equipment and property that the federal government no longer needs. This legislation adds veterans to the program’s list of eligible recipients, which already includes minority-owned and women-owned small businesses. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP) and the American Legion support this legislation.
“All veterans deserve our utmost respect and support after they return home,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Adjusting back to civilian life can be challenging, and as policy makers, we should try to make the transition as seamless and painless as possible. As Americans, we should support and encourage those veterans who decide to start their own small businesses. This legislation will hopefully give veteran entrepreneurs some well-deserved support. The federal surplus property program is already established, so it’s just common sense that we should allow veterans to qualify for the program. I’m happy to see that my Senate colleagues feel the same.”
“When our Veterans return home from their service, they deserve our full support as they transition back into civilian life, and that includes supporting their efforts to build and manage a small business,” said Sen. Duckworth. “Our nation should be doing much more to help our Veterans and I’m pleased the Senate unanimously passed our bipartisan bill to help Veterans expand their business operations, reduce costs, and create jobs across Illinois and around the country. I’ll be working with Senators Kennedy and Durbin, as well as other members on both sides of the aisle, to send this legislation to the President’s desk.”
“Last month we honored the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans, and part of that commemoration is committing to help America’s warriors when they return from battle and transition to civilian life. Countless veterans are entrepreneurs and small business owners making contributions to their communities, but many struggle with the costs of starting a new business idea,” said Sen. Durbin. “With passage of the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, veterans can now use GAO’s federal property surplus program, which can help veterans save costs as they open new businesses and store fronts. This is a commonsense and bipartisan bill, and I was proud to join Senators Duckworth and Kennedy to help pass it in the Senate.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today thanked the Rev. Tommy Middleton, director of the Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge, for opening the U.S. Senate in prayer. The Rev. Middleton was the pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge for nearly 25 years, and he was instrumental in organizing church relief efforts after the 2016 floods.
“Dr. Middleton has been a pillar in the greater Baton Rouge community for years, and it was an honor to have him open the U.S. Senate in prayer, this morning,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Dr. Middleton has dedicated his career to equipping local churches to prioritize evangelism and missions, and his prayer was a reminder of the great responsibility we have as lawmakers to guard the religious freedoms that allow that work to even take place. He encouraged us all to act with compassion, encouragement and discernment while walking in Christ-like humility. I thank him for taking time from his duties in Louisiana to lead us in Washington, D.C.”
Click here or the picture below to watch the Rev. Middleton’s full prayer.
Dec 06 2018
Sen. Kennedy: ‘It would be downright stupid to shut down the government’
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted today in favor of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through Dec. 21. This continuing resolution is a temporary measure that prevents a partial government shutdown and allows Congress more time to negotiate long-term appropriations legislation.
As part of the continuing resolution, the NFIP will remain authorized for two weeks, which will give the U.S. House of Representatives more time to vote on Sen. Kennedy’s six-month reauthorization legislation, S.3628. Sen. Kennedy’s six-month NFIP reauthorization legislation passed in the Senate last week.
“It would be downright stupid to shut down the government,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I’m willing to work all day, all night and weekends to ensure that the government is fully funded and that families in Louisiana can receive flood insurance. We have several federal departments and agencies that still need funding, and we need to be smart about the appropriations process. I think these two weeks will give us time to settle on fair and effective legislation to keep the lights on.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Announces $25 Million To Widen Interstate 12 Along With a $16.4 million BUILD grant for Port Fourchon
Dec 06 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that Louisiana will receive $41 million in Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants for the widening of Interstate 12 in St. Tammany Parish and for roadwork connected to Port Fourchon. The Appropriations Committee funds the BUILD grants, and Sen. Kennedy has been working with Transporatation Secretary Elaine Chao to secure the funding through the appropriations committee. Secretary Chao phoned Sen. Kennedy early this morning to announce the funding.
Sen. Kennedy wrote Secretary Chao in July 2018 about unsafe conditions and bottlenecks along a 3.8-mile segment of Interstate 12 in St. Tammany Parish. Four people died in traffic accidents on the stretch of roadway over Memorial Day weekend this year.
The funding for Port Fourchon also is vital to reducing traffic accidents. A new connector road and lift span bridge will be built to divert traffic from a rural road to a four-lane divided highway.
“The widening of Interstate 12 is critical to public safety. After the Memorial Day weekend fatalities, I started working with state and local leaders to convince Secretary Chao that this funding was necessary to save lives. I want to thank St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister and state Sen. Jack Donahue for working tirelessly with me on this project,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I’m also pleased that we received funding for infrastructure related to Port Fourchon, which plays a vital role in our oil and gas industry and energy economy. Port Commission Executive Director Chett Chiasson’s leadership and hard work on this BUILD grant will do enormous good in our efforts to continue growing our port.”
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announces over $63 million in loans and grants from USDA Rural Development for Louisiana communities
Dec 06 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development awarded 14 grants and loans to Louisiana communities. The awards include $20 million in grants to support water and environmental programs in Louisiana.
“These grants and loans are investments into communities across Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Mostly aimed at water programs, these investments help revitalize and protect our small towns that contribute to our economy and the character of the state.”
- Ascension Parish received a $7,861,000 grant and a $9,678,000 loan.
- The Town of Gibsland received a $1,991,000 grant and a $2,529,000 loan.
- East Columbia Water District received a $150,000 grant and a $3,129,000 loan.
- West Grant Water Association received a $337,000 loan.
- Village of North Hodge received a $114,000 grant and a $141,000 loan.
- Town of Coushatta received a $4,174,000 loan.
- Randolph Water Systems Inc. received a $8,000 grant and a $142,000 loan.
- Hudson Gaars Mill Water System Inc. received a $826,000 grant and $976,000 loan.
- Town of Haughton received a $2,971,000 grant and a $6,849,000 loan.
- Black Water Inc. received a $495,000 grant and a $3,205,000 loan.
- Village of Hodge received a $543,000 grant and $1,543,000 loan.
- Belah-Fellowship Water System Inc. received a $4,068,000 loan.
- Town of Melville received a $3,224,000 grant and $1,166,000 loan.
- Consolidated Waterworks #13 of West Feliciana received a $1,907,000 grant and a $5,825,000 loan.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Speaks on the Senate Floor about the Life and Legacy of Former President George H. W. Bush
Dec 05 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor today in honor of former President George H. W. Bush.
“People don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Sen. Kennedy. “President George Herbert Walker Bush knew a lot, but he cared a lot too. America weeps both in joy for his life and in sadness because his soul is in a better place but not with us. America and the world have lost a favorite son.”
Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full floor speech.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the inclusion of a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) extension in the stopgap government funding bill:
“We are working to keep the National Flood Insurance Program funded and government going for another two weeks while the nation mourns President George H. W. Bush,” said Sen. John Kennedy. “I know that we can put longer-term solutions in place. I’m ready to work through Christmas to get it done.”
Dec 03 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today:
“Last month, three of my Senate colleagues, two of my House colleagues, and I met in Beijing with Premier Li Keqiang, the second ranking Chinese government official, and others to discuss several issues. The State Department asked us in particular to lobby China to stop Chinese citizens from exporting synthetic fentanyl and the ingredients to make it to Mexico, from which fentanyl enters the United States. We hammered hard. This weekend, President Xi Jinping, meeting with President Trump, announced that China would designate fentanyl a “controlled substance” subject to the maximum penalty under Chinese law. Fentanyl killed more Americans last year than we lost during the entirety of the Vietnam War. Much of it came to the United States from China. The credit for this breakthrough goes to Presidents Trump and Xi, but it sure made me feel like our trip to Beijing was worthwhile.
I love being in the United States Senate. I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2019. I will, however, continue to work hard every day in D.C. and Louisiana for jobs, economic growth, cheaper health insurance, a stronger military, and an end to government waste. I am fortunate to sit on powerful Senate committees that provide a venue to do that. It is such an honor to represent the people of Louisiana in the United States Senate. Right now, that’s where I think I can do the most good.
I hope someone runs for Governor who understands that Louisiana state government does not have to be a big, slow, dumb, wasteful, sometimes corrupt, spend-money-like-it-was-ditchwater, anti-taxpayer, top down institution. I love Louisiana as much as I love my country, and the people of my state deserve a state government as good as they are.
Thank you to the many people who offered me advice about my decision. I listened carefully. You taught me a lot.
Finally, I want to thank the many constituents who encouraged me to run. Your support humbles me. It is my honor to serve you in the United States Senate. You, and your families, are the reason I get up to do this job each and every day.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announces a $400,000 grant for the Amite River Costal Wetlands Restoration Project
Dec 01 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Office of Gulf Restoration in the Department of the Treasury awarded a $400,000 grant to Livingston Parish for a shoreline restoration project.
The Amite River Costal Wetlands Restoration Project will help rebuild 10 acres of forested coastal wetlands and shoreline habitats that have been lost due to erosion at the meeting point of the Amite Rive and Lake Maurepas in Livingston Parish.
“Funds from this grant will begin the planning stages—surveying, permitting, designing and engineering—of the Amite River Costal Wetlands Restoration Project,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Repairing the shoreline after years of erosion will help preserve Louisiana’s natural wildlife and resources as well as the beauty of the Amite River.”