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“Louisiana businesses, schools and families have been waiting too long to get their internet back, and it’s time we see real progress. SuddenLink has increased its presence on the ground, but it’s not enough. The people in southwest Louisiana need internet access restored straight away.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, continues to urge SuddenLink to restore internet and cable service in areas impacted by Hurricane Laura.

SuddenLink is owned by Altice, and Kennedy spoke with both Altice Chief Executive Officer Dexter Goei and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai about the lack of service across southwest Louisiana.

“In Louisiana, 40,000 people still haven’t regained internet access, a month after Hurricane Laura battered our state. Louisiana businesses, schools and families have been waiting too long to get their internet back, and it’s time we see real progress. SuddenLink has increased its presence on the ground, but it’s not enough. The people in southwest Louisiana need internet access restored straight away,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy also asked Pai for the FCC’s help in ensuring Louisiana customers regain connectivity quickly, as the FCC exercises oversight over telecommunications companies.

“No one knows better than a Louisianian how to prepare for natural disasters, and this bill will make it easier for our small businesses to prevent loss. Too often, hardworking Americans are forced to weather storms first and federal bureaucracy second. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Rubio and colleagues to pass the PREPARE Act before another category four hurricane batters our state.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in introducing their Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act.

The bill would reauthorize the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Pilot Program to give small businesses the opportunity to take out low-interest loans to proactively implement mitigation measures to protect their property from future disaster-related damage. Additional cosponsors include Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

“No one knows better than a Louisianian how to prepare for natural disasters, and this bill will make it easier for our small businesses to prevent loss. Too often, hardworking Americans are forced to weather storms first and federal bureaucracy second. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Rubio and colleagues to pass the PREPARE Act before another category four hurricane batters our state,” said Kennedy.

“The PREPARE Act would allow small businesses the opportunity to invest in mitigation before a disaster strikes. Investing in disaster mitigation on the front end saves business’, as well as taxpayers’, dollars, while reducing potential risks to property. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would improve the SBA’s previous program and allow businesses to be more prepared and more resilient in the future,” said Rubio.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season has been so active that the National Hurricane Center has already exhausted the list of storm names. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency statistics, approximately 50 percent of small businesses close indefinitely following a disaster, and every $1 spent on mitigation saves taxpayers $6. 

The PREPARE Act:

  • Creates an updated Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program for small businesses to proactively take out a low-interest loan (up to $500,000) in order to implement mitigation measures to protect their property from future disaster-related damage.
  • Authorizes $25 million annually (FY2021 to FY2025).
  • Tasks SBA with establishing and carrying out an advertising and outreach program related to pre-disaster mitigation.
  • Tasks SBA with issuing guidance to ensure borrowers purchase and maintain insurance coverage over the duration of the loan.
  • Requires SBA to conduct initial reporting and a program evaluation annually thereafter.
  • Increases, from 20 to 30 percent, the limit on existing SBA Physical Business Disaster Loans a borrower may use towards post-disaster mitigation.

“Taxpayer dollars should protect and improve life, not snuff it out. Louisianians understand that abortion providers often offer inadequate care for vulnerable women, while killing the unborn for profit. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Lankford and our colleagues to ensure that states aren’t forced to fund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) in introducing the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act, which gives states the authority to exclude abortion providers, like Planned Parenthood, from receiving Medicaid funds.

“Taxpayer dollars should protect and improve life, not snuff it out. Louisianians understand that abortion providers often offer inadequate care for vulnerable women, while killing the unborn for profit. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Lankford and our colleagues to ensure that states aren’t forced to fund abortion providers like Planned Parenthood,” said Kennedy.

“Abortion isn’t healthcare and taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to support the largest abortion-providers in the country under the guise of women’s healthcare. This bill allows states to ensure that tax dollars support the thousands of health care providers without the worry that tax dollars will also contribute to abortion services at organizations like Planned Parenthood. We can simultaneously stand for the unborn while also supporting fundamental, quality health services for women everywhere,” said Lankford.

Under current law, states are required to allow any qualified provider to participate in a state’s Medicaid system. A non-partisan Government Accountability Office report revealed that Planned Parenthood received $1.2 billion in Medicaid reimbursements over a three-year period, accounting for 80 percent of the abortion provider’s joint federal-state funding stream.

Kennedy and Lankford were joined in introducing the bill by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) has introduced identical legislation in the House of Representatives.  

“Between a pandemic and historic hurricane, small businesses in Louisiana are facing incredible challenges. Helping them access broadband and put new technology to use is a smart way to protect jobs. Small businesses represent 97% of Louisiana employers, I’m glad to help introduce a bill that serves these job creators.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today joined Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to prioritize broadband access for small businesses. The Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would improve Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to address the lack of broadband internet and other emerging information technology resources available in rural areas. 

The bill would help small businesses access and adopt these 21st-century tools. Access to broadband services in rural areas throughout Louisiana and around the country has become a top concern during the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses and workers continue working remotely.

“Between a pandemic and historic hurricane, small businesses in Louisiana are facing incredible challenges. Helping them access broadband and put new technology to use is a smart way to protect jobs. Small businesses represent 97% of Louisiana employers, I’m glad to help introduce a bill that serves these job creators,” said Kennedy.

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated existing problems that for too long have hurt small businesses, particularly those in rural areas where access to broadband is limited. This bill will improve SBA programs to help them meet these challenges. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will prioritize broadband access at the federal level. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort,” said Shaheen. 

Specifically, the Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would make the following improvements to the SBA’s approach to broadband:

  • Direct the SBA Office of Investment and Innovation to designate a senior employee to serve as the broadband and emerging information technology (BEIT) coordinator;
  • Provide SBA employees with BEIT training to help small businesses use such technologies;
  • Report on the SBA’s work related to broadband and other emerging information technologies;
  • Require the SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy to evaluate the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses; and
  • Authorize small business development centers to help businesses access and use BEIT.

The bill text is available here

“Louisiana’s railroads represent a critical part of our state’s economic success. While this funding will improve railroad safety, it will also stimulate the economy and create jobs in New Orleans and the surrounding region.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced an $8,262,391 grant from the Department of Transportation to support safety improvements to the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway Company’s Belle Chasse and Westwego subdivisions.

“Louisiana’s railroads represent a critical part of our state’s economic success. While this funding will improve railroad safety, it will also stimulate the economy and create jobs in New Orleans and the surrounding region,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy in June sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration expressing support for the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway Company’s grant application.

The project will improve approximately 24 miles of the Belle Chasse subdivision and eight miles of the Westwego subdivision along the Mississippi River.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“America weeps, but what an extraordinary life Justice Ginsburg led. Becky and I mourn with Justice Ginsburg’s family and the American people.”

“When Hurricane Laura destroyed homes and businesses across Louisiana, it displaced many of our state’s workers. This grant will help rebuild communities and create jobs for those unemployed as a result of the storm.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $4,000,000 dislocated worker grant from the Department of Labor to create disaster relief jobs in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Laura.

“When Hurricane Laura destroyed homes and businesses across Louisiana, it displaced many of our state’s workers. This grant will help rebuild communities and create jobs for those unemployed as a result of the storm,” said Kennedy.

These jobs will focus on debris cleanup and humanitarian assistance for individuals affected by Hurricane Laura in all 64 Louisiana parishes.

“This hurricane season has demonstrated why it’s crucial for Louisiana to protect properties from flood damage. This funding will help communities prepare for future storms in Lafayette and Jefferson Parishes.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,380,065 in FEMA grant funding to support the mitigation of 28 flood-prone structures in Lafayette and Jefferson Parishes.

“This hurricane season has demonstrated why it’s crucial for Louisiana to protect properties from flood damage. This funding will help communities prepare for future storms in Lafayette and Jefferson Parishes,” said Kennedy.

This funding is authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $2,735,054 to mitigate 15 flood-prone structures in Jefferson Parish.

  • $2,645,011 to mitigate 13 flood-prone structures in Lafayette Parish.

Hurricane Laura has put a lot of Louisiana jobs at risk. I introduced this bill to give job creators a crucial lifeline. Small businesses needed cash flow to survive the coronavirus crisis, and now they need those loans forgiven as they rebuild from savage hurricanes.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government and member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today introduced the Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act of 2020. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is an original cosponsor of the bill, which would forgive small business loans made under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

“About 40 percent of small businesses that close down for even one day in the wake of a natural disaster will end up shutting their doors forever. Hurricane Laura has put a lot of Louisiana jobs at risk. I introduced this bill to give job creators a crucial lifeline. Small businesses needed cash flow to survive the coronavirus crisis, and now they need those loans forgiven as they rebuild from savage hurricanes,” said Kennedy.

“As folks across South Alabama begin the work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sally, I believe Congress should be assisting them in any way we can. That’s why I’m joining Senator Kennedy, from our neighbor Louisiana, to introduce bipartisan legislation that ensures small businesses impacted by Hurricanes Sally and Laura can benefit from loan forgiveness for COVID-19 relief programs. Alabama’s Main Street businesses have struggled already during the pandemic, and Hurricane Sally is yet another devastating hit. This legislation will cut through government red tape and allow forgiveness of business loans received as part of our CARES legislation as they continue to re-open and re-build. It is one way we can help them survive these compounding disasters and continue to serve our communities and create jobs,” said Jones.

Louisiana’s small businesses represent 97% of all employers in the state and employ nearly 1 million Louisianians.

The Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act establishes an easy process for businesses in parishes or counties with major disaster declarations from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Sally to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

In order to receive loan forgiveness, impacted businesses must provide their lenders with an attestation form stating that the business used the loans as intended. To prevent fraud and ensure transparency, the Small Business Administration Administrator would have the authority to review and audit forgiven loans.

Background:

On August 28, 2020, President Donald Trump granted a major disaster declaration for Louisiana. That declaration triggered the release of federal funds to help communities recover from Hurricane Laura.

 

We have a solemn duty to protect all lives, especially the most innocent and vulnerable among us. The Susan B. Anthony List is one of the most distinguished pro-life organizations in the country, and I’m proud to stand with the millions of Americans who fight every day for unborn children.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today received an “A” rating on the Susan B. Anthony List National Pro-Life Scorecard.

We have a solemn duty to protect all lives, especially the most innocent and vulnerable among us. The Susan B. Anthony List is one of the most distinguished pro-life organizations in the country, and I’m proud to stand with the millions of Americans who fight every day for unborn children,” said Kennedy.

This January, Kennedy introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act to ensure women have access to immediate health care by requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 15 miles of the abortion facility.

Kennedy led the amicus brief in the June Medical Services v. Russo case, which focused on the Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. The brief had a record 207 signers from the House and Senate. In March, he also delivered remarks ahead of the Supreme Court's oral arguments in that case.

Kennedy’s record of pro-life legislative work is available here.