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“The PUPS Act will help keep pets and people safe and together during public health emergencies. I hope my compassionate colleagues move this bill forward before bureaucracy tears any more dogs or cats away from their owners.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Permanently Uniting Pets Stateside (PUPS) Act to ensure that American pet owners returning from abroad during a public health emergency are not unnecessarily separated from their pets. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is an original cosponsor of the PUPS Act.

“Earlier this summer, Socrates reminded everyone that pets must be allowed to come home with their owners whenever possible. The PUPS Act will help keep pets and people safe and together during public health emergencies. I hope my compassionate colleagues move this bill forward before bureaucracy tears any more dogs or cats away from their owners,” said Kennedy.

The PUPS Act would allow an animal arriving with a U.S. citizen or resident to enter the country without regard to the Centers for Disease Control or U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements concerning pets if the owner agrees to comply with those requirements as soon as practicable. 

The PUPS Act is crucial to help pet-lovers navigate public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic and has support from Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation.

"We applaud Senator Kennedy for his work to put common sense and compassion ahead of bureaucracy and ensuring that people are not separated from their beloved pets during times of crisis. This bill would ensure that what happened to Socrates won’t happen to another rescued dog coming to the U.S. to join a loving family,” said Holly Gann, Director of Federal Affairs for the Animal Wellness Foundation.

Kennedy is a proud dog owner to Jack and Charlie.

“People who commit heinous crimes against women need to be held accountable. This program will help Louisiana implement successful prevention strategies and deliver justice. This funding will support a vital community-based initiative to combat violence against women.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $2,328,643 from the Department of Justice to support the Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program through the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement.

“People who commit heinous crimes against women need to be held accountable. This program will help Louisiana implement successful prevention strategies and deliver justice. This funding will support a vital community-based initiative to combat violence against women,” said Kennedy.

The STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program works to strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to violent crimes against women and improve victim services.

“People who abuse innocent animals often turn their violence on innocent people. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would help better prevent and prosecute animal cruelty.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) in introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act, which would establish an Animal Cruelty Crimes Section within the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“People who abuse innocent animals often turn their violence on innocent people. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would help better prevent and prosecute animal cruelty, and I’m proud to partner with Sen. Braun and my colleagues to keep our communities safe from sick people who target helpless creatures,” said Kennedy.

“America has recently taken big steps to crack down on animal cruelty with new laws to protect animals from torture and abuse, but we need further action to ensure these laws are being enforced across the country and track our progress in eradicating animal cruelty. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would create a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Section at the Department of Justice to help bring those who abuse animals to justice and includes reporting measures to track our progress,” said Braun.

The Animal Cruelty Crimes Section would enforce federal laws prohibiting animal cruelty under the jurisdiction of the DOJ. The ACE Act would also require the DOJ to report to Congress annually on the number of animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions of animal cruelty it conducts.

“First responders are on the front lines of protecting communities and saving lives. Protestors who block these heroes from the people who need them may think their actions are political, but, in reality, they’re criminal.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act to make obstructing emergency vehicles and personnel a federal crime. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are original cosponsors of the bill.

“First responders are on the front lines of protecting communities and saving lives. Protestors who block these heroes from the people who need them may think their actions are political, but, in reality, they’re criminal. Ideally, local politicians wouldn’t stand by like knots on a log when protestors stop emergency care from getting to private citizens and community law enforcement. Unfortunately, though, it’s fallen to federal authorities to fill this leadership void through the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act,” said Kennedy.

“Like millions of Americans, I was outraged to learn last weekend that protestors in Los Angeles had blocked the entrance to the emergency room and chanted ‘we hope they die’ as first responders transported two sheriff deputies who were ambushed and shot. I never would have imagined we would have to introduce legislation making it a federal penalty to block access to emergency rooms, but it must be made clear that actions like these will be punished. The Senate should quickly take up this commonsense legislation and send it to President Trump to be signed into law,” said Tillis.

“The fact that anarchists and rioters blocked first responders racing to save the lives of two Los Angeles police officers is un-American, and must be met with appropriate penalties. Tennesseans hold our law enforcement officials in the highest regard, and expect us to provide support for them when needed. It’s unfortunate that the state of our public discourse has led us to this point,” said Blackburn.

“Our first responders are our nation’s heroes. We shouldn’t need federal authorities to tell local leaders that it’s a crime to prevent first responders from doing their job; but here we are. Iowans won’t stand for this, and that’s why we need this commonsense bill to ensure our medical professionals can continue to provide life-saving care to folks in-need and hold accountable anyone who blocks someone from receiving essential services and medical attention,” said Ernst.

“South Dakotans know that it’s not just the law, but it’s common courtesy to move your vehicle out of the way of an ambulance or first responder vehicle. As riots rage in cities across the country, violent mobs are blocking passage for ambulances to get to injured victims. This is wrong. Emergency first responders have a duty to save lives. They are being physically blocked from doing their job by rioters, and local leaders refuse to step up. Our bill would make knowingly blocking an emergency transport vehicle a federal offense,” said Rounds.

“Over the weekend in Los Angeles we saw someone unprovoked approach two innocent police officers in their vehicle, pull out a gun, and open fire at point-blank range. As an ambulance rushed these sheriff’s deputies to the hospital, violent protestors — exploiting a movement which bills itself as a voice for life – blocked the entrance and yelled, ‘we hope they die.’ That is evil and pure hypocrisy. Our bill establishes proper consequences for people trying to kill police officers or any injured person by blocking access to life-saving care,” said Cramer.

“Everyone should be praying for the two Los Angeles Sheriffs who were shot in an ambush, and everyone should be condemning the act of terror committed by protestors who chanted ‘we hope they die’ as they blocked emergency entrances to the hospital. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that would make it a federal crime to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or other emergency vehicles or personnel from responding to an emergency,” said Rubio.

The Stop Blocking Hospitals Act would make it a federal offense to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle or emergency personnel from responding to an emergency. Penalties for such obstruction would include imprisonment of one to five years, a fine or both.

The National Association of Police Organizations has endorsed the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act.

Background:

As unrest increases across the country, rioters are blocking first responders’ access to emergencies. Such intentional obstruction of police, fire and ambulance vehicles and personnel have put public safety—and individual lives—at risk.

In June, in Seattle's Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, a violent crowd prevented first responders from reaching a shooting victim, who eventually died. Though first responders were stationed less than two blocks away, twenty minutes passed before emergency personnel gained access to the site.

Less than a week ago, a gunman shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in their patrol vehicle. Those officers were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, where protestors blocked the emergency entrance to the hospital.

“The first responders and other heroes who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 exemplify the American spirit. We must always reflect on their sacrifice and on the reverence for life and liberty anchored in our Constitution. Patriot Week helps tell America’s story, a story that we can’t afford to forget,” said Kennedy.

“Many Louisianians are facing tough times through no fault of their own. Government shut down the economy, and people are struggling to afford housing. I’m grateful for HUD’s work to quickly disperse these funds as we walk the path of economic recovery.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $27,028,842 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide financial assistance to Louisianians having trouble meeting rental obligations and facing the risk of eviction. 

“Many Louisianians are facing tough times through no fault of their own. Government shut down the economy, and people are struggling to afford housing. I’m grateful for HUD’s work to quickly disperse these funds as we walk the path of economic recovery,” said Kennedy. 

This funding is authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. These funds can be used toward rental obligations for up to six months.

To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs. I’m thankful that Chairman Barrasso and Sen. Carper are championing this plan to bring American manufacturing into the future—a plan that both business and environmental groups support.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Tom Carper (D-Del.), the committee’s ranking member, in announcing a bipartisan agreement on changes to a hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act.

“American jobs are on the line, and we can protect them by keeping the United States competitive in global industry. To create thousands of jobs, save billions of dollars and safeguard the environment, we must invest in alternatives to HFCs. I’m thankful that Chairman Barrasso and Sen. Carper are championing this plan to bring American manufacturing into the future—a plan that both business and environmental groups support,” said Kennedy.

“This agreement protects both American consumers and American businesses. We can have clean air without damaging our economy. These chemicals are in every home—from our refrigerators, to our cars, to our air conditioners. I insisted on changing this legislation so costs don’t skyrocket for American families. This agreement safeguards the critical uses of these chemicals when substitute chemicals do not work—including in bear spray that protects hikers and fire suppression systems on planes that protect travelers. Now, this legislation will help protect our air while keeping costs down for the American people. I want to thank Senators Kennedy and Carper for working with me and I look forward advancing the legislation in the Senate,” said Barrasso.

“With this agreement, we now have a clear path in Congress to enact and implement a nationwide phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs. HFCs are the coolants and refrigerants that keep our homes cool and our groceries cold in the fridge. They can be found in almost every household in America—but they have a global warming effect thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, with the ingenuity and innovation of American industry, the next generation of climate-friendly HFC replacements are already being made in this country and sold throughout the world. It’s time we build on those investments and phase down these potent greenhouse gases out of our economy. With this bipartisan agreement, we can and we will. This amendment would spur billions of dollars of economic growth in domestic manufacturing and create tens of thousands of new jobs, all while helping our planet avoid half a degree Celsius in global warming. At a time when we could all use some good news, this is great news for our economy and our planet. Let’s get it done,” said Carper.

Kennedy and Carper offered the original HFCs amendment in March of this year. The amendment parallels the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, a bipartisan effort that brings together the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to preserve jobs in Louisiana and the rest of the nation.

The HFC industry employs 593,000 workers in the U.S. and generates annual sales of $206 billion. Globally, countries are moving away from using HFCs. The amendment will ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to ensure a smooth phasedown of the manufacturing of HFCs in the U.S. in order to support the next generation of technologies.

The evolution of technology impacts the Honeywell plant in Geismar, La. and Mexichem Fluor Inc. in St. Gabriel, La. This amendment will help preserve jobs at these plants.

The revised amendment will authorize a 15-year phasedown of HFCs at a national level for the first time, administered by the EPA. The amendment requires the EPA to implement an 85 percent phase down of the production and consumption of HFCs, so they reach approximately 15 percent of their 2011-2013 average annual levels by 2036. Under the agreement, the revised amendment will also:

  • Protect essential uses of HFCs, including ensuring there are sufficient supplies of HFCs for congressionally-designated essential uses of HFCs that currently have no substitute chemicals, including defense sprays, medical inhalers, semiconductor manufacturing, and mission-critical military uses;
  • Preempt state and local governments from regulating HFCs for the congressionally-designated essential uses for at least five years (which can be extended to 10 if there remains no substitute chemical for a particular use); and
  • Provide protection for consumers from cost increases by ensuring the EPA cannot accelerate the 15-year regulatory timeline faster than the HFC-consumption levels that the market is already achieving.

 

Lafayette will benefit greatly from this investment in our infrastructure. I’m thankful that the DOT has prioritized building and revitalizing Louisiana roadways, especially as we work to recover from both a pandemic and Hurricane Laura.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement in response to the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s decision to award a BUILD grant to the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government. The $10 million grant will fund two components of the University Avenue Corridor Project.

“Lafayette will benefit greatly from this investment in our infrastructure. I’m thankful that the DOT has prioritized building and revitalizing Louisiana roadways, especially as we work to recover from both a pandemic and Hurricane Laura,” said Kennedy.

As part of the funding for two phases of the University Avenue Corridor Project, the grant will build a multi-lane roundabout at the Willow Street intersection and make the five-lane University Avenue into a four-lane road with a raised median between Walker Road and Wilshire Lane. The project will also construct a multi-lane roundabout at Alcide Dominique Drive. Additional improvements will include a landscaped pedestrian zone.

Kennedy wrote to the DOT in May in support of the Lafayette Consolidated Government’s application. His letter is available here.

“To help people rebuild their homes and businesses, I’ve introduced a bill to make sure FEMA’s disaster funding doesn’t run dry. Louisianians have worked hard for our state and our country, and they’re not going to walk through recovery alone.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Funding Act to provide $10 billion to the Disaster Relief Fund, which funds FEMA’s recovery efforts.

“Hurricane Rita did massive damage to our state, and it looks like Hurricane Laura may eclipse that devastation. To help people rebuild their homes and businesses, I’ve introduced a bill to make sure FEMA’s disaster funding doesn’t run dry. Louisianians have worked hard for our state and our country, and they’re not going to walk through recovery alone,” said Kennedy.

The Disaster Relief Fund has $58 billion, though the account is currently providing resources for a number of emergencies, including the coronavirus pandemic. Federal unemployment costs due to COVID-19 alone account for approximately $44 billion in emergency funding.

Kennedy is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, and the text of this bill is available here.