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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined 48 other Senate Republicans in condemning a deal the Biden administration is reportedly finalizing with Iran to lift sanctions in exchange for reentering President Barack Obama’s failed deal with Tehran. The White House has moved forward with an agreement that would reportedly lessen restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and weaken sanctions. The Biden administration is pursuing the deal without seeking congressional approval.

“According to press reports, the Biden Administration may soon conclude an agreement with Iran to provide substantial sanctions relief in exchange for merely short-term limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.

“By every indication, the Biden Administration appears to have given away the store. The administration appears to have agreed to lift sanctions that were not even placed on Iran for its nuclear activities in the first place, but instead because of its ongoing support for terrorism and its gross abuses of human rights. The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will sharply undermine U.S. leverage to secure an actually ‘longer and stronger’ deal. What is more, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran’s financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.

“The administration has thus far refused to commit to submit a new Iran deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty, as per its constitutional obligation, or for review under statutory requirements that passed on a bipartisan basis in response to the 2015 deal. Additionally, despite earlier promises to the contrary, the administration has failed to adequately consult with Congress.

“Republicans have made it clear: We would be willing and eager to support an Iran policy that completely blocks Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability, constrains Iran’s ballistic missile program, and confronts Iran’s support for terrorism. But if the administration agrees to a deal that fails to achieve these objectives or makes achieving them more difficult, Republicans will do everything in our power to reverse it. Unless Iran ceases its support for terrorism, we will oppose removing and seek to reimpose any terrorism-related sanctions. And we will force the Senate to vote on any Administration effort to do so.

“We strongly urge the administration, our Democrat colleagues, and the international community to learn the lessons of the very recent past. A major agreement that does not have strong bipartisan support in Congress will not survive.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in introducing the Flood Insurance Pricing Transparency Act to help policyholders in Louisiana understand how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) calculates flood insurance costs.

“Louisianians need flood insurance, but the Biden administration’s Risk Rating 2.0 regime is making it unaffordable. The Flood Insurance Pricing Transparency Act would shed light on how FEMA sets flood insurance prices so that Louisiana families can better protect their biggest investments—their homes,” said Kennedy.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the primary source of flood insurance coverage for residential properties in the U.S. FEMA is implementing Risk Rating 2.0, a plan that enacts the biggest change in history to the way NFIP calculates flood insurance premiums. Risk Rating 2.0 significantly raises flood insurance premiums on Louisianians who depend on NFIP to protect their homes from natural disasters.

The Flood Insurance Pricing Transparency Act would require FEMA to make public the formulas FEMA uses to calculate mitigation credits under Risk Rating 2.0.

The bill would also require FEMA to release a toolkit that policyholders could use to estimate the cost of flood insurance for new construction.

Background:

  • This Feb. 14, Kennedy urged President Joe Biden to stop the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0.
  • On Sept. 22, 2021, Kennedy pressed FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to delay the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0.
  • On June 7, 2021, Kennedy introduced the Flood Insurance Fairness Act to stop the Biden administration from unilaterally making changes to NFIP, including Risk Rating 2.0.
  • On April 15, 2021, Kennedy called on Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to hold a hearing to examine Risk Rating 2.0.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and more than 35 other senators in calling on President Joe Biden to work with U.S. allies to expedite the transfer of airpower, air defense systems and other combat and support capabilities to Ukraine.

“While we commend the lethal aid that your Administration has sent to Ukraine thus far, we strongly disagree with your decision to delay and deny Poland the option to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine. . . . We implore you to direct your Department of Defense to facilitate the transfer of aircraft, air defense systems, and other capabilities by and through our NATO partners immediately,” wrote the senators.

“Today, Russia’s assault is trained on the Ukrainian people, public infrastructure, farms, hospitals, daycares, places of work, and even their homes. The Ukrainian military is in dire need of more lethal aid today to defend the foundations of their country that will allow it to function in the future. We cannot allow Putin to gain an advantage because of a failure to provide the Ukrainians with needed weaponry, ammunition, communications equipment, and medical supplies,” they concluded.

The letter is available here.


Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced his opposition to the government funding bill, which totals $1.5 trillion but provides no disaster relief to Louisiana. Kennedy introduced an amendment to provide $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana, but the Senate blocked the amendment.

“In 2020, Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana. Then Hurricane Marco hit us. Then Hurricane Delta hit us. Then Hurricane Zeta. Then Hurricane Ida, all in a period of two years. Those storms caused $150 billion in damage. My amendment, and Sen. Cassidy’s amendment, would appropriate $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana. That would include $600 million for housing aid for Hurricanes Laura and Delta, $1.4 billion in housing aid for Hurricane Ida. The amendment would also provide for $500 million in funding to rebuild Louisiana ports.

“I’m mindful of the fact, Madame President, that we should make sure this aid is paid for. I would remind everyone that, through the heroic efforts of Sen. Schatz and Sen. Cantwell, in which I played a small part, that we forced our FCC not to give away the C-Band to our telecommunications industry, and instead auctioned it out, in which case it brought in $81 billion. And I think we can spare a little bit of that for people who lost their homes and businesses through no fault of their own,” said Kennedy.

The funding bill’s misguided provisions and spending include, but are not limited to:

  • $286 million for Planned Parenthood and up to $200 million to promote abortions abroad.
  • $3.2 billion in subsidies for green energy and $78.3 million for green initiatives at the Department of Agriculture.
  • $172 million for disaster relief for other countries.
  • $9.5 million to support “diversity, equity and inclusion” at the United States Agency for International Development and $4 million to establish an Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the State Department.
  • $220 million for the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery of Art.
  • $45 million for great apes living in central Africa and Indonesia.
  • No provisions to halt implementation of Risk Rating 2.0, a Federal Emergency Management Agency plan that raises flood insurance premiums on Louisianians.

The White House has failed to send Congress a formal request for Louisiana disaster aid, without which Senate Democrats are not expected to approve additional disaster funding.

In response, Kennedy introduced an amendment to this FY2022 funding bill that would deliver $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana.

Kennedy also fought for nearly $600 million in disaster relief to be included in the short-term funding bill that became law after passing the Senate on Sept. 30, 2021. This law provided $595 million to Louisiana.

Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today authored an amendment to the upcoming federal government funding bill that would deliver $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana.

Housing aid for Hurricanes Laura and Delta would total $600 million, with $1.4 billion in housing aid for Hurricane Ida recovery. The amendment would also provide $500 million in funding to rebuild vital ports that the storms damaged.

“Our state took gut punches from a string of storms, and our people still need help. This $2.5 billion would address major housing needs in southwest Louisiana and communities across the state. Louisianians are hardworking, but they’re hurting. They shouldn’t face rebuilding after these historic hurricanes alone. The White House knows that and has failed to act,” said Kennedy.

The White House has failed to send Congress a formal request for disaster aid, without which Senate Democrats are not expected to approve additional disaster funding.

Kennedy fought for nearly $600 million in disaster relief to be included in the short-term funding bill that became law after passing the Senate on Sept. 30, 2021. The legislation also extended the National Flood Insurance Program without raising the debt limit. This law provided $595 million to Louisiana.

He also spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the most recent funding extension to urge Congress not to forget Louisianians’ need for disaster relief aid in the upcoming government funding deal.

Kennedy is the only member of the Louisiana delegation who sits on an appropriations committee.

On Aug. 2, 2021, Kennedy offered an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill providing $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. The Senate blocked the amendment.

Text of today’s amendment is available here.

Background:

  • On Feb. 18, Kennedy joined the Louisiana congressional delegation in urging leaders on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to dedicate additional disaster recovery funds for Louisiana.

  • On Feb. 16, the Senate Small Business Committee passed the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to access disaster relief more easily in the wake of a natural disaster. Kennedy helped introduce the bill

  • On Oct. 19, 2021, the Senate passed the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, which Kennedy helped introduce. The bill would allow state governments to use unspent pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to provide relief for natural disaster victims and to invest in infrastructure needs. The bill is waiting for a vote in the House.

  • On July 21, 2021, Kennedy joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief. 

  • On July 15, 2021, Kennedy introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from historic storms. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage. 

  • On May 18, 2021, Kennedy urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana. 

  • On Sept. 4, 2020, Kennedy wrote to Senate leadership, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), to request that the Senate consider emergency supplemental aid to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging President Joe Biden to expedite disaster relief for Louisiana by removing a bureaucratic hurdle that has kept disaster aid that Congress set aside for Louisiana from reaching the state.

“The people of Louisiana were hit by 18 months of unprecedented disasters. . . . Congress responded by providing $5 billion in disaster relief aid through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD),” the lawmakers wrote.

“It is our understanding that nearly $3 billion of the $5 billion set aside for disaster relief for natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, including Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Ida, is sitting untouched at HUD. The delay in allocating these funds is attributed to an expired data-sharing agreement between HUD and FEMA that significantly impairs FEMA’s ability to share damage assessments with HUD,” they continued.

“Unfortunately, without a solution in sight, Louisiana families are left paying the price for bureaucratic red tape. These funds are the lifeline our people need to get back on their feet and address the dire housing situation caused by these storms. We humbly request that you direct HUD and FEMA to quickly forge a data-sharing agreement between the two agencies,” they concluded.

The lawmakers also directed the letter to Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell.

The letter is available here.


 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the statement below following a meeting with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Judge Stephen Breyer as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet with Judge Jackson today, and I look forward to hearing more from her in the upcoming Judiciary Committee hearing,” said Kennedy.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Senate Banking Committee Republicans in calling on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to halt the Treasury Department and all Biden administration efforts to develop regulations that could limit American energy producers’ access to credit and capital.

“We write to express concern about the potential damaging effects to national security from the unprecedented efforts of federal financial agencies to develop regulations that some intend to use for limiting U.S. energy producers’ access to credit and capital. Such actions would begin to curtail the supply of domestic energy, leading to higher costs for American households and making our country and allies more vulnerable to the consequences of Russian aggression. The economic toll, as well as the destruction, casualties, and instability from Russia’s energy-based warfare are so significant that we urge you to immediately pause the development of all climate- and energy-related regulations within the Treasury Department and to urge all other federal financial regulators to follow suit,” the senators wrote.

The senators pointed out that, in the last several decades, the U.S. has gone from an importer to an exporter of energy while under one of the strictest environmental regulatory regimes in the world. Despite this success, senior officials from numerous federal financial regulators have indicated that they are working to implement policies that could curtail energy production.

“Most importantly, these efforts by financial regulators, coupled with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, jeopardize the need for energy security, both domestically and for our allies and trading partners. Accordingly, we call on you and President Biden to instruct the federal financial regulatory agencies, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to delay any regulatory initiatives on climate change and sustainability until the development of a detailed, comprehensive plan by the administration on energy security that takes into account the threat to global energy supplies from Russia and similar repressive regimes,” concluded the senators.

The senators also directed the letter to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the National Economic Council Director, the Federal Reserve Chair, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Acting Chair, the Securities and Exchange Commission Chair, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair, the National Credit Union Administration Chairman and the Acting Comptroller of the Currency.

The letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement following a phone call this morning with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“I just got off a conference call with President Zelenskyy. He has pilots, but he needs planes. His pilots aren’t trained to fly American planes, but European countries have planes that Ukrainian pilots can fly.

“President Zelenskyy said these European countries are waiting on the okay from the United States to loan him the planes. I made sure that President Zelenskyy knew he had my support, but I think they are all waiting to hear from the Biden administration. We need to help Ukraine now with the planes it needs, for God’s sake. This will not involve U.S. planes, pilots or troops.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7,501,483 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for southeast Louisiana in drainage and infrastructure improvements.

“These improvements to roads and drainage will help protect homes, businesses and school buildings in southeast Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,331,783 for infrastructure improvements to combat erosion around Southern University.
  • $3,033,100 for drainage improvements around West Colyell Creek and Buddy Ellis Road in Livingston Parish.
  • $1,136,600 for storm system improvements around Groom Road in Baker, La.