Media

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today warned against the United States Senate abandoning the Kurds in Syria if the Strengthening America’s Security in Middle East Act, S. 1, moves forward without his amendment to include protections for these important allies.  Sen. Kennedy introduced an amendment to protect the Syrian Kurds Monday.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) helped reduce the number of ISIS fighters in Syria from approximately 100,000 in 2014 to less than 5,000 today.  Five years ago, ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria, but American military forces with the help of SDF have retaken 99% of ISIS’s territory including its capital in Raqqa.

Without my amendment, we may be leaving the Kurds to be slaughtered after they withstood incomprehensible suffering to fight Islamist tyranny,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It’s that simple.  I support what the bill does to protect Israel and strengthen our bond with Jordan.  But it’s a hollow boast to claim this bill protects our allies in the Middle East when it leaves out protection for the Syrian Kurds.  Even worse, we are breaking a promise to protect our allies.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy discuss his amendment on the Senate floor.

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the 30th anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) joined bipartisan legislation to reauthorize NAWCA through 2024. The legislation would also increase authorized annual funding for the program to $60 million. 

NAWCA was originally enacted in 1989 to provide federal cost-share funding—in partnership with funding from state and local governments, private industry, and non-profit organizations like Ducks Unlimited—to projects that conserve North America’s waterfowl, fish, and wildlife resources.

Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy joined U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and other colleagues in introducing the legislation.

“In less than a century, Louisiana’s lost 1.2 million acres of wetlands,” said Senator Kennedy. “That’s the equivalent of the state of Delaware. I am proud to support the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act to rescue our wetlands. These habitats aren’t just a part of Louisiana’s landscape. They protect us from storms and bolster our economy. Preserving and restoring them is paramount to the Louisiana families who depend on our seafood and energy industries.”

“Wetlands are the heart and soul of Louisiana’s environment. They give recreation, jobs and protection from storms. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act must be renewed. So much in Louisiana and our country depends upon it,” said Senator Cassidy.

“For more than 30 years, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has been a proven, cost-effective program for conserving our nation’s vital wetland and waterfowl habitat,” said President of Ducks Unlimited Rogers Hoyt. “The introduction of this bill is a noteworthy first step to ensure the next generation of Americans, especially waterfowl hunters, have access to the same natural resources we enjoy today. We thank Senators Heinrich, Kennedy, Cassidy, Carper and their colleagues for this strong act of bipartisan support of the NAWCA program and look forward to working with Congress to pass this bill.”

Wetlands secure freshwater supplies, recharge aquifers, and mitigate soil erosion and flooding disasters. In addition, waterfowl, migratory birds, fish, and mammals that depend on wetlands support multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and photography. NAWCA funding has been critical to acquiring, restoring, and enhancing this habitat in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico. In total, nearly 3,000 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation and restoration of nearly 30 million acres of habitat all across North America.

NAWCA has provided a great return on investment, generating, on average, three additional dollars for every federal dollar. Over the program’s history, federal grants totaling more than $1.6 billion have spurred $4.68 billion for NAWCA projects through matching and nonmatching funds. NAWCA funds have also supported an average of 7,500 jobs each year and more than $5 billion in annual economic activity.

A copy of the bill is available here

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Authorization for Use of Force to Defend the Kurds in Syria Resolution today as an amendment to the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act, S. 1.  Sen. Kennedy’s amendment will allow the President to authorize the use of armed forces to defend the Kurds in Syria. The Syrian Kurds are potentially vulnerable to an attack by Syrian government forces, rebel forces and other external threats.

“There must always be a moral component to America’s foreign policy, and it’s our moral responsibility to be loyal to our allies,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Syrian Kurds were indispensable in our fight against ISIS in Syria, and we shouldn’t leave them high and dry. This amendment will ensure the protection of our Kurdish allies and demonstrate our appreciation for their help in the war against ISIS.”

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is a coalition made up of mostly Kurdish militias that has led the fight against ISIS in Syria.  These Syrian Kurdish fighters are largely responsible for retaking more than 95% of ISIS’ claimed territory in Iraq and Syria and forcing ISIS to withdraw from its last major urban stronghold in the region.

In 2014, ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria, but today American officials estimate that ISIS retains only 1% of its originally controlled territory. 

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, as of September 2018, 36 high value targets in Syria have been killed and more than 700 foreign terrorist fighters are in SDF custody.  The Kurdish-led SDF helped reduce the number of ISIS fighters in Syria from approximately 100,000 in 2014 to less than 5,000 today.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the following about our Kurdish Syrian allies: “We’ve worked closely with the Syrian Kurds now for my entire time in service in this administration. They have been great partners. We are now driving to make sure that they have a seat at the table. The political process … the reason it hasn’t made progress is because we’ve demanded that every element in Syria gets an opportunity to be part of that future government, and in the absence of that and in the absence of their representation, we won’t participate in what will be a big check that someone’s going to have to write to fix the situation in Syria, and the Syrian Kurds will surely be part of that.”

President Donald Trump commented that the Kurds are “great people” and “good fighters.” President Trump went on to say, “They fought with us. They died with us. They died. We lost tens of thousands of Kurds, died, fighting ISIS. They died for us, and with us. And for themselves. They died, but they are great people. And we don’t forget.”

 

###

WASHINGTON – After meeting today with U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) announced that he will vote in favor of him.

“I want someone who has thought about the world and politics, has a brain, understands the law, has integrity, has good judgment and understands he’s representing the American people.  William Barr is eminently qualified,” said Sen. Kennedy.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after he voted in favor of reopening the government and securing the border:

“Nobody wants the government to be shut down, and nobody wants our country to have a vulnerable southern border,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This legislation represents progress not perfection, but it reopens the government and it secures our border.  The president proposed this bipartisan compromise, and my Democratic colleagues refused to take it.  It’s time we put petty politics aside and put the American people first.”

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after Democrats blocked his bid to fund paychecks for active duty and retired members of the Coast Guard:

“For quite possibly the first time since the Civil War, members of our armed services are working without pay.  That’s just pitiful.  Coast Guard members put their lives on the line every single day in service of this country.  They deserve better than this,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “If my Democratic colleagues won’t come to the table to negotiate, then the least they can do is pay the Coast Guard.  Make no mistake.  Democrats are making the Coast Guard hostages to Washington politics.  If you’re risking life and limb for this country, the least we can do is pay you.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s floor speech.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act, bipartisan legislation that will protect the privacy of consumers’ online data.  The legislation will improve transparency, strengthen consumers’ recourse options when a breach of data occurs and ensure companies are compliant with privacy policies that protect consumers. 

“I don’t want to regulate Facebook or any private social media company, but these platforms continue to compromise their users’ private data,” Kennedy said.  “Our legislation reinforces data privacy standards and requires these companies to be transparent with how they are using our private information.  In today’s world, private data is the equivalent of our personal identities, and companies need to know that they’ll be held accountable when they violate the public’s trust and compromise our private information.  Our legislation does just that.”

“Every day, companies profit off of the data they’re collecting from Americans, yet leave consumers completely in the dark about how their personal information, online behavior and private messages are being used.  Consumers should have the right to control their personal data,” Klobuchar said. “Our legislation would ensure that companies use plain language to explain to consumers how their data is being used, allow consumers to opt out of certain data tracking and collection, and require companies to notify consumers of privacy violations within 72 hours of a breach.”

Social media and other online platforms routinely capture users’ behavior and personal information, which is then used to help advertisers or other third parties target those users. Kennedy and Klobuchar’s legislation would protect the privacy of consumers’ online data.  Specifically, the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act would:

  • Give consumers the right to opt out and keep their information private by disabling data tracking and collection,
  • Provide users greater access to and control over their data,
  • Require terms of service agreements to be in plain language,
  • Ensure users have the ability to see what information about them has already been collected and shared,
  • Mandate that users be notified of a breach of their information within 72 hours,
  • Offer remedies for users when a breach occurs,
  • Require that online platforms have a privacy program in place.

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA), which makes it a crime to abort a child based on his or her gender.  This legislation imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly attempts to perform an abortion that is sought based on the sex of the child, anyone who forces or threatens force to coerce a sex-based abortion, anyone who solicits or accepts funds for the performance of a sex-selection abortion and anyone who transports a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining an abortion based on gender.  

“Every one of these little lives is precious and formed in the hand of God.  Choosing to end a child’s life is reprehensible.  Choosing to end a child’s life based on his or her gender is absolutely heinous,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Only eight states currently have this law in place, and it only seems right to make abortions on the basis of sex illegal in all 50 states.   This legislation protects these babies and prohibits the terrible act of ending a child’s life based on gender.”

In addition to the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, Sen. Kennedy is a co-sponsor of nine more bills that protect the rights of unborn children and promote pro-life values.  Sen. Kennedy co-sponsored the following bills:

  1.  Conscience Protect Act, which prevents federal, state and local governments from penalizing or discriminating against a health care provider for refusing to participate in abortions.
  2. Life at Conception Act, which declares that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to life, and the right to life is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of conception.
  3. Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which makes it illegal to perform an abortion of an unborn child who is more than 20 weeks post-conception.
  4. Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which protects minors from being taken across state lines for an abortion without parental involvement. 
  5. Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act, which amends the Foreign Assistance Act to prohibit the allocation of funds to nonprofits and foreign nongovernmental organizations that perform abortions, lobby for abortions in foreign countries or counsel for abortions.
  6. No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, which ensures that the American taxpayer never funds abortions through federal taxes.
  7. Title X Abortion Provider Act, which prohibits subsidizing abortions through Title X Family Planning Program funds.
  8. Born Alive Abortion Survivor Act, which ensures that a baby who survives an abortion will receive the same treatment as any naturally born premature child.
  9. Protect Funding for Women’s Healthcare Act, which prohibits the use of federal funding for Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates while protecting federal funding for critical health services for women, including cervical and breast cancer screenings, immunizations, and pre and postnatal care.

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned William Barr, the nominee to be the next U.S. Attorney General, today in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“The issue is not his letter to Rod Rosenstein about the Mueller investigation,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The issue is not whether you have a point of view.  The actual issue is whether you can divorce yourself from that personal point of view and follow the rule of law.  That’s what I’m looking for from Bill Barr.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy question William Barr.

 

###

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) was selected to serve as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG).  This subcommittee is tasked with drafting the spending plan for the agencies within its jurisdiction for the coming fiscal year.

The jurisdiction of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee includes the Department of Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission, White House, Federal Communications Commission and Small Business Administration, among its long list of crucial agencies. 

“Our agencies are important, but so are the paychecks of the American people,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I am honored to serve as chairman of the FSGG subcommittee.  In this role, my priorities are to ensure we are spending our money efficiently, that we know how it’s being spent and that we don’t spend a dime more than is necessary.”

 

###