May 18 2022
WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Republican colleagues in introducing the Investor Democracy is Expected (INDEX) Act to address problems stemming from the consolidated corporate ownership and voting power within Wall Street’s largest investment advisers and their index funds.
With passive investing exploding in popularity over the past two decades, these firms have quietly become the largest owners in almost all U.S. public companies. As such, they are able to leverage the investments of millions of index fund investors into the dominant voting bloc at shareholder meetings.
“Mammoth investment advisors are listening more to radical activists than to their actual investors, which can sway outcomes at shareholder meetings. That’s bad for the investors who have put their savings on the line and for healthy, free markets. We need to ensure that investors actually get to vote on their investments, and that’s what the INDEX Act would do,” said Kennedy.
“The American people deserve the opportunity to vote on behalf of their investments, including those made in index funds. Massive Wall Street firms should not be able to coopt this voting power to essentially control our entire U.S. public market. Currently, the three largest investment advisers represent nearly a quarter of all votes cast at annual meetings. The INDEX Act would correct this extreme distortion by simply requiring these firms to ask index fund investors how to vote. This would democratize corporate governance and largely eliminate the influence that these firms wield at shareholder meetings to push political agendas, removing them as a pressure point for radical activists,” said Sullivan.
The INDEX Act would require investment advisors of passively-managed funds to vote proxies in accordance with the instructions of fund investors—not at the discretion of the adviser. The adviser would be responsible for passing through the proxies, collecting the instructions and dutifully voting per the investors’ wishes. Deconsolidating this voting power will neutralize the dominance of these investment advisers and foster a healthier, more competitive and more democratic corporate governance ecosystem.
Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) also co-sponsored the bill.
ICYMI: Kennedy: Gas prices soaring because Biden admin trying to bankrupt American oil and gas industry
May 18 2022
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today addressed the record high Louisiana gas prices that President Biden’s policies have caused. Key excerpts from his remarks are below:
“It is a serious problem for lower-middle income and poor Americans. . . . For our less fortunate Americans, it’s a choice between filling up their car or paying their rent or buying their food.
“It’s no mystery why we’re having this inflation in gasoline. When your demand remains constant or it increases, and your supply shrinks, you’re going to see price increases every single time.
“Why is supply shrinking? Well, I think the main reason—there are other reasons—but I think the main reason has to do with President Biden’s energy policy. We know now, after 14 months, that President Biden’s energy policy is wind, solar and wishful thinking. The American economy is the most powerful economy in all of human history. It can’t run without energy. Eighty percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels.”
. . .
“Markets are forward looking. The price of gasoline today, and the price of oil and natural gas, also reflects what people who produce the product and who buy the product think about the future, and there’s no question that they look ahead under the Biden administration and see that they expect the Biden administration to continue to do everything it can to bankrupt the oil and gas industry.”
. . .
“The president says: ‘I’m not against oil and gas.’ All you have to do is look at his proposed new rules for the National Environmental Policy Act, the proposed rules for NEPA. Take a good look at a pipeline because you won’t see another one in America if these rules pass.”
View Kennedy’s complete remarks here.
May 18 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other Republican senators in writing to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to stop delaying permits for offshore oil and gas companies that are performing exploration work ahead of drilling wells.
“While the Biden Administration and Members of Congress fault the domestic oil and gas industry of sitting idle on over 9,000 drilling permits and millions of acres in ‘inactive leases,’ NMFS’s permitting delays represent one example of the Administration’s de facto ban on new drilling—impeding domestic oil and gas investment, exploration, and production,” the senators wrote.
“Specifically, we are aware that NMFS has a backlog of applications for ‘Letters of Authorization’ (LOA), which federal oil and gas leasees need in order to perform the specific geological surveying necessary to develop their leases located on the federal U.S. Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). We understand some pending LOA applications have been with the agency for well over 100 days, whereas NMFS has historically approved LOA applications within 2 to 4 weeks,” they continued.
The letter notes that the permitting delay is principally due to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) inadvertently double-counting projected exposure estimates for activities on the OCS, it’s reliance on those miscalculations when developing the final rule in question.
The letter advises the NMFS to:
- allow officials to approve outstanding and future LOA applications consistent with the agency’s permitting activities prior to the 2021 Final Rule,
- use NMFS’ discretion to immediately approve those LOA applications that are most likely to bring production online first,
- issue a new proposed rule immediately and final rule within a more reasonable timeframe and
- shift additional resources to process applications and make available to permittees any other alternative permitting processes within NMFS’s authority.
“It is unacceptable that agency miscalculations have restricted access to safe, secure, and reliable domestic oil and gas production through substantial, unnecessary, and arbitrary permitting delays,” the senators concluded.
Text of the letter is available here.
May 16 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined more than 15 other Republican senators in introducing a resolution highlighting rising crime rates in the U.S. and calling on President Biden to combat crime and secure the southern border.
“The Biden administration seems to think that when a criminal commits a crime, it’s not really the criminal’s fault. Under President Biden’s watch, crime rates have gone up, drugs are pouring across the border and criminals are murdering cops. The White House must do something to keep American communities safe,” said Kennedy.
The resolution points out that the murder rate in America rose by 30 percent from 2019-2020, the largest single-year increase in more than a century. In addition, there was a 59 percent increase in the number of police officers murdered last year. At least 16 American cities set record for the number of murders in 2021.
More than 2.5 million illegal immigrants have been caught trying to cross the U.S. southern border since January 2021, and overdose deaths have reached an all-time high as the flow of illegal drugs across the southern border is putting communities at risk across America.
Text of the resolution is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $38,369,343 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“This $38.3 million will help south Louisiana families clear debris and recover from the damage of Hurricanes Ida, Laura and Delta,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $15,005,039 to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $9,435,701 to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety (State Police) for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $7,684,271 to Lafourche Parish for right-of-way debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,817,266 to the Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,757,602 to the town of Grand Isle for right-of-way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,463,631 to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety (State Police) for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,205,833 to Lake Charles for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Delta.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Mother and Baby Formula Safety Act to give parents Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance for producing safe formula options for their children at home.
“While the FDA finishes its investigation, it has to help parents find solutions to formula supply chain bottlenecks in real time. The agency must equip moms and dads to find or make safe alternatives if an emergency leaves formula shelves bare, and my bill would make sure the FDA does that for parents,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy introduced the bill as parents of young children are facing a nationwide shortage of commercial formula. The Mother and Baby Formula Safety Act would require the FDA to respond to formula shortages by publishing guidelines for safely making formula at home, resources for parents to locate alternatives to commercial formula and other safety guidance.
Text of the bill is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $90,988,247 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“This $91 million will help south and central Louisiana clear debris, fix infrastructure and recover from other hurricane damage that hit our communities,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $69,174,600 to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury for debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
- $5,879,314 to Rapides Parish for public assistance debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
- $4,684,272 to the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff’s Office for the public assistance program related to Hurricane Katrina.
- $2,620,625 to St. Helena Parish for right-of-way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,769,842 to the city of Sulphur for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,764,884 to the Chennault International Airport Authority for damages to a pumphouse that Hurricane Laura damaged.
- $1,555,518 to Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District to replace a transit shed that Hurricane Laura damaged.
- $1,251,696 to the Tangipahoa Parish School System for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,251,420 to the Catahoula Parish Police Jury for permanent repairs to Jug Bend Road related to Hurricane Delta.
- $1,036,076 to the city of Denham Springs for right of way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
May 12 2022
WASHINGTON – The House has passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales and Brokerage Simplification Act, which would help small business owners access the services of small business merger and acquisition (M&A) brokers.
M&A brokers assist small business owners who want to sell their businesses or merge with other firms so that their companies can continue expanding and supporting job growth.
“This bill would give small businesses more flexibility to create and sustain jobs. The Senate has the chance now to pass this bill quickly so that job creators can continue building stronger businesses that serve their employees and communities,” said Kennedy.
The bill would allow small business M&A brokers to organize sales and purchases of ownership as well as the control of private companies without registering as “broker-dealers” with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Removing the requirement to register with the SEC and FINRA would remove a bureaucratic roadblock that M&A brokers face when trying to assist small businesses. Kennedy’s bill would make M&A services more affordable and accessible to small business owners who need help buying or selling companies.
Kennedy’s bill now awaits passage in the Senate.
Text of the Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales and Brokerage Simplification Act is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today received the Louisiana Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the Louisiana National Guard for his service during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Louisiana National Guard presents this award to civilians who advance the security and welfare of the State of Louisiana.
“Senator John Kennedy’s deep passion for the health and welfare of Louisiana residents combined with his relentless work ethic and dedication to the mission was beyond outstanding.
“His tireless commitment to community education, testing, and vaccination operations to combat the devastating effects of the pandemic were a life-saving effort. Senator Kennedy’s professionalism and genuine love of his state set a truly wonderful example of public service, and his actions reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Senate, and the state of Louisiana,” said Maj. Gen. Keith Waddell, Adjutant General for the Louisiana National Guard.
“The Louisiana National Guard models service for the entire country, and I’m honored to receive this recognition and to fight for the wellbeing of all Louisianans no matter what challenges face us,” said Kennedy.
May 11 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act to establish a Special Inspector General (IG) for Ukraine. The Special IG would oversee the humanitarian, economic and security assistance funding that the U.S. Congress has provided to the country, and make sure that the funds are appropriately spent.
Kennedy is introducing the bill as Congress considers nearly $40 billion in additional supplemental aid to the European nation. The U.S. has already provided $13.6 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine.
“The Ukrainian people have defended their country’s sovereignty with bravery and grit. Congress has already supported their fight against Putin’s war of aggression with billions and billions of dollars in aid and military equipment. American taxpayers deserve to know that their money is helping Ukraine beat back Russia effectively, and Congress needs to guarantee that oversight,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy’s bill would equip the Special IG for Ukraine with $20 million from the money that Congress has already provided in Ukraine aid. That $20 million represents less than 0.04% of the more than $50 billion in supplemental aid that has been or may be sent to Ukraine.
In order to prevent expanding bureaucracy indefinitely, the bill also includes a termination clause to end the Special IG role once U.S. taxpayer spending for Ukraine drops below $250 million per year.
The text of the bill is available here.