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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J) in demanding that the Biden administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) withdrawal its proposed rule targeting pregnancy centers.   

The proposed rule would limit states’ ability to allocate funding provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program for alternatives to abortion and pregnancy centers. 

“Women deserve better than abortion and should receive support when they choose life for their babies. For decades, pregnancy centers have stood in the gap and generously provided free assistance to women, babies, and families in their moments of need—actions aligned with TANF’s purposes. The Proposed Rule, however, would undermine the TANF program and threaten to strip millions of dollars in support for pregnant women and their unborn babies through pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and alternatives to abortion programs. We urge you to withdraw the Proposed Rule immediately,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“Under the Proposed Rule if any TANF expenditure ‘is identified that does not appear to HHS to be reasonably calculated to accomplish a purpose of TANF,’ the State is required to ‘show that it used these funds for a purpose or purposes that a reasonable person would consider to be within one or more of the four purposes of the TANF program.’ While we share the administration’s goal of improving program integrity in TANF, we are concerned that the Proposed Rule focuses specifically on States that direct TANF funds to pregnancy centers and alternatives to abortion programs,” they continued.

“Chillingly, HHS suggests TANF support for pregnancy centers should be steered toward family planning programs more typical of the business models of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry instead. Specifically, HHS states TANF funds should be directed to ‘comprehensive sex education, family planning services, pregnancy prevention programs, and community mobilization services for at risk youth that increase access to pregnancy prevention programs for teens.’ This seems to be another attempt by the Biden administration to funnel taxpayer dollars to the abortion industry,” they concluded. 

Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and 19 members of the House of Representatives also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), during a speech on the Senate floor, urged the Biden administration to continue to support Israel until it succeeds in destroying Hamas. 

Kennedy reminded his colleagues of the atrocities Hamas committed on Oct. 7 and warned that neither Jewish Israelis nor Jewish Americans will be safe until the terrorist group is defeated.

Key comments from Kennedy include:

“Nothing—nothing—that the Israeli government has ever done or could do warranted throwing grenades at children hiding in a bomb shelter. Why are some people reluctant to admit that?

“You don't need to read a treatise on the Middle East to know that only monsters—monsters with black hearts—would put a baby in an oven and flip on the switch, as one first responder reported. That's not nuance. That’s evil.”

. . .

Don't go wobbly on us, President Biden. Stand your ground. Don't go wobbly. I'm proud that the United States is supporting Israel, and the world will be a safer place for Israelis and Americans alike when Hamas ceases to exist.

“Hamas leaders told anyone who would listen—anyone who would listen—they told us exactly what they intended to do, and wanted to do and will continue to do. 

“They told anyone who would listen that their goal was to kill as many Jewish people as possible—and that's still their goal. This wasn't a protest against Israel's government. It was a massacre of Jewish people—the largest since the Holocaust.

. . .

“At my state’s Tulane University, activists broke a student's nose because he opposed their anti-Israel demonstration. Now, these protests didn't occur in New York City, or Cornell or Tulane by accident. They targeted these areas because they're home to many Americans who happen to be Jewish, and that's just a fact. 

“New York is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, and, Tulane, in my state—which was the first university in the south to welcome Jewish students—has a student body today that is roughly 40% Jewish. It was no accident.”

. . .

The truth is that the Palestinian people, the people of Gaza and the Israeli people all suffer because of Hamas, and any suggestion that Israel is culpable for this suffering plays into the hands of the terrorists.

. . .

President Biden needs to show the world—and frankly, some members of his own party—that the United States of America and its good people will continue to stand with Israel until Hamas is in ruins.”

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), along with Reps. John James (R-Mich.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.), in calling on Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to consider "fleet leveling" to preserve fighter squadrons across the Air National Guard (ANG) and the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).

Several ANG squadrons across the country are at risk of losing experienced pilots and maintainers as the Air Force retires or upgrades fighter aircraft, including the squadron at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) in New Orleans.

“Absent intervention, the ANG is slated to lose two fighter missions in the next three years or will be forced to continue operating with older models. With that growing sense of urgency in mind, we request that you consider a stopgap measure to ensure there is no loss of Total Force fighter capability or combat capacity: fleet leveling,”the lawmakers wrote. 

“Fleet leveling is an efficient interim solution to the challenge facing the Air Force—how to deter China with both the capacity and capability of advanced fighters, given fiscal and production constraints. Fleet leveling temporarily balances fighters across active duty, ANG, and AFRC squadrons to allow time for industry production capacity to catch up with demand. Most importantly, fleet leveling prevents the closure of fighter squadrons across the Total Force, thereby preserving critical capacity that would otherwise be forever lost,” they continued. 

In Louisiana, the 159th Fighter Wing at NAS JRB in New Orleans helps ensure air sovereignty as part of America’s homeland defense. The wing participates in major military exercises and overseas deployments. The Wing also remains an economic driver for the state, contributing $134 million to Louisiana’s gross domestic product.

“Our goal is to ensure invaluable fighter experience and capabilities can continue to be leveraged in support of our nation’s defense. We are committed to preserving the critical role that ANG and AFRC fighter squadrons play in our Nation’s defense and ask that you share any considerations or plans related to Total Force fighter recapitalization as they become available,” they concluded.

The lawmakers also asked that Secretary Kendall provide them with the Air Force’s assessment of fleet leveling in addition to any logistical challenges and the help that Congress may be able to provide in finding solutions that preserve crucial squadrons.

The full letter is available here.

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments when the Senate passed the legislation in October here.

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to stop the Biden administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from enforcing its Dodd Frank Section 1071 small business data collection rule.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) introduced the resolution of disapproval in the House and led the effort to pass it in that chamber. It now moves to the president’s desk.

By collecting and publishing personal demographic and other information, the CFPB is putting small business owners at risk of having their private financial affairs exposed to a watching world. Reporting these personal details is an invasion of privacy and a waste of resources in service of the CFPB’s woke agenda. This rule could hamstring lending to Main Street. The House is protecting Americans’ privacy and job creators by passing Congressman Williams’s crucial resolution, and I hope President Biden signs this legislation quickly,” said Kennedy.

“I applaud the House for passing S.J.Res.32 condemning the CFPB’s relentless attack on Main Street America. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and it is crucial that they can access affordable credit to support and grow our communities. During a time where small businesses are facing crushing inflation and increasing borrowing costs, it is important that we put an end to the CFPB’s broad, burdensome, and difficult to implement rulemaking. It is now Biden’s turn to listen to the American people and sign this bill into law instead of bowing down to out of touch unelected bureaucrats,” said Williams. 

Section 1071 requires covered financial institutions to collect and report certain personal information on small business loan applicants and report that to the CFPB. This information includes an applicant’s race, ethnicity and sex and whether the business is minority-owned, women-owned or LGBT-owned. The CFPB may then make certain parts of that information public, including data that could publicly identify the small business credit applicant.

In August, Kennedy led a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, urging the bureau to pause its 1071 data collection rule while the courts determine the validity of the Section 1071 rule.

Background

On March 30, 2023, the CFPB promulgated the final rule implementing Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which amends the ECOA. The rule was published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2023.

In order to comply with the Biden CFPB rule, financial institutions would have to collect information about applicants, including the applicant’s census tract, North American Industry Classification System and years in business—among other information.

  • The rule applies to financial institutions that originated at least 100 small business loans in each of the two preceding calendar years. 
  • Based on the number of credit transactions for small businesses, covered financial institutions must comply with the final rule beginning Oct. 1, 2024; April 1, 2025; or Jan. 1, 2026.
  • A small business is defined as a company with $5 million or less in revenue from the previous fiscal year.

Among the many concerns about the CFPB’s collecting and storing such personal information is that the agency recently experienced a data breach including the personally identifiable information of 256,000 consumers and failed to properly inform them for two months. 

The implementation of this rule may also reduce the availability and accessibility of small business credit by increasing compliance costs of lenders.

In Oct. 2023, the Senate passed Kennedy’s Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval of the CFPB rule to implement Dodd Frank Section 1071, which amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. In addition:

  • Kennedy introduced the Small LENDER Act to protect Louisiana’s small businesses’ access to capital. The legislation would block the Biden administration’s CFPB from requiring community banks and lenders to collect and report social data—such as race, gender and ethnicity—from borrowers. 

Text of Kennedy’s resolution is available here.

Video of Kennedy’s comments at the resolution’s Senate passage is here.

 

 

 

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today penned this op-ed in The Advocate explaining why Louisianians will continue to stand with Israel until it successfully defeats Hamas. Kennedy argued that nothing could justify the horrific acts Hamas committed against civilians in Israel and that Louisianians see through the anti-Israel spin that has consumed some in Washington.

“I’ve seen a lot of hand-wringing from folks who pretend that there’s some nuance we need to apply to the terrorist attacks of Oct. 7 before we can condemn Hamas and hold its supporters accountable. Many people promoting this idea believe that Israel got what it deserved. These people apparently believe in diversity, equity, inclusion and the right to kill Jews.

“In Louisiana, however, we understand that the men who slaughtered hundreds of young people at a peace concert are the bad guys. The men who raped women next to the bodies of their dead friends don’t deserve to be on this planet. The guys who forced kidnapped Holocaust survivors to pose for photos next to their terrorist captors are in the wrong.”

. . .

“At Louisiana’s Tulane University, activists broke a student’s nose because he opposed their anti-Israel demonstration. These protests didn’t occur in New York City, Cornell or Tulane by accident. Violent protestors targeted these areas because they are home to many Jewish Americans. New York is home to the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, and Tulane—which was the first university in the south to welcome Jewish students—has a student body today that is roughly 40% Jewish.

“When confused activists twist themselves in knots trying to justify the torture, rape and murder of Jews in the Middle East, they are feeding the fires of antisemitism here at home, too.”

. . .

“In Louisiana, we can see through the pseudo-intellectual hand-wringing of Israel’s critics. Hamas brutalized Israeli citizens and then ran home to hide behind their women and children. They are the lowest kind of sadists imaginable.”

. . .

“The world will be safer and more just when Hamas is not in it. By supporting Israel’s efforts, Americans are helping to ensure an attack like Oct. 7 never happens again.” 

Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $11,688,360 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida brought a great deal of destruction to our state and left debris in their paths. I’m thankful that this $11.7 million will help Jefferson Davis Electric and Terrebonne Parish with recovery efforts,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $8,822,061 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative, Inc. for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,866,299 to Terrebonne Parish for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Ida. 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a Senate Appropriations Committee member,  joined Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) and a bicameral group of colleagues in urging House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to prevent the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its rule to require more than two-thirds of all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be fully electric in fewer than nine years.

The lawmakers urged Johnson and McConnell to block funding for the mandate by including language from the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior-Environment Appropriations bill, which prevents the EPA from using any funding to implement the rule, in the FY24 government funding package.

“While we are supportive of the free market producing electric vehicles to satisfy a market need, this misguided EPA mandate would have an immediate, detrimental impact on the choices and affordability of cars, trucks, and SUVs available to our constituents,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The EPA’s proposed mandate will increase dependency on supply chains controlled by the Chinese government. Today, up to 90% of the electric vehicle battery supply chain relies on China. The batteries that power electric vehicles require critical minerals, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and manganese—and China processes 75% of these minerals. Additionally, China controls 76% of global battery cell production capacity. China’s dominance is only expected to continue for the foreseeable future with 67% of all forecasted battery cell manufacturing controlled by China in 2032. In contrast to China, the United States has 7% of global battery production capacity,” they continued.

The lawmakers also noted that the rule would jeopardize America’s national security and limit consumer choice, writing, “Not only would the EPA’s proposed regulation hurt America’s national security, but it would severely limit consumer choice for affordable vehicles that fit the needs of the average American. At a time of inflation, high interest rates, and rising costs, the last thing Americans need is to find both new and used vehicles unaffordable because of an EPA mandate.”

Currently, nearly 4,000 automotive dealers report that their lots are full of electric vehicles that the public does not want. They have asked President Biden for relief from his misguided sales mandate for electric vehicles.

The full letter is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in introducing the Traveler Privacy Protection Act of 2023 to safeguard Americans from facial recognition screenings that the federal government is implementing at airports across the country. The bill would repeal the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) authorization to use facial recognition and prevent the agency from further exploiting the technology and storing traveler’s biodata. 

“Every day, TSA scans thousands of Americans’ faces without their permission and without making it clear that travelers can opt out of the invasive screening. The Traveler Privacy Protection Act would protect every American from Big Brother’s intrusion by ending the facial recognition program,” said Kennedy.

“The TSA program is a precursor to a full-blown national surveillance state. Nothing could be more damaging to our national values of privacy and freedom. No government should be trusted with this power,” said Merkley.

Despite the TSA calling its plan to implement facial scans at more than 430 U.S. airports voluntary, passengers are largely unaware of their ability to opt out. Moreover, TSA does not effectively display notices at its check points to inform travelers that they have such an option.

To rectify this, the Traveler Privacy Protection Act of 2023 would:

  • Require explicit congressional authorization in order for the TSA to use facial recognition technology in the future. 
  • Immediately ban the TSA from expanding its pilot facial recognition program.
  • Require TSA to end its pilot facial recognition program and dispose of facial biometrics.

Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Text of the Traveler Privacy Protection Act of 2023 is available here

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,971,292 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura’s winds, rain and flooding did severe damage to the arts and humanities building at SOWELA Technical Community College. I’m grateful that this $4 million will help them continue to educate Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,971,292 to the Office of Risk Management to repair damages to the SOWELA Technical Community College arts and humanities building caused by Hurricane Laura.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in the Daily Advertiser explaining how school choice could improve education in Louisiana schools. Kennedy argues that no family should have to leave their children in a failing school. The piece also appeared in the Shreveport Times, Houma Today, The Daily Comet, The Town Talk, The News-Star, and Daily World.

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s op-ed include:

“As students eagerly await the holiday break, Louisiana parents may soon be catching a break of their own: school choice.

“For years, most Louisiana families have had little to no choice about where their child attends school. Parents can choose among 40 types of cereal to feed their kids for breakfast, but many have almost no say about which school their child spends seven hours every day—even if that school has proven it cannot help their child learn.” 

. . .

“No one is coming to save our schools in Louisiana but ourselves. If we want a prosperous future for Louisiana, we can’t keep trapping students in classrooms where they can’t learn. It’s time for school choice in Louisiana.”

 . . .

 School choice programs vary, but they all boil down to this foundational principle: Parents should be able to take their children out of failing schools and place them in schools that can help those children thrive. School board members have to earn parents’ votes, and schools should have to earn each student’s enrollment.”

. . .

 “School choice recognizes two truths that are key to Louisiana’s future: Every child can learn, and competition makes everyone better. School choice gives parents power, students hope, and every school a greater incentive to help young people succeed.”

Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here.