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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and colleagues in introducing the Prohibiting Taxpayer Funded Settlements for Illegal Immigrants Act to block President Biden’s reported plan to spend $450,000 per person for legal settlements for illegal immigrants. This plan could cost more than one billion dollars in taxpayer money.

“Sending money to illegal immigrants rewards people for breaking the law, and that only makes the border crisis more dangerous. These settlements with illegal aliens would be a bitter insult to every person who has come to America by respecting our laws and borders. I’m happy to partner with Sen. Daines to prevent the Biden administration from undermining and apologizing for the rule of law,” said Kennedy.

“Biden’s open border policies have reached a new crazy level. Montana families are struggling with inflation and skyrocketing costs on everything from gas to groceries because of Biden’s wasteful spending policies, and now the President wants to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal immigrants. Because of Biden, our southern border has been taken over by Mexican cartels and this effort will only continue to incentivize illegal immigration making it worse. This is a gut punch to the American taxpayer,” said Daines.

Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) also cosponsored the legislation.

The senators are also introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 that would prevent taxpayer-funded settlements for illegal immigrants.

Text of the Prohibiting Taxpayer Funded Settlements for Illegal Immigrants Act is available here.

Text of the NDAA amendment is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) in introducing the Small Scale LNG Access Act to make it easier for small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers to export their product.

“Louisiana is the leading state for LNG production and export, and the Small Scale LNG Access Act would help our state continue to supply our allies with the clean energy they need. America’s economy and national security are tied to our energy independence, so we need more freedom to make the most of our energy resources,” said Kennedy.

“The United States cannot continue to cede energy production to countries like Russia and Iran. Producing cleaner burning natural gas here in the U.S. creates American jobs and exporting it abroad decreases global emissions. This bill benefits Louisiana workers, unleashes our energy dominance, and improves our environment,” said Cassidy.

“Expediting approval of small-scale natural gas exports would strengthen an emerging sector of Florida’s economy and bolster our existing ties with Caribbean and Latin American nations. Importantly, the bill would also ensure that bad actors, including the criminal regimes in Venezuela and Cuba, do not benefit from expedited access to American energy exports while they continue to undermine democracy and commit human rights atrocities,” said Rubio.

“Reducing the burden of federal regulations will mean more good paying jobs for Florida families in the emerging industry of small scale natural gas exports. Anything we can do to make LNG more accessible and cost-effective to our partners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and decrease their reliance on Maduro and Venezuelan oil is good for the United States,” said Scott. 

“We must do everything we can to unleash American energy development, especially as the current administration does the opposite. That’s why I am proud to join Sen. Cassidy and my other Republican colleagues in introducing the Small Scale LNG Access Act to ensure the expedited, streamlined approval of small-scale LNG exports. This would be a boon to American jobs and provide long-term stability for suppliers here at home, while also helping Caribbean and Latin American countries get access to clean and reliable natural gas,” said Inhofe.

The Small Scale LNG Access Act would codify into law a Department of Energy rule that expedites the approval process for facilities that export small-scale shipments of LNG. Streamlining the approval process would boost American LNG production and promote job growth.

Kennedy previously helped introduce the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act to remove regulatory bottlenecks on the LNG trade. Kennedy’s op-ed about the bill is available here.

Text of the Small Scale LNG Access Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and six others in introducing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reauthorization and Reform Act to reauthorize the NFIP for five years and reform the program to cut waste, abuse and mismanagement. The legislation would improve the accountability, affordability and sustainability of the NFIP and place guardrails on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new Risk Rating 2.0 system, which drastically hikes Americans’ flood insurance premiums.

“Roughly half-a-million Louisianians depend on flood insurance to safeguard their homes and businesses. The National Flood Insurance Program protects workers and families who need to take care of their biggest investments—their homes. We have to extend this program and protect it from political games,” said Kennedy.

“We need to reform the NFIP to ensure it is affordable and accessible for the homeowner, accountable to the taxpayer, and sustainable for the future. This bill is full of real solutions to achieve these goals,” said Dr. Cassidy.

The bill emphasizes prevention and mitigation efforts and addresses issues with FEMA’s management of the NFIP, including low participation rates, inaccurate flood maps, indifference to the benefits of flood control infrastructure, unsustainable debt service costs and contractor profiteering.

Background

FEMA implemented Risk Rating 2.0, its new NFIP rating system, last month. Risk Rating 2.0 hikes rates on insurance premiums, forcing homeowners to drop coverage or lose their homes. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that 900,000 policyholders (who make up nearly 20 percent of the program) will drop NFIP coverage as a result of Risk Rating 2.0. The NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act will put guardrails on Risk Rating 2.0 to safeguard policyholders from sudden rate shocks.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican senators wrote to President Joe Biden to oppose his administration’s reported plan to offer illegal immigrants up to $450,000 per person in taxpayer dollars to settle lawsuits resulting from those individuals’ violating U.S. immigration law.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) joined Kennedy in asking the president to refuse to issue any settlement payments for immigrants who broke U.S. laws.

“At a time when respect for our country’s immigration laws is at an all-time low, our federal government is now seeking to financially reward aliens who broke our laws,” wrote the senators.

According to media reporting, the federal government is considering paying out more than $1 billion to illegal immigrants based on allegations against the Department of Homeland Security.

“These illegal immigrants disregarded our immigration processes, cut in front of those seeking to legally enter our nation, and put children at risk of great personal injury or death by placing them in the hands of abusive smugglers. Not only would these settlements be breathtakingly unjust and unwise, but they reinforce the conditions that make it easy for the cartels to recruit more people to undertake the treacherous journey to our southwest border, and serve only to encourage more illegal immigration,” they continued.

“Americans are a kind and generous people who welcome a diverse array of immigrants from around the world. Our nation has been made stronger by the generations of legal immigrants that have contributed to our country and achieved the American Dream. But rewarding illegal immigration with financial payments runs counter to our laws and would only serve to encourage more lawlessness at our border,” the senators concluded.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in requesting that Attorney General Merrick Garland provide the evidence he used to draft a memo targeting parents exercising their First Amendment rights.

“Please provide all evidence you personally used or relied on between Wednesday, September 29, 2021, and Monday, October 4, 2021—other than the content of the [National School Boards Association] letter dated Wednesday, September 29—that formed the basis for the memo issued by the [Department of Justice] dated Monday, October 4th that addressed ‘ . . . harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff . . . ’,” the senators wrote.

“Please respond in writing by Monday, November 1, 2021 . . . Because you were able to distill your evidence and craft a memo that fixed the gaze of the FBI directly on concerned parents across this country in just four days, you should be able to share that evidence with us in the same period of time,” the senators concluded.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) also signed the letter.

Watch Kennedy’s questioning of Garland about his memo here.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Main Street Growth Act to expand small companies’ access to capital markets.

“Small business owners work hard to serve their communities, but existing capital markets aren’t wide open to these job creators. The Main Street Growth Act would give smaller companies the option of listing on their own specialized exchanges, where they would be more visible to investors. These exchanges would promote growth in America’s economy by better meeting the needs of small business owners, their employees and investors,” said Kennedy.

Small companies often have difficulty accessing capital markets because their stocks are less visible and are traded less frequently than the stocks of larger companies.

The Main Street Growth Act would create tailored, dedicated exchanges known as “venture exchanges” for trading stocks in smaller companies. Giving small companies their own specialized exchanges would increase their visibility and access to capital. Venture exchanges would also give investors more access to the potential growth opportunities that small companies offer.

Listing on a venture exchange would be completely optional for small businesses, start-ups and emerging growth companies that qualify under the bill.

Text of the Main Street Growth Act is available here.


Watch Kennedy’s questioning here.


WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The senator’s questions focused on why the Justice Department (DOJ) has not reversed its memo targeting parents after the National School Boards Association stated that it regretted and apologized for its letter asking DOJ to intervene. 

Key excerpts include:

Kennedy: “When you got [the letter] that prompted your memorandum to give the FBI new duties in making sure our parents aren’t dangerous domestic terrorists, you didn’t investigate before you issued your memorandum the incidents cited in the letter, did you?”

Garland: “Look, I took the statement by the National Association, which represents thousands of school board members. When they said that they were facing violence and threats of violence, and when I saw on the news media reports—”

Kennedy: “But you didn’t investigate the incidents in the letter, did you?”

Garland: “This is the first step. This is an assessment step that comes before investigations.”

Kennedy: “Right. Before you issued your memo, you didn’t investigate the incident.”


Kennedy: “Can we agree that we have thousands, tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of kids growing up today who are more likely to commit a crime and go to jail than own the home and get married?”

Garland: “I don’t know about the comparative statistics. I do know there are too many people who are committing crime.”

Kennedy: “And one of the reasons for that is lack of parental involvement, isn’t it?”

Garland: “I think parental involvement is essential. I think it’s key both to bringing up good kids.”

Kennedy: “So, why do you want to issue a memorandum listing incidents that you didn’t investigate that anybody who has any fair-minded knowledge of the world knows is going to have a chilling effect on parental involvement with respect to what their kids are learning at school?”

Garland: “Just want to be clear, again, Senator, my memorandum did not list any of those incidents.”

Kennedy: “Come on, general. We both know this had a chilling effect. You don’t think there are parents out there in the real world that said, ‘Oh, my God. Maybe we shouldn’t go to the school board meeting. There'll be FBI agents there.’ This isn’t La La Land.”

Watch the video of Kennedy’s questioning here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $594,931,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for disaster recovery from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. This funding comes to Louisiana through the government funding bill, the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Act, that was recently signed into law.  

Sen. Kennedy advocated for the inclusion of the disaster relief for Louisiana in the bill.

“Louisianians are still reeling from the damage left by Laura and Delta. We need a helping hand as we rebuild, and I am pleased to see this $594.9 million that Congress set aside for Louisiana’s recovery efforts come to our state,” said Kennedy.

The Louisiana Office of Community Development will receive the award in the form of a community development block grant from HUD. The funds are part of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Act. 

Background on Kennedy’s response to historic natural disasters:

  • On October 19, the Senate passed the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, cosponsored by Kennedy. 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.

  • On Sept. 30, Kennedy voted in support of a short-term funding bill to send disaster aid to Louisiana and to extend the National Flood Insurance Program without raising the debt limit. This bill provided the $595 million awarded to Louisiana above.
  • On August 2, 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.  
  • On July 15, 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, Kennedy again urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana. 
  • On May 13, Kennedy helped introduce 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. 
  • In September 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 wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III regarding the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate and the Navy’s recent order that U.S. military service members could lose their veterans’ benefits for failing to comply with the mandate.

“Without an approved medical exemption or religious accommodation, service members who decline to fully vaccinate against COVID-19 within the timelines prescribed by Secretaries of Military Departments will be found to have disobeyed a lawful general order. . . . As a result, service members found in violation may face punitive or administrative action, including the initiation of discharge proceedings,” wrote Kennedy. 

“These heroes are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to defend American liberties, but they are now losing their own freedom and possibly their livelihoods at the hands of this administration,” he continued.

Kennedy also raised concerns that the vaccine mandate will compromise military readiness and America’s national security at a time when America’s adversaries are looking for weakness in U.S. resolve and readiness. 

The senator asked Austin whether service members discharged because of the vaccine mandate will receive an honorable or dishonorable discharge and what benefits these service members stand to lose as a consequence of the mandate. 

“I support the vaccine, but I also support the freedom Americans have to make their own medical decisions concerning this vaccine. Coercing service members to take this vaccine by threatening their honor, livelihoods, and benefits runs contrary to our shared American values and undermines our national security interests,” concluded Kennedy.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,582,575 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) award for disaster recovery in West Feliciana Parish.

“The West Feliciana Parish community is still recuperating from the flooding of 2016, and I am pleased to see this $1.58 million help repair the Plettenburg Bridge,” said Kennedy. 

FEMA will award $1,582,575 to West Feliciana Parish to repair damage to the Plettenburg Bridge that connects to Cat Island. Severe storms and flooding in 2016 impaired the structural integrity of the bridge, which included the loss of concrete support elements, bridge deck, guard rail, embankment and asphalt approaches on both ends of the bridge. This grant will cover 90% of the project cost.