Feb 27 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) attended today’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a 100-year-old World War I memorial in Prince George’s County, Md. This Supreme Court case, American Legion v. American Humanist Association, will determine if the cross-shaped memorial can legally sit on public property. The memorial honors 49 local men who fought and died in World War I.
In August, Sen. Kennedy joined a group of 109 members of Congress in submitting an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that defended the existence of the memorial.
“This memorial is not an infringement of freedom of religion. It is a symbolic monument to those who fought in World War I,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The First Amendment forbids the establishment of a national religion, but it also discourages hostility towards a particular religion. Bulldozing memorials seems pretty hostile to me. If the Supreme Court allows this memorial to be removed, then we risk setting a precedent of destroying every memorial, monument, building or tombstone on public property that references religious or Christian beliefs, and that would be just be plain wrong.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that he is a co-sponsor of the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act to ensure ALS patients no longer have to wait five months before they can receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
“ALS is a devastating diagnosis. We shouldn’t ask sufferers to wait five months before receiving benefits that are rightfully theirs,” said Sen. Kennedy. “ALS is a cruel disease that robs people of the ability to do something as simple as talking. It’s a disease that progresses quickly. I’m proud to support a bill that provides ALS sufferers with a small bit of relief.”
Feb 26 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today demanded that the Louisiana Department of Health tell taxpayers how much money was wasted on approximately 37,000 Medicaid recipients who were later found to be ineligible because of their income levels. Sen. Kennedy asked LDH to work with federal officials to recoup misspent money.
The Associated Press reported on Feb. 21 that the state sent letters to thousands of Medicaid recipients after checking income records and finding that they didn’t qualify for the program because they make too much money. The state only admitted to the mass mailing after The AP asked repeated questions. Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to look into audits that showed money was misspent in Louisiana’s Medicaid program. Among their concerns was that people with incomes exceeding $100,000 were allowed to enroll in Medicaid.
Sen. Kennedy will send his own letter to CMS this week based on the news report. He will ask CMS to recoup misspent money from Medicaid patients and determine what went wrong.
“LDH only admitted to the problems with the income eligibility of thousands of Medicaid recipients after repeated questions from The Associated Press. Sadly, this isn’t the first time Louisiana’s Medicaid program has been caught with ineligible people on the rolls. Just last year, the Legislative Auditor’s Office estimated that Louisiana likely misspent $85 million on Medicaid recipients whose income levels should have disqualified them,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Edwards administration fought tooth and nail against legislation that would have allowed the Auditor’s Office to use tax returns to verify Medicaid recipients’ eligibility. LDH should put out a welcome mat for the Auditor’s Office. Medicaid is funded through the generosity of the American taxpayer. Every single penny in funding is sacred. That’s why I plan to ask CMS Administrator Seema Verma this week what can be done to recover the money that’s been lost to waste and incompetence.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the authorization of the Venture Global Calcasieu Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility and a new pipeline in Cameron Parish. These projects will create approximately 2,000 construction jobs and a $4.25 billion investment into Louisiana’s economy. The projects were stalled for the past two months, and Sen. Kennedy has been working with the FERC to get the projects approved.
Venture Global is in the process of developing additional LNG projects in Plaquemines Parish.
“The oil and natural gas industry is the bread and butter of Louisiana’s economy,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The permit approval process is just like the rest of bureaucracy: burdensome and slow. But after several months of negotiations we got these projects approved and thousands of jobs will come to Louisiana because of it. This is a big win!”
Statement from FERC Chairman Chatterjee:
“Since I joined the Commission, it’s been a priority of mine to expedite and improve our LNG terminal application review process,” said Chairman Chatterjee. “I’m extremely pleased that we are issuing the certificate order for the Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal today. This facility will have the capacity to export 12 million metric tons of US LNG per year. But even more so, I really appreciate the efforts of my colleagues to work together to come to an agreement on this facility. This is significant, as I anticipate we’ll be able to use the framework developed in this order to evaluate the other LNG certificates that the Commission is considering.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today highlighted a number of wins for Louisianans in the appropriations package, including the passage of his proposal to increase the inspection of imported seafood by 26%. Shrimpers and fishermen in Louisiana requested the increase to fight competition from foreign fishermen who are unfairly subsidized by their governments and sell contaminated seafood.
“We know a significant portion of imported seafood is contaminated with banned drugs. Yet we’re only testing a fraction of the seafood that comes into the U.S. That’s about to change,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Louisiana produces the best seafood in the world. Our shrimpers and fishermen shouldn’t be put out of business by imported seafood that’s not fit for the dinner table. We’re going to catch the cheaters and boost our Louisiana seafood industry.”
Other wins for Louisiana in the appropriations package include:
- Investing $3.5 million to find out what’s killing the Roseau cane that protects Louisiana’s coast from storm surges and maintains navigational channels.
- $42 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which supports wetlands conservation projects.
- $68 million for the National Sea Grant Program, which is addressing coastal challenges in Louisiana.
- $1.694 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, ensuring that municipalities can tackle water infrastructure projects.
- Supporting agricultural and forestry research at public universities.
- Retaining 1,000 Louisiana jobs by keeping the National Finance Center in New Orleans.
- Investing in a program that fosters quality ship construction.
- $1.35 billion for the Orion Spacecraft, major parts of which are being built in Louisiana.
- $18.6 million for cybersecurity education and training, which helps Louisiana’s Cyber Innovation Center.
Feb 15 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced three service academy appointments today: Gabriella “Gabby” Berger, of Mandeville, and Annabel Avery Powers, of New Orleans, to the U.S. Naval Academy and Michael Cooper Roddy, of Clinton, to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Only a limited number of appointments are given to students across the U.S. every year.
Sen. Kennedy nominated all three students. Academies review nominations before narrowing the list and offering appointments. To learn more about the academy nomination process, click HERE.
“I am so proud of Gabby, Annabel and Michael for wanting to serve this great country,” said Sen. Kennedy. “They are outstanding students and smart as a whip. They are among the brightest, young minds in Louisiana. The Naval Academy and West Point will be lucky to get them.”
Berger is the daughter of Walter and Amy Berger. She attends Mandeville High School, where she has a 4.17 GPA.
Powers is the daughter of Bradford and Dolores Powers. She attends Lusher Charter School, where she is in the top 5% of her class.
Roddy is the son of Knight and Kevin Roddy. He is home schooled and scored a 33 on the ACT.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today the passage of S.Res. 77 designating Saturday through Feb. 23, 2019 as National FFA Week. Sen. Kennedy is a cosponsor of the resolution.
The National FFA Organization is a youth organization that prepares its members for leadership roles and careers in agriculture.
“The FFA has a long history of equipping young people to handle the future of agriculture,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Our Louisiana members of the FFA are passionate, smart and ready to tackle the agriculture industry. It’s an honor to celebrate their accomplishments and hard work.”
“With more than 11,000 FFA members in Indiana, it’s important to Hoosiers that we recognize the significant work the FFA does preparing our students to become leaders in the agriculture field and in their communities. This is a mission we should all support, and I’m glad that my Senate colleagues agree,” said Senator Young.
“The Delaware FFA and the National FFA Organization play an important role in strengthening our communities and preparing the next generation of leaders to meet agricultural challenges, and I’m proud to join them in celebrating National FFA Week by passing this bipartisan resolution,” said Senator Coons.
Feb 15 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced legislation to prevent federal workers’ and contractors’ credit reports from being adversely affected by the partial government shutdown.
The bipartisan Protect Federal Workers’ Credit Act requires credit bureaus to remove negative information from the credit reports of federal workers and contractors who missed payments as a result of the government shutdown. The bill would apply to the recent shutdown and any future government shutdowns.
“During the partial shutdown, federal workers were just innocent bystanders in a partisan political standoff,” said Sen. Kennedy. “There are real life, long-term harms to credit scores taking a hit because Congress forced workers to miss two paychecks. This bill not only protects federal employees from the last shutdown and any future shutdowns, but it ensures their credit scores accurately reflect their ability to repay. The bottom line is that they don’t deserve to be punished for circumstances that were out of their control.”
“Our federal workers and contractors shouldn’t have their financial lives ruined because leaders in Congress and the White House can’t get their act together,” said Sen. Schatz. “Our bill will protect federal employees and contractors and make sure their credit reports don’t take a hit if they fall behind on payments during a government shutdown.”
“The recent shutdown may be over, but federal employees and contractors are still feeling its effects. They shouldn’t have their credit scores threatened because the President recklessly decided to shutter the government for 35 days,” said Sen. Warner.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined S.172, the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019, to keep health care costs down for families across Louisiana by delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Tax. This punitive tax – if it is allowed to take effect - would increase costs for everyone from senior citizens to small businesses.
Sen. Kennedy also joined S.283, which would increase access to osteoporosis screenings for Medicare patients. Medicare reimbursement for these screenings has shrunk, resulting in an increase in hip fractures.
“Obamacare sucks, and the Health Insurance Tax really sucks. It would create $16 billion in additional fees on health insurance and send premiums through the roof. Health care is expensive enough without this ridiculous tax,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It’s also ridiculous to discourage health screenings that literally save lives. By testing for osteoporosis, we can prevent possibly fatal falls.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after voting today in favor of a Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations package:
“This package isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start toward protecting our southern border. It’s not $5.7 billion, but it’s also not the bounced check that Democrats wanted to write. Border walls work, and they’re needed to stop violent, illegal immigrants from getting into this country,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The package also gives the Coast Guard a pay raise. Active duty members will receive a 2.6% boost in pay, and they deserve it.”