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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today addressed rising crime rates Americans are experiencing in the wake of Pres. Biden’s soft-on-crime policies.

Kennedy outlined the four steps needed to reduce crime in Louisiana and American communities:

  1. Hire more police officers.
  2. Keep police officers on the force.
  3. Get rid of prosecutors whose attitude is, “Hear no evil. See no evil. Prosecute no evil.”
  4. Stop disrespecting the police.

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s statement include:

“Long term, we can debate the solutions to crime, but short term, in my judgment, we have to do three things. Number one: We've got to hire more cops.”

 

“Number two: We're going to have to stop the retirements among our police officers. They're retiring in droves.”

 

“The third thing we need to do to get control of crime [won't] cost any money, but it may be the most difficult of all three of the things we have to do. We have to improve the morale of our cops, and that starts with our elected officials.”

“But I think that if you talk to most moms and dad in this country, and ask them what are they worried about when they lie down to sleep at night and can’t, I don’t think they’re worried about proper pronoun usage. I don’t think they’re worried about the president’s war against oil production in America. I think they’re more worried about their job and the economy and inflation, and I think they’re worried about crime.”

“And you’re not going to get control of crime until you keep the cops you have, you add more cops and you stand behind your cops when they’re right, which is 99.9 percent of the time. And folks, that doesn’t cost money.

“…We have sent a breathtaking amount of money to state and local government. I mean, they’ve got more money now than they’ve ever had in their entire histories, adjusted for inflation. They’ve got the money to do this.”

View Kennedy’s complete remarks here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Gary Peters’ (D-Mich.) resolution designating the week of Sept. 11 through Sept. 17, 2022 as Patriot Week. 

Patriot Week honors the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, celebrates Constitution Day and encourages students to delve into American history.

“Patriot Week celebrates what the American spirit is all about and encourages us to reflect on the people who shaped our nation. We will always remember the victims who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 and the many sacrifices first responders made that day. Patriot Week helps tell America’s story—a story that we can’t afford to forget,” said Kennedy.

“More than 21 years since the horrific Sept. 11th terrorist attacks on our nation, we must never forget how Americans rallied together to unite in the face of such tragedy. Patriot Week provides folks with an opportunity to honor those we lost on Sept. 11th, reflect on our nation’s history, engage in civics, and embrace the values and ideals that define who we are as a nation. I was proud to again work with Senator Kennedy to lead this bipartisan, annual recognition in the Senate, and am thankful to Judge Warren and his daughter for their efforts to help spearhead this movement,”said Peters. 

More than 10 states have officially recognized Patriot Week through gubernatorial proclamations and legislative resolutions.

Full text of the resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7,205,168 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“I’m grateful to see Youngsville receive this much-needed aid to protect against future flooding and bolster the city’s storm water management. This $7.2 million will help Youngsville and other parts of Louisiana protect themselves from natural disasters,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $5,230,350 to the city of Youngsville to construct retention ponds to mitigate flood damage.
  • $1,974,818 to the GOHSEP Statewide Planning Project to update hazard mitigation plans in Richland, Bossier, Caldwell, Grant, Lincoln, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Evangeline, East Baton Rouge, Ouachita, Caddo, Acadia, Winn, East Feliciana, Allen, Concordia, Jefferson Davis, Red River, Bienville, Union, Claiborne, Madison, Tensas, St. Charles, Avoyelles, Plaquemines, Ascension, Jackson, St. Tammany and St. Bernard Parishes.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $10,670,285 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida devastated far too many lives and livelihoods when they struck. I’m grateful to see this $10.6 million go to Natchitoches, Grand Isle and Sulphur where hard-working Louisianians can continue to rebuild together,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,784,434 to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,281,633 to the city of Natchitoches for the removal and replacement of damaged infrastructure related to Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,130,627 to the LA Department of Public Safety for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,029,759 to West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,009,687 to the town of Grand Isle for sand debris removal related to Hurricane Ida. 
  • $2,486,489 to Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,947,656 to Children’s Hospital for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) legislation, the Patient Advocate Tracker Act, to increase transparency and accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for veterans who report concerns they experience with VA health care services.

Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.

“The Patient Advocate Tracker Act will help America’s veterans overcome bureaucracy to get the efficient, effective health care they deserve. I am thankful for Rep. McClain’s leadership in the House and look forward to seeing the president sign this into law,” said Kennedy.

The VA uses the patient advocate tracking system (PATS) to track and report complaints from veterans. The Patient Advocate Tracker Act would allow veterans to access PATS in order to file complaints and view the status of those health care concerns, including interim and final actions that the VA has taken to resolve issues facing individual veterans. 

By granting veterans access to PATS, VA employees could more effectively route veterans’ concerns to the appropriate department within the VA, avoiding unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.  

Text of the Patient Advocate Tracker Act is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today celebrated the release of Sister Suellen Theresa Tennyson of the Marianites of Holy Cross convent, headquartered in Covington, Louisiana, from captivity. She has no serious injuries.

“I am grateful to God that Sister Suellen has been released from captivity, and I am thankful to everyone who helped return her to safety,”said Kennedy. 

On April 5, the Archdiocese of New Orleans informed Kennedy that Sister Suellen had been kidnapped during an attack by armed gunmen in the town of Yalgo, located in the country of Burkina Faso in West Africa. Kennedy’s office quickly alerted the Department of State of the crime and was notified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of her release on August 30.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released the following statement in response to a Statement of Protocol (SOP) agreement made between the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and Chinese authorities that increases scrutiny of Chinese companies that list on U.S. stock exchanges:

“Today’s agreement between the PCAOB and Beijing is only a first step in a long journey of China’s proving that its pattern of deceit and market manipulation is over. China needs to grasp that just one deception will get its companies booted off U.S. exchanges. 

“The SEC should make no exceptions. It must allow no loopholes. We have to hold China to the same standards as every other company and every other country that lists on American exchanges. 

“This agreement only highlights the need for Congress to strengthen the integrity of our markets by passing the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act without delay. It’s not time to give China any benefit of the doubt—not when Americans’ savings are at stake. It’s time to make even more certain that Beijing gives U.S. officials the information they need to keep U.S. investors safe from the schemes we’ve seen from China too many times before. The Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would allow the SEC to kick lying companies off our exchanges even faster.

“Here’s our message to China: We’ve got the regulatory hammer, and we will use it without flinching,” said Kennedy. 

The SOP includes the following agreements, which Chinese authorities have committed to:

  • The PCAOB will have sole discretion to select which firms to audit.
  • The PCAOB can retain documents for inspection and investigation purposes.  Additionally, audit work must be complete without redactions.
  • The PCAOB has direct access to interview and take testimony of personnel associated with audits the PCAOB inspects or investigates.
  • The PCAOB can share all of this data with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for all SEC-related purposes, including administrative or civil enforcement actions.

Background:

  • Kennedy’s legislation, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, was signed into law in 2020 in order to protect American investors and their savings from foreign companies that operate on U.S. stock exchanges while refusing to submit to SEC oversight.
  • In June, the Senate passed Kennedy’s legislation, the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which would increase accountability for Chinese companies that refuse to submit to U.S. financial oversight and close a loophole that Chinese companies use to avoid such oversight. 
  • Prior to the SOP agreement, China’s communist government refused to allow the PCAOB to inspect audits of companies registered in China and Hong Kong. Such companies represent a keen risk to American investors, as nearly 11 percent of all securities class action lawsuits in 2011 were brought against Chinese-owned companies accused of misrepresenting themselves in financial documents.  

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), along with Senate and House Judiciary Committee Chairs Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) released a revised version of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) to support small, local, independent and conservative news publications by giving them a level playing field in negotiations with Big Tech platforms that often prevent them from making a profit from their work online. 

The JCPA removes legal obstacles in order to permit small and mid-sized news organizations to negotiate jointly for compensation from digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, that access their content without allowing them to profit from their journalism. The legislation also allows news publishers to demand arbitration if they reach an impasse in negotiations with digital platforms. This bill would cover Louisiana’s major newspapers.

“Local papers—especially the independent papers in Louisiana—are the heart and soul of journalism, and they break the news that millions of Americans rely on every day. However, tech giants like Facebook and Google are hammering local publications by keeping them from making a profit on Big Tech platforms—and it’s killing local journalism. This bill supports the little guy by allowing local news providers to better negotiate with tech companies for the earnings they deserve,” said Kennedy.

“As the daughter of a newspaperman, I understand firsthand the vital role that a free press plays in strengthening our democracy. But local news is facing an existential crisis in our country, with ad revenues plummeting, newspapers closing, and many rural communities becoming ‘news deserts’ without access to local reporting. To preserve strong, independent journalism, we have to make sure news organizations are able to negotiate on a level playing field with the online platforms that have come to dominate news distribution and digital advertising. Our bipartisan legislation ensures media outlets will be able to engage in good faith negotiations to receive fair compensation from the Big Tech companies that profit from their news content, allowing journalists to continue their critical work of keeping communities informed,” said Klobuchar. 

The JCPA would:

  • Protect small or independent publications, including those that express conservative viewpoints, from being discriminated against by digital platforms. The bill would also provide a private right of action for violations of this rule.
  • Not apply to large publishers, including large mainstream outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.
  • Block retaliation against eligible digital journalism providers for participating in joint negotiations or arbitration and provide a private right of action for violations of this prohibition. 
  • Help independent, local or conservative online news publishers with less than 1,500 full-time employees and non-network news broadcasters to negotiate jointly with a covered digital outlet over the terms and conditions of the outlet’s access to digital news content. 
  • Require covered platforms to include those that have at least 50 million U.S.-based users or subscribers and are owned or controlled by a person that has either net annual sales or market capitalization greater than $550 billion or at least 1 billion worldwide monthly active users to negotiate in good faith with the eligible news organizations.
  • Enable digital news publications to demand final-offer arbitration if a joint negotiation with a covered platform does not result in an agreement after six months.
  • Create a limited safe harbor from federal and state antitrust laws for eligible digital journalism providers that allows them to participate in joint negotiations and arbitration and, as part of those negotiations, to jointly withhold their content from a covered platform.
  • Sunset within eight years.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cynthia Lummus (R-Wyo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and John Thune (R-S.D.) have joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers as cosponsors of the JCPA.

Full text of the JCPA can be found here.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $40,502,756 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida hit Louisianians hard, and we’re still rebuilding together. I’m glad this $40.5 million will go towards recovery efforts around the state and in St. James and LaFourche Parishes,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  •  $3,877,864 to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
  •  $3,321,906 to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
  •  $1,002,650 to St. James Parish Housing Authority for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  •  $12,075,872 to LaFourche Parish for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
  •  $ 20,314,462 to the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida. 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed for Defense News focused on how the United States must curb Chinese aggression in the Pacific.

Below are key excerpts:

“If anyone doubts Beijing’s commitment to aggressive Pacific expansionism, its response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan should remove any lingering uncertainty.”

. . .

“One of the clearest and easiest steps that Congress can take is to establish a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Similar to the European Union, the PIF is an international organization and includes Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Island nations.”

. . .

“China continues to wrap its economic, diplomatic, and military tentacles around smaller nations, and implications stretch far beyond Taipei. During World War II, Kiribati’s airport allowed American planes to refuel in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now, reports indicate that Kiribati will make a deal with China to upgrade its runway. No doubt Beijing recognizes the military significance of that airstrip. Apparently, the U.S. didn’t. Kiribati’s ambassador to the U.S. said the country asked Washington for help but was rebuffed.”

. . .

“Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and I are now giving Congress a bipartisan solution that the White House has already indicated it supports. Since there are no ambassadors to the PIF, the U.S. and Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act would establish a special envoy there. The Senate-confirmed role would elevate diplomacy in the region since it would offer the same access to the Oval Office as an ambassadorship. The position would also have the same accountability to Congress.

The U.S. can’t afford to be ignorant of the economic investments and military overtures China is making to our neighbors in the Pacific. Kiribati turned from diplomacy with Taiwan to China in 2019 and cut ties with the PIF this summer. Other Pacific Island nations could follow suit.”

. . .

“With members of both parties in Congress and the White House on board with establishing a permanent envoy to our friends in the South Pacific, we could and should cement this win quickly at a time when China’s growing belligerence doesn’t give America a moment to lose.”

Read Kennedy’s op-ed here.