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“China’s government pressures U.S. businesses to read from its communist song sheet while planting its state-owned factories on American soil. Meanwhile, the CCP spies on our citizens and steals our innovation. It’s time to take specific, decisive steps to protect Americans and their businesses from the CCP’s attacks.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced three bills aimed at protecting Americans from the schemes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which routinely spies on American citizens and bullies American businesses.

“Communist China’s ambition is to eclipse America’s economy and erase our freedoms, and it plays the long game. China’s government pressures U.S. businesses to read from its communist song sheet while planting its state-owned factories on American soil. Meanwhile, the CCP spies on our citizens and steals our innovation. It’s time to take specific, decisive steps to protect Americans and their businesses from the CCP’s attacks, and that’s what these bills do,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy’s package includes the Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act, WeChat No More Act and Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act.

Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act 

The Chinese Communist Party often pressures U.S. companies to speak and act against their own interests and against American liberties. The Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act prohibits companies that do business in the U.S. from making public statements that reflect the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party.

Whether a company is U.S.- or foreign-owned, the Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act would prohibit companies operating in America from taking actions that are either against their fiduciary interests or at the bidding of China’s government. 

The legislation would also make it illegal for companies to provide China’s government with the personal information of Chinese dissidents.

WeChat No More Act

WeChat has direct connections to the CCP, and the company spread pro-China misinformation with the goal of influencing the American public during the 2016 election. The platform censors topics like the #MeToo movement and Chinese public health scandals.

The WeChat No More Act would prohibit federal officials, federal employees and Members of Congress from downloading WeChat on government devices, with limited exceptions, including intelligence or cybersecurity activities.

This legislation is critical to America’s national security as WeChat is the most popular messaging application in China, with more than one billion users. As a result, people outside of China often depend on WeChat to communicate with those inside China’s borders.

Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act

While the Chinese government keeps its domestic markets largely insulated from foreign influence, it regularly invests in the U.S. and other countries under the “greenfield” model. Firms fully owned by China’s communist regime are increasingly buying land, building factories and taking advantage of state and local tax breaks on American soil.

The goal of such state-operated enterprises is to siphon assets, technological innovation and influence away from U.S. businesses in order to expand the global presence of the Chinese Communist Party. 

The Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act would put Chinese greenfield initiatives under the review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS would review these investments for national security purposes. The bill would extend CFIUS jurisdiction to cover greenfield investments made by entities under the control of the Chinese government. The legislation would also make it mandatory for greenfield investments to file a declaration with CFIUS if China’s government has a substantial interest in the investment.

“Now is the time we should be doing more to ensure the survival of rural hospitals, not expediting their demise. We ask you to please reconsider this action and work with Congress to ensure the long-term vitality of our rural hospitals.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today asked Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to reconsider a regulatory action that will force rural providers to repay up to 80 percent of their forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through reductions in future Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

“This action is unacceptable. Not only will this exacerbate financial burdens for rural hospitals already operating on razor thin margins, but it will likely prove to be a catalyst in expediting the rural hospital closure crisis at a moment when many of these rural areas are current COVID-19 hotspots in need of the most assistance,” wrote Kennedy.

“The PPP was designed to help struggling businesses survive the economic impact brought on by COVID-19 and served as a lifeline for the rural hospitals,” continued Kennedy. “Louisiana, for example, is home to 57 rural hospitals—nine of which are deemed vulnerable—and 44 percent are currently operating at a loss.”

The letter also notes that President Trump yesterday issued an executive order to provide assistance to rural health providers.

“Now is the time we should be doing more to ensure the survival of rural hospitals, not expediting their demise. We ask you to please reconsider this action and work with Congress to ensure the long-term vitality of our rural hospitals,” Kennedy concluded.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

“Opioid addiction has impacted thousands around Louisiana, and this funding will support critical services to help our communities battle substance abuse.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,984,910 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to support drug treatment projects around Louisiana.

“Opioid addiction has impacted thousands around Louisiana, and this funding will support critical services to help our communities battle substance abuse,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $4,984,910 to support the Overdose Date to Action program through the Louisiana Department of Health.

  • $1,000,000 to support the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program through Louisiana Primary Care Association, Inc.

“During hurricane season, Louisiana must take appropriate steps to protect residents from flood damage. This grant will help safeguard property for communities in Jefferson Parish.”

 MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $11,141,987 FEMA grant to support the elevation of 63 flood-prone structures in Jefferson Parish.

“During hurricane season, Louisiana must take appropriate steps to protect residents from flood damage. This grant will help safeguard property for communities in Jefferson Parish,” said Kennedy.

This funding is authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act. In compliance with state and local building codes, structures will be elevated two feet above the base flood elevation or higher, depending on sea level rise predictions.

“Louisiana’s wetlands protect our state from hurricanes and other serious storms. For years, nutria have devoured miles of our marshes, and some areas have no chance of growing back. This bill would help prevent these invasive swamp rats from further destroying Louisiana’s marshland.”

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation to amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act.

The legislation would authorize an additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states participating in the Nutria Eradication Program, which provides funding to states that implement initiatives to eradicate the invasive species. The measure also makes financial assistance proportional to the total area of a state that is affected by nutria.

“Louisiana’s wetlands protect our state from hurricanes and other serious storms. For years, nutria have devoured miles of our marshes, and some areas have no chance of growing back. This bill would help prevent these invasive swamp rats from further destroying Louisiana’s marshland,” said Kennedy.

“The explosive population growth of the nutria rodent could overwhelm our farms and wetlands if we don’t take aggressive action now. In California, there could be as many as 250,000 nutria within five years that could cause more than $1.2 billion a year in agriculture losses and eradication costs. Our bill will make all states eligible for federal funds to control this invasive species and stop its spread before we lose control of the situation,” said Feinstein.

“Fighting HIV and promoting the health and education of Louisiana’s youngest kids are priorities for our state, and I’m glad to see HHS award these grants to Louisiana.”

 WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $8,029,141 in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health projects around Louisiana.

“Fighting HIV and promoting the health and education of Louisiana’s youngest kids are priorities for our state, and I’m glad to see HHS award these grants to Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $3,417,182 to support the Early Head Start program through the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

  • $3,232,231 to support integrated programs to combat the HIV epidemic through the Louisiana Department of Health.

  • $1,379,728 to support the Head Start program through Regina Coeli Child Development Center, Inc.

 

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today praised the confirmation of David Joseph as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.

“David Joseph has served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana since 2018 and is well-respected in the Louisiana legal community. I’m confident he will serve our state well as a district court judge, and I am proud to have supported his nomination,” said Kennedy.

“David Joseph’s intelligence, integrity, and experience make him an ideal federal judge. He will serve the Western District of Louisiana and our country well. I’m very happy for David and his family. I thank him for serving our country,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“Whether hurricane season is here or on the way, Louisiana must prepare to protect residents from flooding. These funds will help support critical flood management projects to safeguard our communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,467,805 in FEMA funding to support flood management projects around Louisiana.

“Whether hurricane season is here or on the way, Louisiana must prepare to protect residents from flooding. These funds will help support critical flood management projects to safeguard our communities,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $2,037,145 to help implement flood mitigation projects as a result of repetitive damage.

  • $1,430,660 to support repair and replacement of the Reach K levee in Lafourche Parish, which was damaged by Hurricane Barry.

 

“For months, state and local governments have been working under the weight of an incredible health crisis. Giving those governments the flexibility to help their communities weather this pandemic—by using money they already have—is a no-brainer. I’m glad to see this commonsense provision in the Senate’s relief package.” 

WASHINGTON– Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility for State and Local Government Act has been included in the Senate’s coronavirus relief package. The bill would give state and local governments more flexibility as they use funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“For months, state and local governments have been working under the weight of an incredible health crisis. Giving those governments the flexibility to help their communities weather this pandemic—by using money they already have—is a no-brainer. I’m glad to see this commonsense provision in the Senate’s relief package,” said Kennedy.

The Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility for State and Local Government Act would allow states and local governments to use CARES Act funding for operating expenses unrelated to the coronavirus. This bill does not allow officials to spend this CARES Act money on shoring up their pension funds.

The CARES Act established the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which has provided payments to state, local and tribal governments to help them respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Every state received at least $1.25 billion from this allocation.

“Louisiana’s future depends on the next generation of problem solvers, and this funding will help support important research and education projects to give our students the resources to succeed.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $4,076,892 in grant funding to help support education and research projects around Louisiana.

“Louisiana’s future depends on the next generation of problem solvers, and this funding will help support important research and education projects to give our students the resources to succeed,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $2,715,141 from the Department of Health and Human Services to help support the Head Start program through the Iberville Parish School Board.

  • $1,361,751 from the National Science Foundation to support the purchase of a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer to help train Louisiana State University students in spectroscopy, chemical and structural biology, microbiology, plant biology and biomaterial research.