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“It gives me great comfort to know that Louisiana has dedicated law enforcement officers like you who are committed to protecting our communities.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter to Captain Earl D. Nichols of the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Department to congratulate him on being named the 2020 Louisiana Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.

“It gives me great comfort to know that Louisiana has dedicated law enforcement officers like you who are committed to protecting our communities. . . . You put your life on the line, and you impress us with your bravery and sacrifice every day,” Kennedy wrote to Nichols.

Nichols began his career with the Rapides Sheriff’s Department in 1970, and he continues to work 32 hours a week. This year marks his 50-year anniversary as a commissioned deputy.

Read the full letter from Kennedy to Nichols here.

WASHINGTON — Today, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced an amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act that would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a phase down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons over the next 15 years. These chemicals, known as “HFCs,” are potent greenhouse gases used primarily as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioning systems.

Identical to the senators’ American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which is currently supported by a bipartisan group of 32 Senators—16 Republicans and 16 Democrats—this amendment would benefit U.S. industries that directly use or produce fluorocarbons and employ more than 593,000 Americans. This amendment would:

  • Save American consumers $3.7 billion over 15 years;
  • Increase U.S. manufacturing output by almost $39 billion over seven years; and,
  • Result in the creation of 150,000 more American jobs.

“If we want to keep America competitive in global industry, we need to continue investing in alternatives to HFCs. The amendment that dozens of my colleagues have cosponsored would save billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs—all while we protect the environment. Business and environmental groups support the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. If we give up the chance to move this amendment forward, America is going to look up in a few years and be the odd man out of the economic success that comes from transitioning away from HFCs,” said Kennedy.

“American companies have invested billions of dollars to produce and sell the next-generation technologies to replace HFCs. Our bipartisan amendment protects and builds upon these investments, and it would result in 150,000 new American jobs and almost $39 billion in annual economic benefits. At the same time, joining the rest of the global community in reducing HFCs could help avoid up to a half degree Celsius in global warming by the end of the century. I hope our colleagues will join us in supporting this amendment that will help American businesses and workers do well while doing what’s good for our planet,” said Carper.

The AIM Act was crafted with input from the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to give businesses a clear timeline for transitioning to new innovations in refrigerants. The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth phasedown that doesn’t disrupt jobs and leave the U.S. behind in an emerging global market. The global market is moving away from the use of HFC refrigerants, given that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requires their phase-out.

Sens. Kennedy and Carper are joined by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in cosponsoring the amendment.

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long agreed that our health system should protect men, women and kids with preexisting conditions, and my simple bill would do that regardless of what the Supreme Court may decide here.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Continuing Coverage for Preexisting Conditions Act of 2020 to keep in place legal protections for people with preexisting medical conditions.

“Americans with preexisting health conditions should have confidence that they’re going to keep the coverage they’ve been paying for. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have long agreed that our health system should protect men, women and kids with preexisting conditions, and my simple bill would do that regardless of what the Supreme Court may decide here,” said Kennedy.

The Supreme Court has decided to hear arguments about the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Continuing Coverage for Preexisting Conditions Act would ensure that coverage for preexisting conditions continues even if the court rules that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The text of this legislation is available here.

Supreme Court scheduled to hear oral arguments today in Liu v. Securities and Exchange Commission

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, released a statement today ahead of Supreme Court arguments in Liu v. SEC, a case challenging the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) enforcement powers to seek disgorgement on behalf of defrauded investors.

“Today’s argument in Liu v. SEC highlights the critical importance of affirming the SEC’s ability to protect investors through its disgorgement authority. Disgorgement authority is an essential enforcement tool that deters violations of our securities laws, protects Main Street investors, and helps compensate hardworking Americans who are victims of financial scams. Since the Court’s 2017 decision in Kokesh v. SEC, the SEC has forgone an estimated $1.1 billion in proceeds on behalf of harmed investors—a number that will only grow if the Supreme Court sides with the petitioners in this case—putting more money in the pockets of scammers and fraudsters while leaving ripped-off investors holding the bag. While we strongly believe that the SEC has the legal authority to seek disgorgement in civil actions, uncertainty from this case underscores the importance of congressional action to better protect harmed investors. In the Senate, we have introduced bipartisan legislation that would affirm the SEC’s disgorgement authority and expand its toolkit to increase financial recovery for harmed investors. The House passed similar legislation last year. We urge our colleagues in the Senate to act now by taking up this bipartisan effort,” said the senators.

Kennedy and Warner last year introduced the Securities Fraud Enforcement and Investor Compensation Act, bipartisan legislation that would give the SEC power to seek restitution for Main Street investors harmed by securities fraud. The bill would give the SEC a broader range of tools to seek compensation for investors who have lost money to Ponzi schemes and other investment scams.

“Last year’s floods created debris in West Feliciana Parish, and this grant will help clean up streets and revitalize communities there.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $2.49 million FEMA grant to remove flood debris in West Feliciana Parish.

“Last year’s floods created debris in West Feliciana Parish, and this grant will help clean up streets and revitalize communities there,” said Kennedy.

In September 2019, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration in the state of Louisiana as a result of severe flooding.  

“Banks can’t break the law because they find their duty to their clients inconvenient. Citibank’s misconduct shows us that the OCC must continue to watch it and other Wall Street giants like a hawk.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter to Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Joseph Otting praising the agency’s enforcement action against Citibank. From at least 2014 to 2017, the bank repeatedly violated the Flood Disaster Protection Act, and Kennedy urged the OCC to continue its enforcement efforts.

“Louisiana families know the risk of flooding all too well. The OCC is right to fine Citibank for failing to make sure homes and businesses in flood zones had flood insurance. Banks can’t break the law because they find their duty to their clients inconvenient. Citibank’s misconduct shows us that the OCC must continue to watch it and other Wall Street giants like a hawk,” said Kennedy.

The Flood Disaster Protection Act requires borrowers to purchase the appropriate flood insurance within 45 days after their lender tells them they need that insurance. If a borrower fails to purchase flood insurance within this period, the lender must purchase insurance on the borrower’s behalf.

In a pattern of illegal behavior, Citibank neglected to purchase the necessary flood insurance for borrowers with loans on properties located in designated flood hazard areas. The penalty for Citibank’s violations totals nearly $18 million.

Read Kennedy’s letter to the OCC here.

“It’s telling that, even after the FCC decided—in a divided vote—to give away $15 billion to foreign operations, those companies still aren’t happy. . . . People say appetites grow by indulgence, and it’s true: These foreign satellite firms want all four feet and their snout in the taxpayer trough. The FCC shouldn’t be helping them.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a party-line vote to pay foreign satellite companies up to $14.7 billion to stop using the section of radio waves known as the C-band.

“We still don’t know how the chairman arrived at his $15 billion gift. Why not surrender $14 billion to the foreign satellite giants, who don’t even own the airwaves they’ve been using? Why not $16 billion? We’re in real need of transparency here. Shelling out billions for airwaves we already own is no way to handle taxpayer money—especially when taxpayers want those dollars to support rural broadband.

“If the foreign satellite firms have it their way, Americans won’t see auction money go to broadband deployment. We learned that lesson in the 1930s when power companies wanted to leave rural America in the dark. People in rural American, though, are just as American as anyone else.

“It’s telling that, even after the FCC decided—in a divided vote—to give away $15 billion to foreign operations, those companies still aren’t happy. I suppose they’re angry their plan to scarf up all proceeds from the potential $70 billion auction didn’t work out. People say appetites grow by indulgence, and it’s true: These foreign satellite firms want all four feet and their snout in the taxpayer trough. The FCC shouldn’t be helping them.”

“Last year, floods tore up Louisiana roads. This funding will help make driving conditions safer for our communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $2.9 million grant from the Department of Transportation to repair roads across Louisiana.

“Last year, floods tore up Louisiana roads. This grant will help make driving conditions safer for our communities,” said Kennedy.

In February 2019, significant flooding damaged numerous federal roads around Louisiana. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will use the grant to fund road repairs in various parts of the state.

“Everyone has a right to petition the government, but the American people deserve to know whether a lobbyist has a history of corruption. The JACK Act is shedding light on swamp creatures who broke our laws.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that individuals with criminal histories have, over the past year, disclosed making at least $3.1 million lobbying in our nation’s capital. President Trump signed Kennedy’s Justice Against Corruption on K Street (JACK) Act into law in January 2019. The JACK Act requires lobbyists to disclose any convictions they have related to corruption.

“Everyone has a right to petition the government, but the American people deserve to know whether a lobbyist has a history of corruption. The JACK Act is shedding light on swamp creatures who broke our laws,” said Kennedy.

The bipartisan legislation amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which establishes requirements for lobbyists to disclose how much money they make representing issues to lawmakers as well as who pays them.

The JACK Act has made it possible for any American to find information about how much money is flowing to lobbyists convicted of crimes like bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion and money laundering.

“Millions of travelers fly to and from Louisiana airports each year. This funding will promote safety, reduce delays and make air travel more efficient.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $10.9 million in federal grants from the Department of Transportation to improve airports across Louisiana.

“Millions of travelers fly to and from Louisiana airports each year. This funding will promote safety, reduce delays and make air travel more efficient,” said Kennedy.

Louisiana airports receiving grants include:

  • $2.6 million will help build 8,000 feet of taxiway pavement at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.
  • $2 million will help build two new passenger loading bridges in the terminal building of Lake Charles Regional Airport.
  • $2 million will help repair runway pavement and lighting for the Minden airport.
  • $700,000 will help the Slidell airport repair 28,000 square yards of apron pavement.
  • $552,819 will help build a 550-foot taxiway at the Kelly-Dumas Airport in Oak Grove.
  • $500,400 will help remove obstructions at the Morehouse Memorial Airport in Bastrop.
  • $454,021 will help improve drainage at the Le Gros Memorial Airport in Crowley.
  • $398,000 will help the Leesville airport repair 4,000 feet of existing runway.
  • $356,700 will help the Jennings airport repair 6,000 feet of existing runway.
  • $315,000 will help the Houma-Terrebonne airport repair 2,260 feet of taxiway pavement.
  • $247,500 will help repair 12,000 square yards of apron pavement at the Hart Airport in Many.
  • $165,000 will help the Natchitoches Regional Airport repave runways and taxiways.
  • $150,000 will help remove obstructions at the South Lafourche Leonard Miller Jr Airport in Galliano.
  • $135,000 will help repair runways at the John H. Hooks Memorial Airport in Rayville.
  • $135,000 will help remove obstructions at the Union Parish Airport in Farmerville.
  • $103,500 will help remove obstructions at the Jena airport.
  • $72,000 will help improve the taxiway lighting system at the Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles.