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Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today asked Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Martin Gruenberg if he would like to apologize to his employees for the well-documented harassment and bullying that they endured under his leadership.

Kennedy also called on Gruenberg to resign so that a more qualified leader could step in to improve the culture at the FDIC.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself. . . . I'm embarrassed to have to even read some of these allegations,” Kennedy said.

“These folks on the first row behind you—are they FDIC employees? Would you like to turn around and apologize to the female employees sitting behind you at the FDIC?” Kennedy asked.

Gruenberg then turned and issued a short apology to FDIC employees, after which Kennedy added, “And now I think you ought to resign.”

Background

  • The FDIC recently published a report detailing the toxic culture that has unfolded at the agency under Chairman Gruenberg’s watch.
  • More than 500 of the FDIC’s 6,000 employees reported instances of sexual harassment, racial or gender discrimination, verbal abuse or other inappropriate behavior.
  • Several employees accused Gruenberg of threatening and verbally abusive conduct. Employees reported that Gruenberg has an explosive temper and often berated employees, including one instance where he threw the staff’s papers against the wall. One employee said, “In my entire career of 35 years, I’ve never had anybody treat me like that.”
  • Gruenberg has been on the FDIC’s Board of Directors since August 2005. During that time, at least 92 employees reported instances of harassment or discrimination to the agency. Investigators found that the FDIC did not fire, demote or cut the pay of a single alleged harasser while Gruenberg was on the FDIC’s board.
  • In 2021, President Joe Biden vowed to fire any appointee who disrespected his or her staff “on the spot.” The president also said he expects each appointee to similarly fire employees who disrespect their colleagues. Biden has not yet asked for Gruenberg’s resignation. 
  • Kennedy first called for Gruenberg’s resignation last year when revelations of his inappropriate conduct at the FDIC broke. He penned this op-ed in The Hill urging Gruenberg to resign so a new leader could address the culture problems within the agency.

 Watch Kennedy’s full exchange with Gruenberg here.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and 42 Republican senators introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing an anti-Second Amendment rule that would effectively require anyone who sells firearms to register as federal firearm licensees.

“The Biden administration is weaponizing every tool at its disposal against law-abiding gun-owners. Congress should vote to block Pres. Biden’s ATF from unconstitutionally creating new ways to strangle Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” said Kennedy.

The rule, titled “Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Dealer in Firearms,” would functionally force anyone who sells firearms—even small, part-time collectors—to register as federal firearm licensees and conduct background checks on those who purchase from them.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) is introducing the resolution in the House of Representatives.

“The ATF’s ‘engaged in the business’ rule represents President Biden’s latest attempt to institute universal background checks, advance the Left’s radical gun control agenda, and infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Private citizens simply shouldn’t be forced to jump through unelected, anti-gun bureaucrats’ unconstitutional hurdles to engage in lawful firearms transactions. I look forward to leading this critical CRA in the House, and I urge my colleagues in both chambers to support our measure to stop the Biden Administration’s tyranny in its tracks," said Clyde.

Background

  • In Feb. 2023, Kennedy joined Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and a bicameral group of Republican colleagues in urging Attorney General Merrick Garland and ATF Director Steven Dettelbach to explain the Biden administration’s unfair, zero-tolerance policies toward gun dealers.
  • In Mar. 2023, Kennedy introduced a CRA resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s ATF from an enforcing an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule.
  • In Mar. 2024, Kennedy secured a win for veterans that blocks the Biden administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs from unilaterally stripping veterans of their Second Amendment rights.

 

WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) today unanimously passed Sens. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) and Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. The bipartisan bill would curb erroneous payments to deceased individuals and save taxpayers millions of dollars.

In 2020, the senators’ Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law and established provisions to fix inefficiencies among government agencies’ communications that led the government to make erroneous payments to deceased individuals. The current proposal would make those solutions permanent. 

“The committee was right to advance our bipartisan bill to save taxpayers millions of dollars. There’s no reason for hard working Americans to be on the hook for government’s mistaken payments to dead people. The full Senate should pass our bill immediately,” said Kennedy.

“It’s important that we, as lawmakers, act as good stewards of American taxpayer dollars. Today, I was proud to join my colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to unanimously advance the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. Through my time in the Senate, I have worked hard to end improper payments and curb waste in government. I’m grateful for my partnership with Senator Kennedy as we continue this critical work, and I look forward to the whole Senate considering this bipartisan, commonsense legislation,”said Carper. 

The Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act would amend the Social Security Act to allow the Social Security Administration to share the Death Master File—a record of deceased individuals—with the Treasury Department’s Do Not Pay system on a permanent basis. This change would reign in the government’s pattern of making improper payments to deceased people into the future.

The bill would also allow Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system to compare death information from the Social Security Administration with personal information from other entities and to share this information with any paying or administering agency authorized to use the Do Not Pay system.

Background:

  • Kennedy and Carper's Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law in December 2020. The bill mandates the sharing of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File with the Department of the Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system for three years after enactment. The three-year exchange runs from December 27, 2023 to December 27, 2026.
  • In FY2023 alone, the Government Accountability Office estimated that federal agencies made an estimated $236 billion in improper payments in FY 2023, including payments to deceased Americans. The GAO estimated the cumulative federal improper payments have totaled about $2.7 trillion since FY 2003. 
  • In 2021, Kennedy wrote this op-ed sounding the alarm on alarm on billions in erroneous payments made by the government to deceased Americans.
  • In 2019, Kennedy questioned U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Hon. Gene L. Dodaro about improper payments to deceased people. 

Full text of the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today penned this column in LaPolitics’ Beltway Beat newsletter arguing that President Joe Biden must do more to help Louisiana combat fentanyl. Kennedy also urged Congress to support his Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act, a bill that would lower the amount of fentanyl a dealer must carry to face mandatory minimum sentences.

Key excerpts of Kennedy’s column include:

“Louisianians are fighting back against the poisonous scourge of fentanyl.

“Whether it’s the pastors in New Orleans who have started distributing Narcan to their parishioners or the convenience store owner in St. Bernard Parish who offers free fentanyl test strips at his register, Louisianians are doing all they can to save lives. 

“This battle against fentanyl overdoses, however, is not one that a state can win on its own. The Louisiana legislature has done some wonderful work to hold fentanyl dealers accountable, but President Biden’s failed border policies have turned fentanyl enforcement into a game of whack-a-mole.”

. . .

“If the Biden administration wanted to fix this problem, they would secure the border, hold cartels responsible, and ensure that fentanyl dealers face serious consequences for their crimes.

“It’s not astrophysics. Yet the Biden administration continues to follow the advice of open-border extremists rather than taking those simple steps to save American lives.” 

. . .

“My Democratic colleagues also blocked the Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act, my bill[,] which would decrease the amount of fentanyl a person can carry before they face a five or 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Today, these fentanyl dealers face shorter sentences than individuals who deal much less deadly drugs. That’s a problem.”

. . .

“Louisianians will not stop fighting to get fentanyl out of our communities. This fight would be a lot easier, however, if President Biden started to take this problem seriously. It’s not too late for the Biden administration to abandon its disastrous policies and join us in saving American lives.” 

Read Kennedy’s full column here.

Text of the Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $2,812,029 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida struck southeast Louisiana and left our communities with bad damage. This $2.8 million will help Louisianians in Ascension and Lafourche Parishes continue to recover,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,537,770 to the Franciscan Ministries of Our Lady Health System for the permanent restoration of the Franciscan Ministries OLS Building as a result of Hurricane Ida. 
  • $1,274,259 to Lafourche Parish for damages to the Lockport Ball Field Park as a result of Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking and Judiciary Committees, joined Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in introducing the No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act. 

The legislation would amend current law to bar federal employees and federal contractors who are convicted of sexual crimes, including aggravated sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children, sexual abuse of children and transportation for illegal sexual activity, from receiving federal government pensions.

“The No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act would ensure that government employees who commit sexual crimes don’t get to retire on Americans’ dime,” said Kennedy. 

The legislation would ensure that criminals convicted of sex crimes under federal law or a substantially similar state law would not be eligible to receive federal government pensions.

The conduct under Title 18 of the U.S. Code that would trigger federal employees to lose their pensions includes, for example:

  • 18 U.S.C. §?2241. Aggravated sexual abuse.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2242. Sexual abuse.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2243. Sexual abuse of a minor, a ward or an individual in federal custody.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2251. Sexual exploitation of children.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2251A. Selling or buying of children.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2252. Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2252A. Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2421A. Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2422. Coercion and enticement.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2423. Transportation of minors.
  • 18 U.S.C. §?2425. Use of interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor.

Background:  

  • On April 30, 2024, a former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) attorney was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to sexually exploit numerous children. 
  • In Nov. 2023, Kennedy questioned FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg at a Senate Banking Committee Hearing about reports indicating that Chairman Gruenberg has failed to address sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior within the agency.
  • On May 7, 2024, the FDIC released a report from an independent third-party review of allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct at the FDIC.  The independent report reveals that more than 500 FDIC employees reported misconduct, including incidents of sexual harassment gender-, sex- or race-based discrimination and verbal abuse.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R.-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Full text of the No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on Fox News and penned this op-ed explaining how several cities and states have abandoned their drug decriminalization policies to restore law and order. Kennedy argued that Congress should adopt stronger drug policies, including his Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act.

 “Unless you get your news from NPR, you already knew that allowing people to buy fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin without consequences would end in pain and chaos for both drug users and their communities.

 “Woke cities and states throughout the country are now scrambling to reinstall policies to restore law and order by deterring drug use.”

 . . .

 “These drug policy reversals are becoming the rule, not the exception. Other cities and states throughout the country—including Washington, D.C., Washington state and Boston—have taken steps to enforce drug laws after years of lax policies brought their residents nothing but misery.

 “Addiction is horrible. But policymakers cannot allow their empathy for Americans with addiction to blind them to the dangerous reality of drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine.

 “Drug overdoses killed an estimated 112,000 Americans in 2023—more than twice as many deaths as car crashes. Yet no sane lawmaker would legalize reckless driving. Heartbreaking stories in Oregon and San Francisco prove that deterrence must be part of the policymaking equation.”

 . . .

 “I don’t understand why some people seem wedded to the dumb-on-crime sentiments that San Francisco and Oregon have abandoned. The Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act wouldn’t affect people suffering from addiction. It would only punish dealers for the hell they’re unleashing on too many innocent families. Still, a few of my colleagues have blocked every effort I’ve made to get this bill signed into law.

 “Overdose deaths don’t make cities more livable. Open-air drug use doesn’t make communities safer or cleaner. Fair, clear penalties help stop people from hurting themselves and their neighbors.

 “I hope more woke cities and states admit this and correct their dangerous policies before more Americans fall victim to drugs and stupidity.”

 Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here.

 Watch his full interview here.

 Text of the Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and colleagues in introducing the Israel Security Assistance Support Act to condemn the Biden administration’s pause on arms transfers to Israel and require the administration to reverse its pause.

“The Biden administration might be set on ending defense support for Israel, but Congress and the American people aren’t going to support the terrorists. The Israel Security Assistance Support Act would ensure America’s greatest ally in the Middle East can destroy Hamas,” said Kennedy.

“President Biden’s decision to impose a de facto arms embargo on Israel is a betrayal of one of our most important allies as it fights an existential war for survival. This bill will reverse Joe Biden’s arms embargo and withhold the salaries of officials who implement it,” said Cotton.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives. 

“President Biden’s decision to withhold a portion of the Israel security aid just passed by an overwhelming and bipartisan majority of Congress projects the very weakness that has become a trademark of his presidency. If President Biden will not release these weapons, Congress must act to enforce the United States’ support for Israel in its efforts to eliminate Hamas. I thank Senator Cotton for his steadfast support for Israel and introduction of The Israel Security Assistance Support Act in the Senate,” said Calvert. 

The Israel Security Assistance Support Act would:

  • Compel the expeditious delivery of approved defense articles and services to Israel, including third-party deliveries.
  • Withhold funds from the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and the National Security Council until the U.S. delivers suspended defense articles.
  • Condemn the Biden administration’s dangerous decision to pause arms as Israel faces unprecedented threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and Iran.
  • Reaffirm Israel’s right to self-defense.
  • Uphold Congress’s power of the purse and oversight responsibilities.
  • Require a report on actions the executive branch takes to withhold security assistance and therefore impede Israel's ability to defend itself.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) also cosponsored the legislation. 

Full text of the resolution is here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in introducing the Senate companion to H.R. 7423, a resolution to designate the U.S. Postal Service facility located at 103 Benedette Street in Rayville, Louisiana, as the "Luke Letlow Post Office Building."

“Luke Letlow led an amazing life as a devoted Christian, husband, father and public servant. He dedicated his career to improving the lives of Louisianians, especially north Louisiana, and our state is very grateful for his life and contributions. Through the renaming of the post office in Rayville, I know Luke’s memory will live on for the years to come in Richland Parish,” said Kennedy.

Luke Letlow served Louisianians throughout his years of work in the congressional and gubernatorial offices of Bobby Jindal and later as the chief of staff to former Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.).

In 2020, Letlow was elected to represent Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District but passed away from complications due to COVID-19 just five days before being sworn into office. He left behind his wife, Congresswoman Julia Letlow, and two children, Jeremiah and Jacqueline.

“Luke’s death at too young of an age due to COVID robbed his family, Louisiana, and our nation of a man who served others his entire professional life. This post office naming memorializes his work, his life, and the tragedy of COVID,” said Cassidy.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) introduced the House’s resolution with the support of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Reps. Julia Letlow (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Garrett Graves (R-La.) and Troy Carter (D-La.). The House passed H.R. 7423 in a bipartisan vote.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in the Shreveport Times urging Congress to do more to protect women’s sports. Kennedy argues that no woman or girl should have to forfeit her safety or well-being just so a transgender athlete can feel included.

This piece also appeared in the Daily Advertiser, Houma Today, The Daily Comet, The Town Talk, The News-Star, The Weekly Citizen and Daily World.

Key excerpts of the op-ed are below:  

“From middle school gyms to NCAA swimming pools, activists seek to force women and girls to compete against biological men and boys. These activists claim it is a ‘myth’ that transgender athletes have an advantage, but most Americans know this is untrue and unfair.”

. . .

“Some activists claim that transgender athletes are different from typical men because they take cross-sex hormones. After two years of cross-sex hormone treatments, however, biological male athletes can still run 12% faster and pound out 10% more push-ups than women.

 “Allowing biological boys to compete as girls will harm women’s sports. Still, many activists believe their feelings and the feelings of transgender athletes are more important.”

 . . .

 “Many fair-minded people reject the idea that women and girls who work hard to develop their athletic talents must sacrifice their opportunities, privacy and safety to promote gender activism. I’m one of them.

 “Louisiana is full of fair-minded people. We recognize that it’s common sense for boys and girls to compete in separate leagues. That’s why a bipartisan coalition in the Louisiana legislature passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act to prevent biological boys from competing against biological girls in our elementary and high schools and from sharing their locker rooms.

 “Protecting women and girls in sports doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. Congress should follow Louisiana’s leadership and do more to protect girls, their sports, their scholarships, and their futures from a social experiment that is already proving to be unwise.” 

 Background: 

  • Transgender activists throughout the country have pushed athletic institutions to allow biological men and boys to compete against biological women and girls. Activists routinely deny that biological men have any athletic advantages over women. 
  • In reality, the physical athletic advantages of biological men begin in the womb. Baby boys experience a surge of testosterone that improves their motor skills and increases their aggression.
  • During puberty, boys develop larger hearts and lungs that allow them to take in more oxygen and pump blood more efficiently than girls. Girls develop a wider pelvis, which can decrease the force their legs can exert. Boys develop broader shoulders to carry additional upper-body muscle mass. The average man is five inches taller and has higher levels of bone density even when controlled for height. 
  • These developmental differences give biological men a significant athletic advantage that is even more prominent at the elite levels. High school boys, for example, routinely log faster sprint times than female Olympians, according to a study from Duke University. In many Olympic track or swimming events, the female world record holder wouldn’t qualify to compete against men. In strength-based sports such as weightlifting, men outperform elite women in the same weight class by as much as 30%.
  • In March, several collegiate female athletes filed a lawsuit against the NCAA. They allege that the NCAA violated their 14th Amendment right to bodily privacy by allowing biological males to share a locker room with them during competitions.

Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here.