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WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) issued a bipartisan report titled, “Insulin Deserts: The Urgency of Lowering the Cost of Insulin for Everyone” that highlights insulin disparities across the U.S. The senators’ report confirms the need to make prices for the life-saving medicine more affordable for Americans who suffer from diabetes.

In March, Kennedy and Warnock introduced the Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023 to cap the price of insulin for all patients, including those who are uninsured, at $35 for a 30-day supply. 

“The cost of insulin is rising for too many Louisianians who rely on it just to survive. I’m grateful to work with Sen. Warnock to issue this bipartisan report, which details the need for Congress to pass our Affordable Insulin Now Act. By capping prices at $35 for every patient, we can help lower future health care costs associated with complications that arise from untreated diabetes,” said Kennedy. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that Americans spend $327 billion annually to cover health care expenses and lost wages related to diabetic care. Louisiana alone spends an estimated $5.7 billion on care related to diabetes each year.  

“This alarming report makes clear who will be left behind if Congress fails to pass my $35 insulin cost cap, including uninsured Georgians who live in the 105 counties considered insulin deserts. There’s good news though: my bipartisan legislation with Senator Kennedy would ensure that uninsured folks, especially folks in insulin deserts, are able to afford their insulin by capping their cost at $35 a month,” said Warnock.

Kennedy and Warnock’s report finds that there are 813 counties in America that are “insulin deserts,” places where 16% or more of the population is uninsured and 10% or more of the population has diabetes.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023 would:

  • Require private group or individual plans to cover one of each insulin dosage form (i.e. vial, pen) and insulin type (i.e. rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting or long-acting) for no more than $35 per month.
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a program to reimburse qualifying entities for covering any costs that exceed $35 for providing a 30-day supply of insulin to uninsured patients. 
  • Be fully paid for by an offset, so it will not add to the deficit.

In addition to the Affordable Insulin Now Act, Kennedy last year introduced an amendment to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to cap insulin costs. In 2021, Kennedy introduced the Seniors Saving on Insulin Act, the Vital Medication Affordability Act and the Ending Pricey Insulin Act  to address skyrocketing insulin and epinephrine prices.    

Kennedy also penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner to highlight how capping the price of insulin would save Americans money overall and an op-ed in the Ouachita Citizen that details legislative solutions to lower the costs of insulin for Louisiana families.

Read the full report here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Jacklyn Rosen (D-Nev.) in urging the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Linda Thomas-Greenfield, to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council recognizing and imposing sanctions on Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

“Recent events have demonstrated that Hamas’ actions, tactics, and stated goals are in many ways indistinguishable from Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist organizations the United Nations (UN) has sanctioned. Therefore, we write to urge you to bring a resolution to the UN Security Council recognizing and imposing sanctions on Hamas as a terrorist organization,” the senators wrote. 

“Hamas terrorists have committed and continue to commit abhorrent, grizzly attacks that not only impact Israelis but also directly impact Americans citizens, with at least 32 Americans killed and countless more held [captive] as a result of the terrorist attack on October 7. In fact, Hamas hostages come from 25 countries around the world. Hamas’ reign of terror is not just an Israeli problem, but one that impacts us all,” they continued.

The senators raised concerns about the consequences of the UN not recognizing Hamas as a terrorist organization, including a lack of a unified voice among the international community in responding to one of the worst terrorist attacks in history.

“The absence of UN sanctions on Hamas is a glaring loophole, circumventing U.S. financial controls, such as the rigorous standards set by the U.S. Department of Treasury, potentially allowing Hamas to evade U.S. sanctions. Furthermore, the lack of UN sanctions on Hamas enables them to bolster their capabilities by exploiting international financial channels, including accessing financial systems and soliciting donations from charities,” the lawmakers said.

The letter states that Hamas diverts aid for civilians to fund terrorist operations by:

  • Imposing "taxes" on humanitarian consignments at border checkpoints. 
  • Seizing a segment of donated goods intended for Palestinian civilians and later selling them illicitly for financial gain.
  • Seizing donated supplies, as Hamas did on Oct. 16, 2023, when the group took fuel meant for Gazan hospitals from a UN Relief and Works Agency site.
  • Dismantling and repurposing humanitarian facilities, like water and sewage components, to create rockets and missiles, some of which misfire and land in Gaza, causing Palestinian civilian casualties and posing threats to aid workers.

The full letter is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today joined Ranking Member Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and all other Republican colleagues on the Banking Committee in urging the Biden administration to withdraw the Basel III Endgame proposal. 

Financial regulators will appear before the committee Tuesday to answer questions regarding what impact regulations, such as the Basel III Endgame Proposal, have on Americans. 

“We have serious concerns that, as proposed, Basel III will restrict billions of dollars in capital from those who need it most, resulting in costlier and more limited access to credit for millions of Americans. This would create severe, adverse impacts on the entire U.S. economy, from every day American consumers to the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy,” the senators wrote.  

“Ultimately, these large increases in capital have not been shown to be evidentially based as the Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC have failed to provide proper analysis or data to justify their merits, particularly around the costs they will impose throughout all sectors of the economy,” they said.

The lawmakers highlighted concerns that the proposal would affect affordable housing, mortgage lending, small business lending, consumer lending, limit the availability of access to credit cards and home equity lines of credit and put U.S. companies at disadvantage to foreign competitors.

“As American consumers continue to struggle with persistently high inflation, reduced access to affordable homeownership, and a slowing economy driven by the reckless spending of the Biden administration, any proposed changes to our bank regulatory framework must be based on demonstrable benefits and needs, not pre-determined agendas which will only serve to harm the economy and consumers alike. Accordingly, we urge you to withdraw the Basel III Endgame proposal as written and urge the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the OCC to operate in a more transparent and justified manner,” they concluded. 

Background:

  • In July, the Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued a joint notice of proposed rulemaking for revising bank capital requirements, known as Basel III Endgame.
  • Revisions to capital requirements in the proposal come from changes to international capital standards, which the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in Switzerland issued in response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.  
  • Regulators intend to apply their rule to banks with over $100 billion in assets, which will impact the largest banks in the U.S. and change how they conduct lending and trading. 

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,110,899 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura struck south Louisiana hard and left buildings with water damage. I’m glad to see that this $1.1 million will help Lake Charles Memorial Hospital address mold from the storm,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,110,899 to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for mold remediation as a result of Hurricane Laura.  

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today detailed how real wages have fallen for Americans because of the persistent inflation under Pres. Joe Biden. Kennedy noted that weekly wages, when adjusted for inflation, have decreased 3.9% since President Biden’s first full month in office.

Key comments from Kennedy’s remarks include:

Pres. Biden’s inflation—which is man-made, and that man’s name is Joe Biden—is costing my people, the average Louisiana family, $806—not a year—a month! Eight-hundred-and-six dollars a month. That's $9,700 a year. Now imagine, if you were making $55,000 a year and you've got to come out-of-pocket with an extra $9,700 a year.”

. . .

What [Americans] care about is prices going down, and that’s de-inflation, and we do not have de-inflation. The point I'm trying to make is: We're stuck with these high prices. If they get inflation down to zero, those prices are not going down.”

. . .

Since Pres. Biden has been in office, consumer goods in the United States of America are up 17%.”

. . .

“The average wage of the average American has gone down after inflation. . . . The appropriate way to look at wage increases is not to look at the raw or the aggregate increase—[it’s] looking at the increase after inflation.

“And if you take all the average wage increases in the United States of America, and you look at the average inflation in the United States of America, workers have actually lost ground. Workers today—in Nov. of 2023—are actually making less per hour, after inflation, than they were in Feb. 2021.”

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) co-sponsored Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Sherrod Brown’s (D-Ohio) VA Home Loan Awareness Act of 2023, which would help veterans finance homes with benefits available to them from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Program.

“America’s veterans deserve the best loan program option possible when they finance a home for their families. I’m proud to sponsor the VA Home Loan Awareness Act to help make the American dream a reality for those who courageously serve our country by ensuring that more veterans are aware of the loan benefits available to them,” said Kennedy.

“Those who have risked their lives for our freedom should be able to afford a house in the country they’ve sworn to protect. I am glad to lead this bill to inform Hoosier veterans of the benefits they that have earned and deserve,” said Braun.

By letting veterans and servicemembers know they may be eligible for a VA home loan, we can help make the dream of homeownership a reality for more military families and make sure that the Ohioans who have served our country get the benefits they’ve earned,” said Brown.

The VA Home Loan Program offers benefits for veterans financing their home purchases including no down payment, no private mortgage insurance and lower interest rates than conventional Federal Housing Administration loans. 

Currently, just 13% of veterans utilize their VA Home Loan benefit. The legislation would:

  • Add a disclosure informing veterans that they may be eligible for a VA Home Loan on the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) form. 
  • Direct applicants to consult their lenders for more information about the VA Home Loan Program. 
  • Instruct the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review and report to Congress regarding lenders’ adoption of the URLA form updates.

Full text of the VA Home Loan Awareness Act of 2023 is available here

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $9,722,145 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“So many communities in south Louisiana were left devastated by Hurricanes Laura, Zeta and Ida. I’m grateful to see this $9.7 million help their recovery,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $2,766,186 to Tangipahoa Parish for management costs associated with Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,819,564 to the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District to repair damages to the Humble Canal Floodgate resulting from Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,608,031 to the Society of the Roman Catholic Church to repair damages to St. Margaret School resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,341,745 to the city of Lake Charles to repair damages to the Henry Heights Recreation Center resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,169,690 to the Office of Risk Management to repair damages to the Elaine Nunez Community College, Office Facilities Corporation and Louisiana University Marine Consortium resulting from Hurricane Zeta.
  • $1,016,928 to St. John the Baptist Parish Library for the water removal and mold remediation of LaPlace Library, Roland Borne, Sr. Memorial Library, Garyville Library and Reserve Library.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) in urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to seek comprehensive United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile and drone programs before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) expires in 2025.

Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Katie Boyd Britt (R-Ala.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also signed the letter.  

“We urge you to table a new comprehensive framework for Iran-related sanctions that supersedes UNSC Resolution 2231 and lays the groundwork in advance of the resolution’s slated termination in October 2025,” the senators wrote.

“Iran’s nuclear program remains the number one long-term threat to stability and security in the Middle East and beyond. However, this is not the only threat the Iranian regime poses. Iran’s material support for terrorist organizations like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and other proxy forces in the Middle East are front and center in the current crisis in Israel, as is Tehran’s assistance for Russia’s war in Ukraine,” they explained.

“In addition to the expiry in October 2020 of the UN’s conventional arms embargo against Iran, the most recent expiration of sanctions on ballistic missiles and drones leaves the world with a rapidly evaporating UN framework for multilateral sanctions on Iran at precisely the time the threat from Iran has become so menacingly clear,” they added.

The senators wrote that a new UNSC resolution should target the same activity the UN permanently sanctioned prior to the 2015 enactment of Resolution 2231, including: 

  • Involvement in Iran’s enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water production.
  • Assistance with its ballistic missile testing, development and launches.
  • Transfer of nuclear and missile technology to Iran. 
  • Transfer of conventional weapons, rockets and drones to and from Iran.

“It should also add a multilateral prohibition on the import of Iranian oil, petroleum products, metals, or investment in its energy sector, essentially multi-lateralizing the objective of American secondary sanctions in these areas,” the lawmakers concluded. 

The senators noted that Beijing and Moscow have made common cause with each other and Iran to undermine the global operating system in support of liberty that the U.S. has forged in cooperation with its allies over the last 80 years. They argued that U.S. must open a conversation with those same allies about the path forward should UNSC Resolution 2231 sanctions expire permanently in 2025.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) in introducing the National Oversight of Transported Immigrants to Communities is Essential (NOTICE) Act to require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to notify states and localities when the department transports migrants into their communities.  

“The Biden administration is turning every town in America into a border town, and it’s putting Louisianians at risk. I’m proud to support this common-sense bill to give state and local law enforcement agencies the information they need to protect our communities from migrants who commit crime,” said Kennedy. 

“Joe Biden’s border crisis has made every single community across the country less safe. You’d think when you have Democrat Governors in deep blue states like Illinois and New York complaining about the strain and cost the bussing of migrants has had on their states that this Administration would start to show some willingness here in Washington to secure the border, but it hasn’t. Nothing about the invasion at our southern border is compassionate, it’s certainly not safe, and absolutely unsustainable. Americans deserve to know who is being pushed into their communities at taxpayer’s expense,” said Marshall.

The legislation would require DHS, Health and Human Services or other agencies to notify states and localities when the Biden administration brings migrants from locations within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border into their jurisdictions. Agencies would also be required to disclose the following information to states about the migrants being brought into a local area:

  • The alien’s legal name, country of origin, age and sex.
  • Any crimes for which the alien has been convicted.
  • Any criminal gang with which such alien is or has been affiliated.
  • Security screenings that have been performed with respect to such aliens.

Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Tedd Budd (R-N.C.) are also cosponsoring the legislation.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has joined Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum (SHIP) Act of 2023 to sanction purchases of Iranian oil. The SHIP Act would impose sanctions on foreign ports and refineries that knowingly accept and refine petroleum products from Iran.

“With the cash it’s making from oil sales, Iran is fanning the flames of global instability by enriching uranium and sponsoring terror. I’m proud to support the SHIP Act to hold ports and refineries that Tehran does business with accountable by expanding U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil purchasers,” said Kennedy.

“As the regime in Tehran continues to enrich itself through the sale of sanctioned oil, we must ensure that U.S. sanctions on all individuals and entities linked to the illicit trade of Iranian oil are rigorously enforced,” said Rubio.

The legislation would require the Energy Information Administration to issue an annual report on Iran’s growing exports of petroleum. The president would also be able to waive sanctions under the SHIP Act if vital to national security interests. 

Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) also cosponsored the legislation.

 

The full bill text is available here.