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‘Senate addresses duplication of benefits, school districts’ penalty’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U. S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted today in favor of two major solutions for victims of the 2016 Louisiana flooding.  These solutions, which were attached to H.R. 302, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018, include resolutions to the duplication of benefits issue for homeowners.

Duplication of Benefits: “Under the current rules, the federal government treats a loan from the Small Business Administration like a disaster benefit, which then often prevents people from qualifying for disaster grants down the road.  We are essentially punishing people for being diligent about rebuilding their homes after a disaster, and enough was enough.  I am hopeful that this legislation will help thousands of families who are still trying to recover from the flood.  Sen. Cassidy deserves credit for taking the lead on this issue and bringing it over the finish line.”

Much-Needed Help for Flooded Schools: “The 2016 flooding was unprecedented and hit schools in Livingston, East Baton Rouge, and Ascension especially hard.  School districts need to focus on students, not on battling bureaucracy.  This solution ensures that districts won’t be penalized for every single structure that flooded.  Instead, they'll only have to pay it one time, and one time only.  They'll take a lick and be able to move on.”

Also included in the FAA Reauthorization Act, was Sens. Kennedy and Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.)’s bill, the Welfare of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act.  Their provision will make it illegal for anyone to place a live animal in an overhead storage compartment of an aircraft.

 

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‘If you want to make banking a red versus blue issue, then you don’t need to do business with the federal government.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the No Red and Blue Banks Act to prohibit the federal government from giving contracts to banks that discriminate against lawful businesses based solely on social policy considerations.  This legislation will ensure that banks like Citigroup and Bank of America, which enacted policies infringing on the Second Amendment rights of businesses, will not be awarded lucrative federal government contracts.  

On March 22, Citigroup issued a press release detailing how it will penalize banking clients who follow federal, state and local laws.  Citigroup’s new policy tells businesses what kind of firearms and accessories they can stock in their stores, and who they can sell them to.  On April 10, Bank of America announced that it would no longer loan money to businesses that manufacture semi-automatic rifles.  Sen. Kennedy has previously made remarks on the Senate floor about this important issue.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s remarks in the Senate Banking Committee today:

Constitutionally Offensive: “Targeting firearms owners and business owners is not only an affront to responsible gun owners across this country; it’s a threat to the sanctity of our Constitution and the Second Amendment.”

Red Banks and Blue Banks: “Citigroup and Bank of America have decided to make banking a red versus blue issue by trampling on the Second Amendment rights of small business owners.  And if additional big consumer banks come out with similar anti-gun policies, it will get harder and harder for businesses in Louisiana and elsewhere to find banking services.  We’ll have red banks and blue banks.”

Banks Should not be Rewarded for Discriminating: “I want to make sure that the federal government isn’t rewarding this behavior with even more taxpayer dollars.  I have already petitioned the General Services Administration to cancel the federal government’s $700 billion contract with Citigroup.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that President Donald Trump signed H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act and Continuing Appropriations Act, into law on Friday.  This legislation contains four amendments authored by Sen. Kennedy, including a historic 66% increase in funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“It is absolutely tragic that suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provide help and hope to those who don’t know where else to turn during a dark time,” said Sen. Kennedy. “In Louisiana alone, the suicide rate has risen by 29% from 1999 to 2016. I am very proud to lead this effort, and I will continue do what I can to uplift and support those who rely on this lifeline for help.”  

In addition to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline funding, Sen. Kennedy authored three more amendments that were signed into law:

  • S. Amdt. 3881, which reduces fraud and waste in the Department of Labor by implementing a plan to reduce improper payments.
  • S. Amdt. 3880, which prohibits awarding federal contracts to companies that have unpaid federal taxes.
  • S. Amdt. 3727, which bans using taxpayer dollars for monetary assistance to Iran.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $6,392,000 to the Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program in New Orleans.
 
“Investment in transportation infrastructure is so important to the United States and especially in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This grant will allow the city of New Orleans to purchase new buses, replace old ones and make repairs to any buses or facilities that need to be rehabilitated. This funding will help the city upgrade its public bus system, which will also improve the daily commutes for many New Orleans residents.”
 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Members of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) staff will host an informational meeting Saturday in Mandeville for prospective applicants to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Mandeville High School auditorium, 1 Skipper Drive, in Mandeville.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

It is absolutely free to attend Academy Day.  Family members can accompany prospective applicants to the event.

“I’m honored that so many people want to serve our great country.  They make Louisiana proud,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Academy Day is an opportunity to find out more about attending the finest academies in the U.S.  You can ask 150 questions if you want.”

 

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“Congress needs to stop playing games; we need to reform the National Flood Insurance Program immediately”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) asked Congress to finally get down to the business of creating a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that middle-class families can afford.  Sen. Kennedy previously introduced comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to reform the NFIP.  

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full remarks:

 

Affordable Flood Insurance: “Weathering a hurricane is difficult enough without the added burden of trying to do it without insurance.  And a National Flood Insurance Program isn’t doing its job if it’s so expensive people can’t afford to buy it.  Unfortunately, that’s precisely what has happened in North and South Carolina.”

What Gives?: “Why don’t people have flood insurance?  Because the costs are out of control and middle-class families have little choice but to just roll the dice.  Because Congress keeps playing games and people don’t have faith that the NFIP will be around to pay off.  Because one or two members of Congress want to get a soundbite more than they want to help ordinary Americans protect their property.  And if those members want to reform the program because they want to save the government money, they’re going about it the wrong way.”

What It’s All About: “Recovering from a natural disaster is about more than putting up drywall: It’s about our communities coming back safer, stronger and better prepared.  The NFIP is an indispensable part of that effort to rebuild.  But a flood insurance program isn’t useful if it’s too complicated to understand, or if it allows bad actors to take from hardworking families.  We need rules that make sense, government websites that a normal person can navigate, quicker decisions by bureaucrats and a faster process to get disaster dollars to the folks who need them. Most importantly, though, people need to be able to afford buy a policy in the first place.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that FEMA awarded a $15,694,059 grant to the Livingston Parish School Board to fund repairs to nine academic buildings and facilities at Southside Junior High School.

“The 2016 flooding is still impacting the daily lives of so many people in south Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Grants like this from FEMA will help us rebuild, and it will allow students to get back into permanent classrooms and brand new school facilities.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Members of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) staff will host an informational meeting Saturday in Bossier City for prospective applicants to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Bossier Parish Community College’s BPCC Theatre – Building C, 6220 East Texas St., in Bossier City.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

It is absolutely free to attend Academy Day.  Family members can accompany prospective applicants to the event.

“I’m honored that so many people want to serve our great country.  They make Louisiana proud,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Academy Day is an opportunity to find out more about attending the finest academies in the U.S.  You can ask 150 questions if you want.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Louisiana artists Trace Adkins, Jordan Davis and Kenny Wayne Shepherd applauded the passage of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) legislation that fixes a loophole in federal copyright laws for sound recordings made before Feb. 15, 1972.

The Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act, also known as the CLASSICS Act, will help close a flawed loophole that leaves some of our most cherished artists out of the federal copyright system.

Currently, federal copyright law does not adequately protect all sound recordings.  This has resulted in confusion, litigation and an unfair playing field for iconic artists in Louisiana and across the U.S.  The CLASSICS Act would acknowledge these artists’ contributions by compensating them when digital radio services use their recordings.  The act would bring federal law up to speed with the modern age of music platforms.

“Artists who made music, and performed, before February 15, 1972, continue to play a significant role in our country’s culture,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My generation grew up listening to these artists’ work, and generations of musicians have been inspired by their talent.  I am proud that the CLASSICS Act passed with broad bipartisan support.  These talented musicians deserve recognition and compensation for their immeasurable contributions.”

“This is a momentous day for recording artists and songwriters and makes the laws much fairer for all of us, including the classic artists who have influenced those of us working today, as well as new songwriters and artists who deserve a future.  We appreciate the work of the Senators who helped get this bill passed unanimously in the Senate,” said Sarepta native Trace Adkins.

“Passage of this legislation will make a real difference in the lives of songwriters and recording artists,” said Shreveport native Jordan Davis.  “It creates a more fair environment for music creators who have been struggling under outdated laws for the digital era. We are thankful to all of the Senators and members of Congress who have listened to our struggles over the past few years and championed our cause.  The unanimous passage of this bill in the Senate shows what the unifying power of music can do!” 

“As a recording artist for the last 25 years, I feel strongly that all Artists should be fairly compensated regardless of the year of their copyrights.  Revenue from all digital audio transmissions should be paid to artists and not exclude those who wrote the music before 1972 that built the foundation of rock and roll,” said Shreveport native Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and several of his Senate colleagues warned that a proposed tariff on Chinese barite would devastate Louisiana’s energy production industry and threaten jobs.  Sens. Kennedy, Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) asked Ambassador Lighthizer to leave barite off any tariff list. 

Barite is a mineral that is used by the oil and gas industry to reduce the likelihood of blowouts during the drilling of wells in the Gulf of Mexico.   The U.S. imports 69% of the barite it uses from China. 

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have seen a massive boom in our energy production in the United States,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “However, a tariff on barite could inadvertently cripple our oil and gas industry.  Less exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico would mean fewer jobs.  That wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially Louisiana.”

 

September 17, 2018

 

Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer

U.S. Trade Representative

Office of the United States Trade Representative

600 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20006

 

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

 

It has been brought to our attention by American energy producers that your office is considering placing tariffs on several vital safety components to American energy production currently imported from China: unground barite, ground barite, and barium sulfate.  We write to urge you to remove barite from the list of proposed tariffs because it is critical to our nation’s energy security.

Barite is a naturally occurring, heavy mineral that is used in drilling fluids to counteract the extreme pressures of oil and gas formations below the earth.  Drilling fluids are vital to the safe drilling of oil and gas wells because they reduce the likelihood of well “blowouts”.  There is no economical existing alternative or substitute for barite in the drilling process and it is designated a “critical mineral” by the Secretary of the Interior.

The U.S. produces nearly 330,000 tons of barite annually yet consumes nearly 2.4 million tons.  U.S. barite mines are substantially depleted and inadequate to support American energy production.  U.S. oil and gas service companies have undertaken extensive exploration efforts to locate new reserves in the U.S. over the years with little success.  Our country imports 2 million tons of barite annually and of that, approximately half comes from China.

A barite tariff will not help to change China’s unfair trade practices. In fact, it will effectively shift the balance of trade even more in China’s favor because American energy producers will have no choice but to continue importing Chinese barite due to the lack of alternate quality sources domestically or internationally. 

This will raise the cost of domestic energy production.  Such increased costs will be passed to the U.S. consumer and make our energy exports less price competitive in energy export markets.  In addition, because domestic barite mining is limited to mines in Nevada, oil and gas exploration companies in the Gulf of Mexico, Appalachia, and other areas outside the American West will disproportionately bear the cost of a barite tariff.

We are grateful for your consideration.  Thank you for your service to America.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

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John Kennedy

United States Senator

 

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Bill Cassidy, M.D.

United States Senator

 

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Shelley Moore Capito

United States Senator

 

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Joe Manchin III

United States Senator

 

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Doug Jones

United States Senator

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