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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) today announced that $161.4 million from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement will be used to restore barrier islands in lower Terrebonne Parish. 

The project will focus on West Belle Headland, Timbalier Island and Trinity Island.  All of the islands are located within the Terrebonne Basin barrier shoreline system.

“These are critical projects that are needed to protect our wetlands and wildlife habitats,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Anyone who lives in Louisiana knows we are in a David versus Goliath fight to save our coastline.  Our barrier islands are an important line of defense against hurricanes.  Every penny spent preserving them is a penny well spent.”

“Protecting Louisiana’s unique geography and ecosystems is a massive endeavor we must continue to fund and support,” said Sen. Cassidy. “These resources will shore up the barrier islands, preserve our coastlines, and protect the people of Terrebonne Parish from damaging storms.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Small Business Administration Disaster Loans bill, S.3554, this week.  This is Sen. Kennedy’s third bill to pass in the Senate this year.  This legislation promotes a more efficient recovery process by quickly providing monetary relief to people after a disaster. 

This legislation will ensure that people have the financial resources they need to recover quickly after a disaster by preventing SBA loan limits from dropping from $25,000 to $14,000.  It extends a provision of the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015(RISE Act) that temporarily increased loan limits for physical damage loans under an SBA disaster declaration. 

“After disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the severe flooding in 2016, Louisiana families needed to begin the recovery process as soon as the storms rolled out,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This legislation gets money back into the pockets of Americans who have to rebuild their businesses or fix up their homes after a natural disaster.  These SBA disaster loans are a direct investment back into the communities that need relief the most after a devastating natural disaster.”

 

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NEW ORLEANS, LA. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) chaired a small business field hearing at the Port of New Orleans today to get feedback on how rail shipping regulations are impacting businesses.

The hearing tackled safety and cost issues facing railroads, shippers and manufacturers.  Hearing participants included officials with New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

“The rail system is important to Louisiana and to Louisiana jobs.  Regulations have to be fair and cost efficient.  At the same time, they have to keep the public safe.  We need to work together to promote competition and grow our economy.  This isn’t an issue that’s going to make headlines, but it’s hugely important,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The biggest issue is public safety.  After that comes cost and efficiency.  I’ll take back what I heard today to the rest of the committee.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced legislation today that will reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, also known as the NFIP, for six months.  Without action, funding for the NFIP will expire on Nov. 30.

“I am increasingly frustrated that we haven’t made long-term fixes to the NFIP.  However, this program is absolutely necessary to more than five million American homes and businesses,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We must ensure that Louisiana families as well as families across the United States remain protected past this expiration. My bill will prevent the program from expiring while we work on much-needed reforms.”

“The National Flood Insurance Program needs to be comprehensively reformed to make the program more fair, affordable, efficient and solvent, which is what my SAFE NFIP would do,” said Sen. Bob Menendez.  “But with the NFIP set to expire in about two weeks and no movement on the horizon, it’s critical that we prevent a lapse that would disrupt the real estate market and leave thousands of families uninsured and vulnerable.  This six month extension will give Congress time to pass a long-term reauthorization with real, meaningful reforms in line with my SAFE NFIP Act, which is the most bipartisan flood insurance bill in the Senate.”

“The National Flood Insurance Program is critically important to my home state of Florida,” said Sen. Rubio. “It is extremely unfortunate that another extension is needed, but it is imperative that Congress does not allow the program to lapse. Floridians cannot afford that kind of uncertainty. I urge leadership to bring this up for a vote as soon as possible, and look forward to continued work with my colleagues on bipartisan reforms to ensure the program is affordable and sustainable.”

“While it’s frustrating another short-term extension is required, this gives us a good opportunity in the new Congress to buckle down and hammer out a long-term agreement that is good for Louisiana and good for taxpayers,” said Dr. Cassidy.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today in support of Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s diligence in trying to determine how convicted felon Robert Myer was able to vote in the midterm elections:

“Secretary of State Ardoin is Louisiana’s chief elections officer.  It’s his job to preserve the integrity of our elections, and he does his job well.  When a complaint was filed about a convicted felon voting after betraying the public’s trust, Secretary of State Ardoin was correct to raise questions,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Voting is a privilege.  The voting process shouldn’t be politicized because of anger over election results or a pro-Second Amendment vote at the State Bond Commission.  Criminals shouldn’t have more rights than victims.  As a Louisiana citizen, I’m thankful to Secretary of State Ardoin for protecting the sanctity of voting in our state.”

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today filed legislation titled the Income Verification Act of 2018 to reduce fraud in taxpayer-funded government assistance programs by requiring states to use federal tax information to verify income eligibility.  The requirement would apply to the Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs.

The bill comes just days after the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office revealed the results of a random sample showing that 82 of 100 Medicaid recipients in Louisiana exceeded income requirements.  The Legislative Auditor’s Office projects the state wasted as much as $61.6 million on ineligible Medicaid recipients.

 “The report is stunning.  It is breathtaking.  There are not words in English to describe what our Legislative Auditor found,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “In 20 months, between $61 million and $85 million apparently has been wasted.  The Department of Health just threw the money in the dirt.  Incompetence like this is why I introduced legislation that will require every state Medicaid program and, for that matter, welfare and food stamps to use federal income tax data to determine eligibility.  It’s the most accurate income data we have out there. It would be a requirement.  Right now it’s optional.”

Here are actual, real-life, specific examples of Medicaid fraud identified by the Legislative Auditor:

 

Medicaid recipient

Income

Improper Medicaid payment

Months qualified on Medicaid

Months not qualified on Medicaid

Recipient 1

$111,785

$17,807

2

19

Recipient 2

$101,171

$13,708

0

19

Recipient 3

$61,685

$12,602

0

13

Recipient 4

$88,874

$12,583

3

16

Recipient 5

$99,140

$11,410

9

12

Recipient 6

$126,284

$10,930

0

12

Recipient 7

$104,921

$10,762

5

14

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after a report by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office revealed that the state likely wasted $61.6 million to $85.5 million on ineligible Medicaid recipients:

“It’s no small wonder that Gov. Edwards keeps raising taxes on Louisiana families.  His Department of Health (LDH) is lazy and incompetent.  It’s Common Sense 101.  You need to check a person’s income if they’re on the Medicaid rolls,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It’s the same story every time LDH gets caught not doing its job.  They assure us they’ll do better and recover money, but it’s always empty promises.  Taxpayers deserve better.”

The auditor’s report can be found here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board received a $1.8 million grant from FEMA to replace four damaged buildings at Glen Oaks High School.  A second FEMA grant for $1.4 million was given to the Ascension Parish School Board for the St. Amant High School campus.  Both schools suffered severe flooding in 2016.

“The teachers and students at Glen Oaks High School and St. Amant High School need new classrooms so they can focus on what’s important—teaching and learning,” said Sen. Kennedy. “These grants will help these schools continue to recover from the devastating flooding of 2016 and build a better learning environment for our children.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the conclusion of the 2018 midterm elections: 

“Every Congressional race and every Senate race is different.  These midterm elections happened to split the House and the Senate,” said Sen. Kennedy. “As a Republican, I’d prefer to have both chambers stay in Republican hands, but the world is not going to spin off its axis just because the House is one party and the Senate is the other.  It still means we can get a fair amount of work done if everybody puts aside their differences and forgets about scoring political points.”

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs and Hakeem Jeffries introduced Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) bill, S.2896 the Justice Against Corruption on K Street (JACK) Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday.  Sen. Kennedy originally introduced this bill with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), and the legislation passed in the U.S. Senate in August.  The JACK Act would amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act to require lobbyists to disclose convictions of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion or money laundering.  U.S. Reps. Biggs, Jeffries and Sen. Kennedy released the following statements:

 

“This idea is simple: If you have been convicted of a felony like bribery, extortion, embezzlement or tax evasion, you should have to disclose that when registering to become a lobbyist,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Corrupt lobbyists need to be brought into the sunlight, even if they’re wearing $6,000 suits. Political leaders and businesses need to know the backgrounds of those who are trying to influence public policy. These corrupt lobbyists are the worst kind of swamp creatures and they need a one-way ticket out of Washington.”

 

“This common-sense piece of legislation is another step forward in draining the Washington, D.C. swamp,” said Rep. Biggs. “There is no reason these individuals should be able to hide convictions for serious crimes like bribery, extortion, and embezzlement when lobbying Congress. These remissions foster corruption and the remedy is full transparency. I am pleased to work with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Senator John Kennedy, who introduced the bill in the Senate, and I look forward to the JACK Act becoming law.”

 

“We must clean up Washington and make it work for the people,” said Rep. Jeffries. “The JACK Act will boost transparency and accountability by requiring lobbyists to disclose any criminal convictions for bribery, money laundering, embezzlements or other related crimes. Corruption in this town is an American problem and we must come together in a bipartisan way to fix it.”

 

The bill’s title refers to Jack Abramoff, who was convicted of tax fraud and bribery. Jack re-registered as a federal lobbyist in 2017 and did not have to include his criminal history on his registration. The JACK Act will provide the public with much needed transparency and accountability over Congress’ actions.

 

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