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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) in introducing the Southern Border Transparency Act to require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue reports detailing the number of aliens seeking entry along the southern border. 

The Biden administration uses tools such as parole to drive down apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border and avoid removing foreign nationals who enter the country illegally.  

“The Biden White House claims it’s doing everything it can to stop the flow of illegal immigration, but the facts tell a different story. Requiring the DHS to issue a detailed report on the hundreds of thousands of immigrants it releases into the U.S. would give the American people the truth about how the administration is fueling lawlessness at the border and around the country,” said Kennedy.

“The Biden administration has gone to great lengths to hide record levels of illegal immigration at the southern border, but Americans deserve to know exactly how many migrants are being released into our country. This legislation would shine a bright light on President Biden’s catch-and-release practices and reveal the devastating consequences of this administration’s unlawful actions,” said Cornyn. 

The bill would require the DHS to report on the: 

  • Number of migrants paroled at each port of entry (POE), broken down by nationality and demographics.
  • Number of migrants paroled in each Border Patrol sector, broken down by nationality and demographics.
  • Number of migrants apprehended at each POE.
  • Number of migrants apprehended in each Border Patrol sector.
  • Number of petitions for parole received and granted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the total number of aliens paroled into the U.S., broken down by nationality and demographics.

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Hawley (R-Mo.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Bill text of the Southern Border Transparency Act is available here.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $6,747,163 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida left a great deal of damage behind when it hit Terrebonne Parish. I’m grateful to see this $6.7 million help these Louisianians as they rebuild for the future,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $6,747,163 to the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government for the demolition and reconstruction of flood-prone residential properties.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in Newsweek urging Congress to work together to prevent Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism from receiving billions of dollars in special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) without congressional approval.

Kennedy has introduced the No Dollars for Dictators Act to require congressional authorization before the IMF can issue any special drawing rights to state sponsors of terrorism or genocide.

Key excerpts of the op-ed are below:

“Under certain circumstances, the IMF can make general allocations to each member nation called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). . . . The president of the United States has to approve these allocations, but Congress only votes on distributions above a certain amount—a threshold the IMF and the Biden administration apparently love to dodge.

“In 2021, President Biden approved the largest IMF allocation of SDRs in history, conveniently valued at $650 billion to narrowly avoid congressional scrutiny. This was designed ostensibly to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, but money is fungible. It played out just how you’d imagine.

“Russia received $16.2 billion from the IMF and invaded Ukraine six months later. China received $38.3 billion for pandemic response but refused to allow the world to investigate the COVID-19 origins. Iran received $4.5 billion while promoting terrorism throughout the world and brutalizing protesters who sought equality for women.”

. . .

“Days before Hamas attacked Israel, several of my colleagues in the Senate and dozens more in the House wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to approve another IMF distribution of SDRs worth $650 billion.

“If he approves this allocation, Iran could receive as much as $4.9 billion to fund terrorism, China could receive another $41.6 billion to menace Taiwan, and Russia could receive $17.6 billion to fund its war on Ukraine. President Biden has made the mistake of approving IMF allocations once. Congress cannot stand by and let him do it again.”  

. . .

“It’s difficult to imagine why the United States wouldn’t stop Iran from taking billions of American dollars to use against the safety and security of the American people. Iranian leaders saw the killing and kidnapping of innocent people in Israel, including dozens of Americans, and cheered. It was nauseating, but not surprising. Iran hates America and our allies. Yet the Biden administration—from the 2021 IMF allocation to the $6 billion prisoner swap—continues to try to placate this vicious regime by bankrolling it.

“Congress needs to have the authority to step in before the White House can rubber stamp the allocation of billions of dollars to America’s most enthusiastic, violent enemies. My colleagues should join me in ensuring that Congress has a say before terrorists and dictators get another dollar from the IMF.”

The full op-ed is available here.

Text of the No Dollars for Dictators Act is here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Chris Coons (D-Conn.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in urging Senate leadership to prioritize the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the senators wrote that renewing AGOA would create valuable opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers and consumers, while advancing national security interests.

“Renewing AGOA would offer businesses an important incentive to increase production in Sub-Saharan Africa, diversifying their global supply chains and reducing dependence on the People’s Republic of China,” wrote the senators.

“With an early, lengthy renewal, Congress can provide businesses the long-term certainty needed to diversify and secure their supply chains,” they continued.

“As you consider the legislative calendar for the months ahead, we strongly urge you to consider the reauthorization of AGOA as an important priority,” the senators concluded.

In Sept. 2023, Kennedy introduced the AGOA Extension Act of 2023 to extend the program for 20 years to 2045. 

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) also signed the letter.

Background: 

  • Congress first enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2000. The program encourages African countries to adopt market-based economies, support democracy and protect due process and the rule of law. 
  • In turn, AGOA-eligible nations receive duty-free access to thousands of products in the U.S. market. Today, 36 countries are eligible for AGOA benefits. The AGOA also supported nearly 120,000 jobs in the United States. 
  • Congress authorized AGOA through 2025. 

The full letter is available here

Full text of the AGOA Extension Act of 2023 is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $61,833,619 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.   

“Hurricane Ida struck a tough blow to Lafourche, Terrebonne and St. Helena Parishes, as well as to New Orleans. I’m thankful to see that this $62 million will support Louisianians’ recovery efforts,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $50,332,228 to the Lafourche Parish Hospital Service District #1 main hospital facility for damages as a result of Hurricane Ida.  
  • $5,018,086 to the city of New Orleans for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Ida.  
  • $4,996,454 to Terrebonne Parish for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.  
  • $1,486,851 to St. Helena Parish for roadway and culvert repairs as a result of Hurricane Ida.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Emergency Advance Payments Modernization Act, a bill to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) quickly issue National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) advance payments by modernizing the technology the agency uses to respond to natural disasters.

“When natural disasters strike, the last thing Louisiana families can afford to do is wait around for FEMA to issue an advance payment before they can begin the recovery process. My bill would help ensure FEMA has the tools it needs to rapidly issue advance payments for flood insurance claims so that families get the money they need to recover from disasters when it counts,” said Kennedy.

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.

Background:

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program today allows policyholders to receive advance payments in the wake of natural disasters. These advance payments ensure families can have access to their insurance dollars, even if FEMA has not yet been able to inspect the damage to their homes. Advance payments expedite the recovery process for Louisiana families.

FEMA, however, struggles to quickly approve these advance payments because it does not have access to the real-time data it needs to authorize the payments.

The Emergency Advance Payments Modernization Act would direct FEMA to establish a pilot program to review how satellite-driven hazard monitoring systems could provide real-time data to FEMA to facilitate the pre-inspection approval of advance payments from the NFIP. 

Text of the Emergency Advance Payments Modernization Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,764,905 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“Louisianians know the damage that flooding causes all too well. I’m grateful that this $3.8 million will help support upgrades to the Ascension Parish pump stations and levee system,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,764,905 to fund upgrades to the existing Marvin Braud Pump Station and levees.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) in introducing the Where Are The Terrorists Now Act, a bill that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide a monthly report to Congress disclosing the number of migrants on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist whom U.S. officials encounter at the southern border.

“The Biden administration continues to undermine our national security by ignoring the crisis at our border. More members of the FBI’s terror watchlist are sneaking into our country than ever before. If the Biden administration is going to forfeit its duty to protect American citizens, Congress needs to have transparency from the Department of Homeland Security so we can address the real terrorist threat open borders pose to American communities,” said Kennedy.

“There is an invasion at our southern border. Every day that the Biden Administration continues their open border agenda, Americans’ national security is at risk. Month after month, we have seen historic numbers of migrants on the FBI’s terror watchlist infiltrating our country’s border. The threat the individuals on this list pose to Americans’ safety is too great for us to do nothing,” said Marshall.

Under the Where Are The Terrorists Now Act, the DHS, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, must provide Congress with a monthly report including:

  • The number of individuals who are on the terrorist screening database that border officials encounter.
  • Where each individual was encountered.
  • Why each individual is on the Terrorist Watchlist.
  • Any ties each individual has to a terrorist organization.
  • The individual’s nation of origin.
  • The individual’s criminal convictions.
  • How the individual traveled to the United States.
  • Where the individuals were detained, whether they are still detained, whether they have been deported, whether they have been transferred to another agency, and their known whereabouts if they have been released.
  • If the individual has been released, how DHS determined that the individual does not present a danger to the U.S.

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) also co-sponsored the legislation.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

Watch Kennedy's comments here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to an appropriations bill that would prevent veterans from losing their Second Amendment right to purchase or own firearms when they receive help managing their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. The amendment is based on the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act.

“Veterans who sacrificed to defend our Constitution shouldn’t see their own rights rest on the judgment of unelected bureaucrats—but right now, they do. My amendment would prevent government workers from unduly stripping veterans of their right to bear arms. Every veteran who bravely serves our country has earned VA benefits, and it’s wrong for the government to punish veterans who get a helping hand to manage those resources,” said Kennedy.

Under current law, the VA is required to send a beneficiary’s name to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) whenever a fiduciary is appointed to help a beneficiary manage his or her VA benefits.

Ultimately, VA employees decide whether veterans receive help from a fiduciary.

Kennedy’s amendment would prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from transmitting a veteran’s personal information through the VA fiduciary program to NICS unless a relevant judicial authority rules that the beneficiary is a danger to himself or others.

The amendment text is available here.

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives: 

“Congratulations to my good friend Mike Johnson on becoming the Speaker of the House. My House colleagues have selected an outstanding leader to navigate an unprecedented time. Mike isn’t just a consistent conservative—he’s a courageous one. He loves God, his family, and his country more than anything, and he has devoted his life to serving them faithfully. American families share Mike’s Louisiana values, and they deserve his confident, principled leadership.”