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Watch Kennedy’s questioning here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell during a Senate Banking Committee hearing about the rising U.S. debt and urged him not to politicize the U.S. dollar.

Key excerpts include:

Kennedy: “I have some questions, but first, I have a plea. Above all else—above everything else on your plate—I ask that you please preserve the independence of the Federal Reserve. The last thing that America needs right now is to have the Federal Reserve politicized. It’s the last thing the world needs right now. And believe me, the whole world is watching, including our enemies. . . . Political fads come and go, but the dollar doesn’t—I hope not. The dollar underpins the entire world economy. Politicize it at your own risk.

. . .

Kennedy: “Behind me is a chart of our public debt going all the way back to, I think, 1990. You don’t have to be Euclid to see that the direction is up. . . . So, here’s my question to you: At what point—how much is too much? At what point, in your judgment, are we going to hit the point where you have to say: ‘No, that’s it. We can’t do anymore. It’s hurting the world. It’s hurting our country’?

Powell: “ . . . We’re on an unsustainable path. Debt is not at an unsustainable level, but the path is unsustainable—meaning it’s growing faster than the economy, meaningfully faster than the economy. We have to address that over time. We will address it over time. And the better way to do it is soon.”

Kennedy asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen a similar question last November.

Watch the video of Kennedy’s questioning here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement on the anniversary of Jan. 6, 2021:

“Without order, there can be no justice. The violence at the U.S. Capitol one year ago is as despicable and shameful now as it was then. Those Washington rioters should continue to answer for their crimes without exception, as should everyone who has committed violence as part of mobs or political riots. 

“Louisianians embrace the democratic process and reject rogue violence because we understand that we are a nation of laws. America must always choose this path.”


Watch Kennedy and Marshall’s exchange here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) made a friendly wager with Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) before tonight’s Texas Bowl matchup between the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Kansas State University Wildcats.

If the Tigers win, Marshall will share Kansas City T-bone steaks with Kennedy. If the Wildcats win, Kennedy offered to serve Marshall alligator sausage, a favorite among senators.

“I’m going to bet, too, even though I know how it’s going to come out. We’re going to hit Kansas State so hard they’re going to cough up bones. But if I lose—if I lose, I will buy you alligator sausage. You’re going to love it, but you’re not going to get to taste it from me. . . . Geaux Tigers!” said Kennedy.

Video of Kennedy and Marshall’s exchange is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) support for the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has helped Louisiana begin the new year with Congressional authorization for $219 million in military construction projects.

“The NDAA will help pave the way for substantial military investments in our state, in addition to making America more secure, giving troops a deserved pay raise and modernizing our national defense,” said Kennedy.

The Louisiana military projects in the 2022 NDAA include:

  • $56 million authorization for constructing new barracks at Fort Polk,
  • $55 million authorization for constructing a new joint operations center at Fort Polk,
  • $40 million authorization for a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base,
  • $36 million authorization for the road and gate construction project at Barksdale Air Force Base,
  • $18.5 million authorization for constructing the Lake Charles National Guard Readiness Center, and
  • $13.8 million authorization for constructing barracks to serve as a training facility for the Louisiana National Guard at Camp Minden.

The NDAA also authorizes $660 million for upgrades to the Air Force B-52 Program. Barksdale Air Force base is home to much of the B-52 fleet. 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and more than 180 lawmakers in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in an upcoming case considering the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) vaccine mandate.

“I am happy to support this amicus brief opposing the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. Vaccines are good, but that doesn’t give the federal government the power to force Americans to violate their own consciences,” said Kennedy.

OSHA issued a rule to officially mandate vaccination requirements for employees at private businesses with more than 100 employees. The rule would affect more than 80 million Americans.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked OSHA’s rule, but on Dec. 17, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Fifth Court’s decision and reinstated the mandate. The Supreme Court will, on Jan. 7, hear oral arguments regarding the Sixth Court’s decision, three days before OSHA will begin enforcement efforts.

On Oct. 26, Kennedy wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III regarding the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate and the Navy’s order that U.S. military service members could lose their veterans’ benefits for failing to comply with the mandate. Kennedy advocated for service members’ freedom to make their own choices regarding the vaccine.

On Dec. 8, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution backed by Kennedy under the Congressional Review Act, which is the official Congressional process for eliminating an executive branch rule, to nullify President Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Text of the amicus brief is available here.

View Kennedy’s comments here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released this message wishing Louisianians a Merry Christmas. 

“On behalf of my better half, Becky, my son, Preston—who I named after my dad—and our two pups, Jack and Charlie, we want to wish you a merry, merry Christmas, and a wonderful new year,” said Kennedy.

“From an earthly perspective, I love Christmas because hurricane season is over. I love Christmas because I get to be with my family and my friends. I love Christmas because it makes me happy, and I love Christmas because every now and then I get to do a little fishing and duck hunting. From a more important, spiritual perspective, I’m a Christian. And Christmas is very, very important to me as a Christian because we celebrate Christ's birthday—the Christ who died on the cross to save us from our sins,” he continued.

“I hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday season and a wonderful Christmas. Merry Christmas!” Kennedy concluded.

Video of Kennedy’s comments are available here.

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and other Senate Banking Committee Republicans called on President Joe Biden to rebuke Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Director Marty Gruenberg for their illegitimate attempt to violate the FDIC’s 88-year tradition of working independently from partisan political influence.

In a letter, the senators also urged the president to replace immediately Director Gruenberg—whose term expired three years ago and who is serving in a temporary capacity—and nominate an individual to fill the vacant Republican seat on the FDIC board.

“America’s independent financial regulators are respected the world over for their professionalism and integrity, and we fear the actions of Director Chopra and Director Gruenberg if left unchecked have the potential to weaken faith in our financial institutions and markets,” wrote the senators.

On Dec. 9, CFPB Director Chopra and FDIC Director Gruenberg published a joint statement to the CFPB’s website claiming the FDIC approved a request for information on bank mergers. Shortly thereafter, the FDIC clarified that no such document had been approved by the FDIC and that there was no valid vote by the FDIC board.

Members of the board cannot bring any regulatory changes or actions for a vote without the FDIC chairman’s consent. 

“Director Chopra and Director Gruenberg’s statement and actions make clear that they violated FDIC procedures with the apparent goal of usurping the powers of the chairman and inhibiting her ability to carry out her official duties and responsibilities. In addition to violating the FDIC bylaws and processes, their actions upended an 88-year tradition of the FDIC board working on a collegial basis with its chairman as well as working independent from partisan political influence,” the senators explained.

“We urge you to nominate promptly a candidate to replace Director Gruenberg, as well as a candidate to fill the vacant Vice-Chairman position on the FDIC board. These candidates should be well-qualified, mainstream individuals who will respect the institutional norms and practices that Director Chopra and Director Gruenberg have willfully chosen to ignore,” the senators concluded.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) in introducing the Freedom Riders Congressional Gold Medal Act to award surviving Freedom Riders the Congressional Gold Medal for their contributions to civil rights. The medal will be displayed in an appropriate Smithsonian museum.

“Sixty years ago, the Freedom Riders started a courageous journey that took them from our nation’s capital to New Orleans. Their brave actions supporting civil rights richly deserve the Congressional Gold Medal. I’m happy to partner with Sen. Warnock to honor the legacy of the Freedom Riders and recognize the heroic members of this group who are still with us,” said Kennedy.

“The Freedom Riders literally put their lives and limbs on the line in order to bring about an America that lives up to its own stated ideals. They are nothing short of American patriots, and honoring them more than 60 years after their historic acts is the least we can do. Their stories from those dark days and learning from the late Rep. John Lewis—my parishioner—has been a well of inspiration. I know I would not be serving in the Unites States Senate if it were not for the courage of these American heroes, so I am deeply honored to join with Senator Kennedy to introduce this bill,” said Warnock.

In 1961, 13 Freedom Riders boarded buses in Washington, D.C. to protest racial segregation in public transportation, ultimately arriving in New Orleans, La.

Five months after the first Freedom Riders embarked on their historic ride, the Interstate Commerce Commission in conjunction with U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy issued a federal order banning segregation at all interstate public facilities based upon “race, color or creed.”

This bill would honor the Freedom Riders on the 60th anniversary of their bravery. Of the original 13, there are currently two surviving Freedom Riders, Hank Thomas of Stone Mountain, Ga. and Charles Person of Atlanta, Ga.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and more than 90 other senators and representatives in writing to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, condemning HHS’s recent reversal of protections for faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.

On November 18, HHS announced it was rescinding waivers previously issued to faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in South Carolina, Michigan and Texas that allowed them to qualify for HHS grants while operating in accordance with their deeply-held religious beliefs.

HHS also announced it was moving to strip the Office for Civil Rights of its authority to enforce the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act and the religion clauses of the First Amendment.

“The freedom to work with faith-based agencies is vital to many foster families. Many studies have shown that faith is often a key motivator in a family’s decision to foster children. Families recruited through church or religious organizations on average foster more than two and a half years longer than other foster parents,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We find it disturbing that one day before it released its 2021 [Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System] report, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—with your express approval—announced the rescission of waivers that were previously granted to faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in Michigan, Texas, and South Carolina. As you know, rescinding the waivers puts providers in these states in the untenable position of choosing between serving children under the Title IV-E foster care program or operating in accordance with the tenets of their faith—the same faith that drives them to serve children in the first place. HHS should be welcoming child welfare providers, not excluding them. Children are too important to be pawns in political games,” continued the lawmakers.

“Despite being in the middle of a pandemic, your focus on reversing structural and individual religious freedom protections—protections which have worked well—demonstrate that you are placing ideology over the interests of the law, children, and faith-based partners who only want to continue serving their communities in peace. It is our hope that you will promptly correct these unprecedented actions and abide by your promises made to Congress,” concluded the lawmakers.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released the following statement upon supporting the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the Senate voted to pass today:  

“This year’s NDAA provides better pay for our troops and better resources for them to defend America and our allies. As authoritarian regimes like Russia and China become more aggressive by the day, we must modernize America’s armed forces and make sure misguided woke policies don’t handicap our military. Not only does this bill increase defense spending, but Republicans also stripped a bevy of harmful Democrat priorities out so that our troops can focus on what they do best,” said Kennedy.

The 2022 NDAA:

  • Increases topline defense spending by $25 billion above the amount in President Biden’s budget. This spending increase includes a 35 percent increase for military construction and a 20 percent increase for shipbuilding.
  • Gives the troops a pay raise of 2.7 percent.
  • Counters China’s aggression by supporting Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies by authorizing $7.1 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
  • Counters China’s aggression and promotes democracy by requiring a report on U.S. efforts to help Taiwan defend itself.
  • Counters Russia’s aggression by increasing funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative by $50 million.
  • Authorizes $27.8 billion for nuclear weapons programs and makes modernizing nuclear arms a priority.
  • Establishes a commission to study the war in Afghanistan, including the disastrous withdrawal under President Biden.
  • Maintains longstanding prohibitions on closing Guantanamo Bay and transferring terrorists to U.S. soil.
  • Protects service members from being dishonorably discharged for refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The final version of the NDAA also removes several controversial measures that Democrats attempted to include in the bill, including provisions that would:

  • Force women to register for the draft.
  • Mandate that the TRICARE program cover the morning-after pill.
  • Promote “Red Flag” laws that could strip veterans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.
  • Strip F-35 aircraft from the Air National Guard.
  • Require the Department of Defense (DOD) to hire “gender advisors.”
  • Impose a strict, burdensome “diversity and inclusion” regime on DOD contractors.
  • Mandate that the DOD track “extremist activities” among troops and prohibit troop ties to “extremist organizations” without providing a definition of “extremist.”
  • Make the mayor of Washington, D.C. the commander-in-chief of the District’s National Guard, which is a federal entity.