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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today highlighted a number of wins for Louisianans in the appropriations package, including the passage of his proposal to increase the inspection of imported seafood by 26%.  Shrimpers and fishermen in Louisiana requested the increase to fight competition from foreign fishermen who are unfairly subsidized by their governments and sell contaminated seafood. 

“We know a significant portion of imported seafood is contaminated with banned drugs.  Yet we’re only testing a fraction of the seafood that comes into the U.S.  That’s about to change,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Louisiana produces the best seafood in the world.  Our shrimpers and fishermen shouldn’t be put out of business by imported seafood that’s not fit for the dinner table.  We’re going to catch the cheaters and boost our Louisiana seafood industry.”

Other wins for Louisiana in the appropriations package include:

COASTAL PROTECTION

  • Investing $3.5 million to find out what’s killing the Roseau cane that protects Louisiana’s coast from storm surges and maintains navigational channels.
  • $42 million for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which supports wetlands conservation projects.
  • $68 million for the National Sea Grant Program, which is addressing coastal challenges in Louisiana.

FAMILIES

  • $1.694 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, ensuring that municipalities can tackle water infrastructure projects.
  • Supporting agricultural and forestry research at public universities.

JOBS

  • Retaining 1,000 Louisiana jobs by keeping the National Finance Center in New Orleans.
  • Investing in a program that fosters quality ship construction.
  • $1.35 billion for the Orion Spacecraft, major parts of which are being built in Louisiana.
  • $18.6 million for cybersecurity education and training, which helps Louisiana’s Cyber Innovation Center.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced three service academy appointments today: Gabriella “Gabby” Berger, of Mandeville, and Annabel Avery Powers, of New Orleans, to the U.S. Naval Academy and Michael Cooper Roddy, of Clinton, to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Only a limited number of appointments are given to students across the U.S. every year.

Sen. Kennedy nominated all three students.  Academies review nominations before narrowing the list and offering appointments.  To learn more about the academy nomination process, click HERE.

“I am so proud of Gabby, Annabel and Michael for wanting to serve this great country,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “They are outstanding students and smart as a whip.  They are among the brightest, young minds in Louisiana.  The Naval Academy and West Point will be lucky to get them.”

Berger is the daughter of Walter and Amy Berger.  She attends Mandeville High School, where she has a 4.17 GPA.

Powers is the daughter of Bradford and Dolores Powers.  She attends Lusher Charter School, where she is in the top 5% of her class.

Roddy is the son of Knight and Kevin Roddy.  He is home schooled and scored a 33 on the ACT.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduced legislation to prevent federal workers’ and contractors’ credit reports from being adversely affected by the partial government shutdown.

The bipartisan Protect Federal Workers’ Credit Act requires credit bureaus to remove negative information from the credit reports of federal workers and contractors who missed payments as a result of the government shutdown. The bill would apply to the recent shutdown and any future government shutdowns.

“During the partial shutdown, federal workers were just innocent bystanders in a partisan political standoff,” said Sen. Kennedy. “There are real life, long-term harms to credit scores taking a hit because Congress forced workers to miss two paychecks.  This bill not only protects federal employees from the last shutdown and any future shutdowns, but it ensures their credit scores accurately reflect their ability to repay.  The bottom line is that they don’t deserve to be punished for circumstances that were out of their control.”

“Our federal workers and contractors shouldn’t have their financial lives ruined because leaders in Congress and the White House can’t get their act together,” said Sen. Schatz. “Our bill will protect federal employees and contractors and make sure their credit reports don’t take a hit if they fall behind on payments during a government shutdown.”

“The recent shutdown may be over, but federal employees and contractors are still feeling its effects. They shouldn’t have their credit scores threatened because the President recklessly decided to shutter the government for 35 days,” said Sen. Warner.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today the passage of S.Res. 77 designating Saturday through Feb. 23, 2019 as National FFA Week.  Sen. Kennedy is a cosponsor of the resolution.

The National FFA Organization is a youth organization that prepares its members for leadership roles and careers in agriculture.

“The FFA has a long history of equipping young people to handle the future of agriculture,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Our Louisiana members of the FFA are passionate, smart and ready to tackle the agriculture industry. It’s an honor to celebrate their accomplishments and hard work.”

“With more than 11,000 FFA members in Indiana, it’s important to Hoosiers that we recognize the significant work the FFA does preparing our students to become leaders in the agriculture field and in their communities. This is a mission we should all support, and I’m glad that my Senate colleagues agree,” said Senator Young

“The Delaware FFA and the National FFA Organization play an important role in strengthening our communities and preparing the next generation of leaders to meet agricultural challenges, and I’m proud to join them in celebrating National FFA Week by passing this bipartisan resolution,” said Senator Coons.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined S.172, the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019, to keep health care costs down for families across Louisiana by delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Tax.  This punitive tax – if it is allowed to take effect -  would increase costs for everyone from senior citizens to small businesses.

Sen. Kennedy also joined S.283, which would increase access to osteoporosis screenings for Medicare patients.  Medicare reimbursement for these screenings has shrunk, resulting in an increase in hip fractures.

“Obamacare sucks, and the Health Insurance Tax really sucks.  It would create $16 billion in additional fees on health insurance and send premiums through the roof.  Health care is expensive enough without this ridiculous tax,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It’s also ridiculous to discourage health screenings that literally save lives.  By testing for osteoporosis, we can prevent possibly fatal falls.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after voting today in favor of a Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations package:

“This package isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start toward protecting our southern border.  It’s not $5.7 billion, but it’s also not the bounced check that Democrats wanted to write.  Border walls work, and they’re needed to stop violent, illegal immigrants from getting into this country,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The package also gives the Coast Guard a pay raise.  Active duty members will receive a 2.6% boost in pay, and they deserve it.” 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that St. Bernard Parish will receive $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help pay for the construction costs of Meraux Elementary School. 

“After Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Parish made the necessary decision to relocate a school that was outside levee protection,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Meraux Elementary School is a state-of-the-art facility that offers students a safe and strong learning environment.  This money will help the parish with the construction bills.” 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced amendments today to the public lands package that will help preserve Louisiana’s natural beauty by conserving wetlands through the reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.

“It’s no secret that we’re struggling to save our wetlands,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, we’ve been able to conserve 793,701 acres of wildlife habitats across Louisiana.  Our wetlands are an important storm buffer, and they support generations of fishermen and shrimpers.  My amendment will reauthorize this program for another five years, allowing us to continue this conservation work.”

Sen. Kennedy’s other amendments include:

  • A request for expedited action against the emerald ash borer.  This is an invasive bug that destroys ash trees.  It’s been found in more than 30 states, including Louisiana.

 

  • An adjustment of the rules to make it more financially feasible for private companies to contract with wildlife refuges.  Currently, wildlife refuges are having trouble finding contractors to offer canoe rentals and guided nature hikes that increase visits.

 

  • A study of the causes behind Louisiana’s lackluster duck season.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined his colleagues in cosponsoring the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act (CREATES) to combat the rising cost of prescription drugs.

The CREATES Act would deter the practice of discouraging lower-cost generic drugs from entering the market.  Brand-name pharmaceutical and biologic companies block cheaper generic drugs from entering the market to keep the cost of their own products high.

This legislation would create more competition among pharmaceutical drug companies, lowering prescription drug costs.

“Families across Louisiana are struggling to pay for costly prescription drugs.  Consumers should have the freedom to buy name-brand pharmaceutical drugs or generic ones,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This legislation is a good first step in lowering pharmaceutical drug prices.  Families shouldn’t have to ration their medicines or go without other necessities because prescription drug prices are too high.”

“I hear from Vermonters every day that rising prescription drug prices are a larger strain each year on their tight budgets,” said Sen. Leahy.  “For too long, a few predatory name brand companies have used anticompetitive strategies to delay entry of lower cost generic drugs.  When these companies use unfair practices to keep drug prices artificially high, patients suffer.  Patients, families and government programs shouldn’t have to cope with increased drug costs to help name brand companies’ bottom lines.  Our bipartisan bill continues to gain momentum.  It is precisely targeted to stop these abuses, and I’m committed to working on behalf of Vermonters in Congress to see that CREATES and other vital efforts to lower prescription drug prices are signed into law.”

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill would result in a $3.9 billion net decrease in the federal deficit.

This legislation is supported by the AARP, American College of Physicians, Freedom Works and many more.  The bill was introduced by Senators Leahy (D-Vt.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lee (R-Utah).

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) thanked Senate custodian Justina Pettway today for being his guest to the State of the Union address. This is the second year that Sen. Kennedy has invited a member of the Senate custodial staff to be his guest to the State of the Union.  Pettway serves as a custodian through Goodwill of Greater Washington’s AbilityOne program.  The AbilityOne program is a federal initiative to help people who have significant disabilities find employment through a national network of nonprofit agencies that contract with the federal government.

Before President Donald J. Trump’s address, Sen. Kennedy and Pettway attended the Secretary of the Senate’s State of the Union Supper.  Following the supper, Sen. Kennedy gave Pettway a tour of the U.S. Capitol, including a visit to the Senate floor.  It was Pettway’s first visit to the Senate chamber despite working in the Capitol complex.

“It was such a joy to have Justina as my guest at the State of the Union,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I had a great time showing her around the Capitol, and getting a chance to express my gratitude for all of the good work she does in the Russell Senate building.  She is such a hard worker, so I hope she enjoyed watching history unfold.” 

“I loved it. It was nice,” said Pettway. “I mean I really enjoyed myself last night with Mr. Kennedy.  I really did.  He’s a good person… If they’d have me, I would love to go again.  I had a good time.  I had a good time listening to the president’s speech.” 

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