Feb 08 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $12,312,207 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.
“The folks in East Baton Rouge Parish have worked hard to recover from the blow that Hurricane Ida dealt them. This $12 million will help make the community whole and cover the costs for moving debris after the storm,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $12,312,207 to East Baton Rouge Parish for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Ida.
Feb 08 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Fair Access to Banking Act to prevent banks from denying services to law-abiding businesses for political purposes.
“Law-abiding Americans should have access to financial services without threat from woke political posturing. The Fair Access to Banking Act would ensure that banks rely on impartial risk assessments—rather than politicized discrimination—when providing their services. This bill would stop banks from becoming advocacy groups that ignore their clients constitutional protections and business interests,” said Kennedy.
“There is no place in our society for discrimination, and big banks and financial institutions are no exception. The Biden administration and their liberal base are weaponizing the financial system to defund, debank, or discredit industries they do not like. It is fundamentally unfair. Our bill imposes serious consequences for discriminatory decisions or de facto bans of legal industries,” said Cramer.
- The Fair Access to Banking Act would protect Americans in the wake of major banks’ move to discriminate against legal businesses. Some of the largest U.S. banks have blocked businesses and consumers from accessing financial services based on political ideology.
- In 2020, five of the country’s largest banks announced they will not provide loans or credit to support oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge even though Congress explicitly authorized it.
- In 2021, JPMorgan Chase declared it would refuse financial services to coal producers, and Bank of America began a politically-motivated effort to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its financing activities by 2050, an effort directly targeting producers of reliable American energy.
- Similary discrimination has also targeted industries protected by the Second Amendment, with banks like Capital One including “ammunitions, firearms, or firearm parts” in its prohibited payments section. Payment services like Apple Pay and PayPal have denied their services for transactions involving firearms or ammunition.
- In response to these developments, the last administration created the Fair Access Rule—which this legislation would codify—to prevent these and other acts of discrimination, but President Joe Biden paused the rule’s implementation.
Sens. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) also cosponsored the legislation.
WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced that Marquise McGill will accompany him to this year’s State of the Union address. McGill is a Washington native who grew up in the southeast corner of the city. He works in the Senate as part of the AbilityOne Program. He and Kennedy both work in the Russell Senate Office Building.
“Marquise brings an incredible attitude and ability to the Senate. He and his colleagues make so much of what we do here possible. Marquise has already distinguished himself as an outstanding member of his team and hopes to one day run his own custodial business. It’s my honor to attend the State of the Union address with someone who has invested in his community and who helps keep the Senate running smoothly,” said Kennedy.
McGill has more than three years of experience working for Goodwill of Greater Washington. He began his role in the Senate in 2020, supporting senators and their staff as a custodian. A father of three, McGill says his children are his motivation for working hard and providing for his family.
The AbilityOne Program is an independent federal initiative that helps people with disabilities attain meaningful employment. The AbilityOne Program employs roughly 40,000 individuals—including more than 2,500 veterans—who are blind or otherwise disabled.
This year marks the fourth time Kennedy has invited a Senate custodian as his guest for the president’s State of the Union address. This is also the first year that senators have been able to invite guests since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Kennedy’s State of the Union response: Biden wants you to believe that Americans can’t afford groceries because economy is so “good”
Feb 07 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) tonight responded to Pres. Biden’s State of the Union address on behalf of the people of Louisiana.
“In Washington, you have to watch what people do, not what they say. In Washington, what you do is what you believe, and everything else is just cottage cheese,” explained Kennedy.
“President Biden has been president now for two years. We know what he believes because we know what he has done: Higher taxes. Bigger government. More spending. More debt. More regulations. Open borders. A weaker military. Criminals are the good guys. And every school library should have at least one drag queen, no matter what the parents think,” he observed.
“The president tonight talked about how ‘sound’ the American economy is under his watch. . . . President Biden wants you to believe . . . that hamburger costs four bucks a pound, a whole chicken costs eight bucks and your 401(k) is crashing because the economy is so ‘good’—it’s not true.
“The American people and the people of Louisiana deserve better,” Kennedy concluded.
Video of Kennedy’s message is available here.
Feb 07 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act to require district attorneys (DAs) to report violent crimes that they fail to charge criminals with committing. Prosecutors who fail to report these decisions risk losing priority funding for their districts.
“Criminals are victimizing innocent Americans, and woke prosecutors are letting them do it over and over again. Louisianians and all Americans deserve to know when their district attorneys refuse to stand up for victims. Our bill would require prosecutors to report what crimes they fail to prosecute so that Americans can better hold their public servants accountable,” said Kennedy.
The legislation responds to a nation-wide trend of DAs who are declining to prosecute murder, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and other serious crimes.
Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have cosponsored the bill.
“As communities throughout the nation continue to deal with disturbingly high levels of violent crime, I’m proud to support this legislation to increase transparency for soft-on-crime prosecutors and hold jurisdictions accountable for allowing criminals who are charged with gun-related crimes to get out of jail without posting cash bail,” said Thune.
“With crime on the rise in Democrat-led cities across the nation, it is imperative that these Soros-backed prosecutors work, do their jobs and get these violent offenders off our streets, instead of allowing career criminals to run rampant in our community. Catch-and-release is enough of a disaster on the Texas-Mexico border. The last thing we need is to institute it in our courts. I’m proud to stand with Sen. Kennedy and our colleagues to demand transparency about this abdication of professional responsibility,” said Cruz.
The bill would apply to state and local prosecutors in the 50 U.S. cities in which crime is most on the rise—including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and New Orleans. Requiring DA’s to publicly report crimes that go unprosecuted will help the Justice Department better determine which jurisdictions are allowing defendants to avoid criminal penalties for serious crimes. For example, jurisdictions with a formal policy that eliminates cash bail for offenses involving a firearm would lose certain federal grant funding.
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Over the past two years, we've seen a disturbing trend in big-city district attorneys working to keep dangerous criminals on our streets rather than behind bars. Look no further than my city of New York where Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg released a 'Day One' memo initially directing his staff to not prosecute certain crimes, downgrade other felony charges filed by police, and no longer seek sentences of life without parole. The same type of woke policies have been enacted by progressive DAs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, and voters have had enough. With prosecutors refusing to prosecute and governors only enabling their leniency, Congress has a responsibility to step in and arm the public with the information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box,” said Malliotakis.
In recent years, a multimillion-dollar project to replace effective policing in major cities with practices inspired by the defund-the-police movement has helped elect DAs who repeatedly refuse to prosecute violent crime.
The bill’s text is available here.
Kennedy, Capito introduce resolution to prevent Biden admin from expanding EPA regulation of waters on Louisiana lands
Feb 02 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and all Senate Republicans in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval to prevent the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing a rule that expands federal regulation over certain bodies of water, including wetlands, streams and more. The rule makes the power grab by establishing a new definition for the 'Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) that will negatively affect land owners small and large in addition to businesses across the state.
“The Biden administration’s latest move is just another example of its effort to seize more power for Washington bureaucrats and placate woke activists. If Congress does not stop the EPA’s power grab, Louisiana’s farmers, oil producers and land owners will suffer crushing and unfair regulation of their private properties. Their businesses could even face legal punishment,” said Kennedy.
“With its overreaching navigable waters rule, the Biden administration upended regulatory certainty and placed unnecessary burdens directly on millions of Americans. This Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval will give every member of Congress the chance to stand with farmers, ranchers, landowners, and builders, and protect future transportation, infrastructure, and energy projects of all kinds in their states. I appreciate the widespread support we’ve received in both the Senate and House, and across the country, as we fight to place an important check on this misguided overreach from the Biden administration,” said Capito.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) is leading the resolution in the House of Representatives.
- In 2015, the Obama-Biden administration finalized a rule expanding the definition of WOTUS.
- In 2020, the Trump administration finalized a rule undoing the previous administration’s regulations.
- In December 2022, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a final rule on WOTUS to regulate traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters and upstream water resources in compliance with the Clean Water Act of 2015.
Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) cosponsored the CRA joint resolution.
Kennedy, Braun introduce bill to stop Biden admin from funding woke ESG projects with Americans’ retirements
Feb 01 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and more than 40 other Republican senators today introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the Biden administration from enforcing a Department of Labor (DOL) rule that would encourage fiduciaries to support environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) priorities over growing Americans’ retirement accounts.
“President Biden’s attempt to use Americans’ retirement plans to bankroll the woke agenda is fiscally irresponsible and morally wrong. Congress must reject this rule before American families suffer even more just so that Biden can support the Left’s pet projects,” said Kennedy.
“President Biden is jeopardizing retirement savings for millions of Americans for a political agenda. In a time when Americans’ 401(k)s have already taken such a hit due to market downturns and record high inflation, the last thing we should do is encourage fiduciaries to make decisions with a lower rate of return for purely ideological reasons. That’s why we are proud to stand up against this rule for the millions of Americans who depend on these funds for their retirement,” said Braun.
Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) is leading the effort in the House of Representatives.
- In November, the Biden administration’s Department of Labor finalized the Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights rule, which allows fiduciaries to consider ESG factors when they make investments or take proxy votes for shareholders. The rule undoes a Trump administration rule that prioritized financial, rather than ideological, outcomes for investors.
- A Harvard Business Review study found that investing in funds that prioritize ESG goals results in poor return rates.
Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tedd Budd (N.C.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John Ricketts (R-Neb.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also cosponsored the resolution.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) in introducing the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. The bill would allow individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home states to exercise those rights in any other state that allows concealed carry, so long as one exercises those rights within the limits of each respective state’s laws.
“The Second Amendment helps safeguard all of Americans’ constitutional rights. This bill would affirm Americans’ fundamental liberties while respecting individual states’ rights to establish their own laws,” said Kennedy.
“I’m proud to support law-abiding gun owners across America with this commonsense legislation that would let them concealed carry in all states that allow it. This legislation strengthens two of our most fundamental constitutional protections—the Second Amendment’s right of citizens to keep and bear arms and the Tenth Amendment’s right of states to make laws best-suited for their residents—and I’m grateful to 44 of my Republican Senate colleagues for joining me on this important bill,” said Cornyn.
This legislation would:
- Allow individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home states to exercise those rights in any other state that has concealed carry laws.
- Treat state-issued concealed carry permits like drivers’ licenses, allowing an individual to use his or her home-state license to drive in another state while abiding by the speed limit of whatever state that person is in.
- Protect state sovereignty by refusing to establish a national standard for concealed carry.
Both the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association have endorsed this legislation.
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the Senate floor about improving education in Louisiana schools.
“Louisiana, like all of our states, is working as hard as we can to improve K through 12, elementary and secondary education. . . . Our problem in America is elementary and secondary education, and it’s frustrating, Mr. President. We've made some improvements but not nearly enough. . . . Now here's our problem today: Some years ago we started grading our schools, Mr. President. We grade our schools in Louisiana, our elementary and secondary schools, for two reasons. First, because we want education quality. Number two, transparency,” said Kennedy.
“But here's the problem: 41 percent of our elementary and middle schools get A's and B's. I think that's probably pretty accurate. We’re going to get that number up, those grades up. But about 41 percent of our elementary and middle schools grade A or B. Seventy percent of our high schools grade A or B. Something's not meshing here. I wish I could say that 70 percent of our high schools were A and B schools, but we all know in Louisiana that they are not,” he continued.
“It's not just money. . . . In Louisiana, we spend about $12,000 per year, per child. Now that's a lot of money in my state, given the standard cost of living. By way of comparison, Florida spends about $10,000,” explained Kennedy.
“Let's work together. Let's look reality in the eye and accept it. Let's understand that we need a new methodology to try to grade our schools. Let's look reality in the eye and accept the fact that our parents deserve to know the quality of school that their kids are attending. And let's come up with a new system that is accurate but that is fair to everybody. And let's stop blaming people and regretting yesterday and start creating tomorrow. Because . . . the future of my state is education. It's not the price of oil. It’s not the unemployment rate. It's not who the senators are. It’s education,” Kennedy concluded.
View Kennedy’s full speech here.
Kennedy, Cortez Masto, bipartisan group of senators urge Biden admin to protect Medicare Advantage program
Jan 31 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with a bipartisan group of more than 50 other senators, in urging the Biden administration to maintain support for the Medicare Advantage program, which provides quality health care to more than 420,000 Louisianians.
“As the administration considers updates to the program for plan year 2024, we urge you to ensure that any proposed payment and policy changes enable Medicare Advantage to continue providing the affordable, high-quality care our constituents rely on every day,” the senators wrote.
“With fifty-three percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees living on less than $25,000 per year, combined with increasing pressures on Americans’ budgets, it is critical that older adults and individuals with disabilities continue to have stable access to these cost protections that are only available in Medicare Advantage,” they continued.
Importantly, the lawmakers also noted, “The Medicare Advantage program allows for plans to focus on prevention and care coordination, which results in better health outcomes.”
Forty-seven percent of Louisiana’s eligible population is enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
Text of the full letter is here.