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MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,379,934 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for south Louisiana in disaster relief related to Hurricane Ida.

“Louisiana is still suffering from the tremendous damage that Hurricane Ida inflicted on our state, and these funds will help our state recover,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $4,280,747 to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office for emergency measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,099,187 to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Department for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $29.9 million in National Telecommunications and Information Administration funds to expand broadband in Acadiana.

“Broadband expansion is crucial for Louisianians who need high-speed internet. This $29.9 million will help improve broadband access for Louisiana families in Acadiana,” said Kennedy.

The $29.9 million will fund the Acadiana Regional Public/Private Partnership project to support broadband deployment in Acadiana and serve more than 22,000 households. The funding was provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and the Louisiana congressional delegation urged leaders on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to dedicate additional disaster recovery funds for Louisiana.

“This is an urgent crisis: families across Louisiana are struggling to house people and meet their basic life-sustaining needs today. We respectfully request swift action to make good on the promise of the down payment in the September Continuing Resolution and appropriate additional supplemental funding dollars for unmet needs in Louisiana. South Louisiana has been hit by unprecedented disaster and needs the support of the Congress to put them on the path to a full recovery,” the lawmakers wrote.

Congress must pass an additional government funding bill by March 11, 2022, and a year-and-a-half of natural disasters—including a historic winter storm, severe flooding and Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida—has left Louisiana in need of additional recovery aid.

The delegation also called for Congress to invest more in pre-disaster mitigation and protection from future floods.

Kennedy also spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the most recent funding extension to urge Congress not to forget Louisianians’ need for disaster relief aid in the upcoming government funding deal.

Kennedy fought for nearly $600 million in disaster relief to be included in the short-term funding bill that became law after passing the Senate on Sept. 30, 2021. The legislation also extended the National Flood Insurance Program without raising the debt limit. This law provided $595 million to Louisiana.

Kennedy is the only member of the Louisiana delegation who sits on an appropriations committee.

Background:

  • On Feb. 16, the Senate Small Business Committee passed the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to access disaster relief more easily in the wake of a natural disaster. Kennedy helped introduce the bill.

  • On Oct. 19, 2021, the Senate passed the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, which Kennedy helped introduce. The bill would allow state governments to use unspent pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to provide relief for natural disaster victims and to invest in infrastructure needs. The bill is waiting for a vote in the House.

  • On Aug. 2, 2021, Kennedy offered an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill providing $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. The Senate blocked the amendment.  

  • On July 21, 2021, Kennedy joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief. 

  • On July 15, 2021, Kennedy introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from historic storms. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage. 

  • On May 18, 2021, Kennedy urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana. 

  • On Sept. 4, 2020, Kennedy wrote to Senate leadership, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), to request that the Senate consider emergency supplemental aid to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricane Laura.

The letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – The Senate passed a resolution to condemn the antisemitic terrorist attack that occurred this January at Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and praise the law enforcement officials who responded to the attack. The resolution passed with support from Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) led the bipartisan effort.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in condemning the vile antisemitic terrorist attack on the Colleyville synagogue and praise the brave officers who responded so quickly to the threat,” said Kennedy.

Malik Faisal Akram held four people hostage at the Beth Israel Congregation in Colleyville for hours on Jan. 15. The resolution condemns the terrorist attack, condemns antisemitism in the United States and globally, expresses gratitude that no innocents died and praises the bravery of the law enforcement officials who responded to the attack.

Text of the resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a resolution to honor the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization with support from Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), who joined Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) in introducing the resolution.

The resolution designates Feb. 19-26, 2022, as “National FFA Week.”

“Farmers are part of America’s economic and cultural backbone. The National FFA does excellent work equipping the next generation of American farmers, and I’m proud to join Sen. Young in recognizing their work,” said Kennedy.

“Hoosiers agree FFA plays a critical role in the development of students through agricultural education. The lessons, tools, and resources gained through the FFA program equip Indiana’s future leaders with the skills needed to succeed in a variety of fields, including agriculture. I’m glad to introduce this resolution establishing National FFA Week in support of the more than 11,600 FFA members in Indiana,” said Young.

The resolution recognizes the important role that the National FFA plays in developing students’ leadership and career skills through agricultural education. The resolution also celebrates 70 years of the National FFA Organization’s membership magazine, New Horizons.

More than 40 other senators also cosponsored the resolution.

Text of the resolution is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and more than 100 other lawmakers in writing to Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Robert Califf to condemn the FDA’s decision to permanently eliminate longstanding patient safeguards associated with the chemical abortion drug mifepristone, and to urge the FDA to rescind this decision.

“Removing the in-person dispensing requirements from the drug’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and permitting mail-order dispensing of this drug will increase risks to women. This action recklessly ignores the clear data showing the dangers of chemical abortions and abandons FDA’s responsibility for ensuring safety of drugs,” the lawmakers wrote.

“In addition to the loss of the unborn child, chemical abortion drugs present serious risk to the health of the mother, including severe bleeding, infection, the need for surgical intervention, and even death. In fact, chemical abortions are four times more dangerous than surgical abortions. These health risks necessitate, at minimum, in-person screening by a physician,” the lawmakers continued.

Make no mistake: the relaxation of these requirements will hasten a new regime of mail-order abortion, where women ingest these dangerous medications alone without any meaningful oversight from a doctor. Without physician involvement and the associated quick access to care in the case of adverse events, women are likely to face additional complications from these do-it-yourself chemical abortions,” concluded the lawmakers.

The letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and more than 60 other senators in writing to Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to urge the Biden administration to keep supporting the Medicare Advantage program, which primarily benefits seniors.

“As you consider annual updates for plan year 2023, we ask you to ensure that payment or policy changes allow Medicare Advantage plans to continue to provide the patient-centered care that 43 percent of Medicare-eligible Americans rely on every day,” wrote the senators.

“Enrollees in the program benefit from out-of-pocket cost limits and plan options that can include access to telehealth services, in-home care, nutrition services, and transportation benefits to meet seniors’ individual needs,” the senators continued.

“For plan year 2023, we urge the Administration maintain stability within Medicare Advantage, including advancing flexible in-plan benefit offerings and promoting care coordination. We are committed to ensuring that our constituents who rely on Medicare Advantage enjoy the same access to affordable benefits in order to get the care they need, particularly as they navigate the persistent challenges of the pandemic,” the senators concluded.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a resolution to express support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence and condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The resolution passed with support from Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) led the bipartisan effort.

“More than 10,000 Ukrainians have already perished defending their homes and families from Russian aggression. This resolution honors their noble sacrifice and affirms that America stands with Ukraine and will not ignore Russia’s malicious behavior,” said Kennedy.

The resolution points out that the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which started in 2014, has cost the lives of at least 14,000 Ukrainians and displaced millions more. The resolution also praises the courage of the Ukrainian people, reaffirms America’s political, diplomatic and military support for Ukraine and condemns Russia’s past and current aggression against Ukraine.   

Text of the resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Crucial Communism Teaching Act to help educate students about the history and dangers of communism.  

“Communism is a cancer. Tens of millions of people have lost their lives under this dehumanizing ideology. The next generation of Americans must understand the threat communism poses to liberty and justice for innocent people around the world, and it’s our job to teach them,” said Kennedy.

A poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation shows that most young adults lack understanding of the significance and history of communism. The same poll showed that one in five Millennials, as well as one in three members of Gen Z, views communism favorably.

The Crucial Communism Teaching Act would make educational materials available through the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to help teach high school students about the dangers of communism and totalitarianism. The bill would also require high schools to teach students the history of communism and how this ideology undermines America’s founding principles of freedom and democracy.

Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) introduced the Crucial Communism Teaching Act in the House.

Text of the Crucial Communism Teaching Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined more than 20 fellow senators in urging Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to support continued exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The letter comes in the wake of Democrat senators’ asking Granholm to limit American LNG exports.

“. . . the Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently reported several power plants that burn fuel oil had to be reactivated in January to help meet demand, due to natural gas pipeline constraints. Obstructing new LNG exports could also have the unintended effect of increasing global LNG prices, which would correlate to increased energy costs for customers in the United States,” wrote the senators.

“Geopolitically, NATO member states and countries such as South Korea and Japan rely on the relative certainty associated with the U.S. LNG regulatory model. . . . We encourage your department to issue non-free trade agreement export licenses in a timely manner to ensure the global market continues to view U.S. LNG as a dependable source of energy and a reliable alternative to strategic competitors like Russia,” the senators continued.

“Increased production and export volumes of U.S. natural gas encourage developing nations to use a cleaner fuel source. Investing in domestic oil and gas production creates U.S. jobs. It lowers domestic and global emissions. It also increases U.S. energy security and makes us essential to the energy security of others. We ask that you please consider these factors in your ongoing efforts to facilitate the supply of energy commodities to our allies and partners, while simultaneously securing clean and reliable energy domestically,” concluded the senators.

The senators also directed the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Louisiana produces more LNG than any other state and accounted for 55 percent of U.S. LNG exports in 2020. That production played a significant part in turning America into the world’s largest LNG exporter.   

The letter is available here.