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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor is awarding $515,000 to help homeless veterans return to the workforce.  The money will be awarded to the Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana and will be used primarily to help veterans in the New Orleans and Houma areas.

Through federal funding, Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana helped 168 veterans in the past year find jobs by assisting them with transportation, job training and other resources.

“Veterans who served our country deserve every bit of help we can give them.  We’ve made tremendous progress in ensuring they’re not sleeping on the streets.  The next step is to help them regain their self-sufficiency,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This funding will help veterans in Southeast Louisiana rejoin the workforce by training them for careers and guiding them through the job hunt.  A good job ensures a good life.”

“It’s a true honor and blessing to be able to help veterans get back on their feet,” said Gerald Rooks, veteran services program director for Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced a resolution today denouncing the radical calls for the dissolution of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Sen. Kennedy was joined by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.) and Todd Young (R-Ind). 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement performs vital functions that protect American families.  Last year, agents worked tirelessly around the clock to rescue 1,422 victims of human trafficking.  More than 900 of those victims were children.  ICE agents also removed a million pounds of narcotics and more than 4,800 gang members from the streets of this country.  Those numbers are just a small fraction of the nearly 127,000 arrests made by ICE agents last year against people who came here and committed violent crimes against law-abiding Americans.  Those criminals were responsible for more than 50,000 assaults, 2,000 kidnappings and 1,800 homicides.

“I am deeply troubled by the Democrats’ reckless calls to abolish ICE.  Eliminating ICE shows a blatant disregard for the welfare of the American people and our nation’s immigration laws,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “With the ever present threat of MS-13 and international terrorism, along with an opioid crisis being fought at our border, abolishing ICE is unthinkable.  ICE officers are in the trenches fighting those threats and protecting American families from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that endanger our families.  ICE deserves our gratitude and respect, not scorn and ridicule.”

“ICE agents are the front line when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws. They risk their lives on a daily basis to protect American citizens and immigrants from violent criminals, drug cartels, and human traffickers. Calls to abolish ICE not only disregard our immigration laws and give implicit license to those who want to enter our country illegally, they also smear the heroic sacrifices of ICE agents and put people at risk, especially in border states like Texas. I will continue to support the brave men and women who serve as ICE agents, and urge my colleagues to stand by ICE and honor the key role it plays in keeping our country safe,” said Sen. Cruz.

“ICE plays a critical role in ensuring our nation has a lawful immigration system. Calls to abolish ICE are misguided and dangerous. They ignore the valuable role ICE officers play in keeping Americans safe. Every day, ICE officers remove dangerous criminals who threaten our communities, including sex offenders, murderers and gang members. This country was founded on the principles of the rule of law and equal justice. Their public service deserves our thanks,” Sen. Grassley said.

“Every United States Senator should support this effort to recognize the brave women and men who wear the ICE uniform,” said Sen. Perdue. “ICE is a critical component of our country’s national security strategy created after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Since then, our ICE law enforcement officers have dedicated their lives to arresting human traffickers, protecting communities from gangs, combating terrorism, and keeping drugs off the street. We don’t say it enough - thank you to all of our ICE officers.”

“The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is an essential federal law enforcement agency,” Sen. Lee said. “Without internal federal immigration law enforcement, illegal immigrants would be free to stay in our country forever once they snuck in the border or illegally overstayed their legally issued visa. We would no longer be a sovereign if we stopped governing who could and could not be in our country."

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents play a vital role in the defense of our country,” said Sen. Rounds. “Not only do they work to safeguard our borders, they keep our communities safe and help rescue vulnerable children and human trafficking victims. Without the brave men and women of ICE, our borders would be essentially wide open for terrorists and other criminals who are intent on doing harm to Americans. Last year alone, ICE agents made approximately 5,000 gang arrests, seized nearly a million pounds of narcotics and rescued over 1,000 human trafficking victims and children subject to exploitation. I support our law enforcement officers at ICE who put themselves in danger every day to defend our borders and keep our communities safe.”

“Washington Democrats wanting to abolish ICE, our country's immigration law enforcement agency, are essentially demanding open borders,” said Sen. Cassidy, M.D. “Assaults on ICE officers nearly tripled in 2017, so instead of attacking them, we should support them as they work to secure our borders, stop the flow of deadly drugs, break up violent gangs like MS-13, rescue human trafficking victims, and keep our communities safe.”

“The hardworking men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement risk their lives each day to protect our borders and enforce our laws,” Sen. Inhofe said. “I often visit with ICE agents and Border Patrol officers at the Port of Brownsville, Texas. They work diligently, and in difficult conditions, to manage deportations of dangerous criminals and to investigate cybercrime, human trafficking and illicit narcotics trade. Calls to abolish this critical agency are shortsighted and would lead to a proliferation of crime in our communities. I’m proud to support ICE and their important role in our nation’s law enforcement.”   

“ICE agents put their lives on the line to protect our communities,” said Sen. Blunt. “Every day, they work to take violent criminals off the street, seize deadly narcotics, rescue human trafficking victims, and prevent terrorists from carrying out attacks on our shores. They are a vital part of our nation’s law enforcement efforts and we are a safer country because of their service.” 

“ICE agents keep our borders secure and I want to thank them for the important work they are doing. Far too many people are coming into our country illegally and putting the safety and security of American citizens at risk. In Montana, the effects of unsecured borders are personal. All across our state, communities are torn apart by the meth and opioids that are trafficked through the southern border. I am committed to fighting to protect ICE and all the Americans its agents protect,” said Sen. Daines.

“Abolishing ICE means abandoning our borders and leaving them open to anyone. That’s just irresponsible and certainly not in the best interest of the American people and their security.  We are a nation of laws and we must enforce our immigration laws,” said Sen. Hyde-Smith.

“The men and women of ICE go out every day and risk their own lives by confronting dangerous gang members and criminals and stopping the flow of illegal drugs," said Sen. Tillis. "The current narrative to abolish ICE is irresponsible, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of aisle to call out these unreasonable demands and the instead show appreciation to ICE agents for the job they do to keep our country safe.”

“The men and women of Immigration and Customs Enforcement who put their lives on the line every day deserve our support, not our scorn. It’s not their fault our immigration system is horribly broken. Angry rhetoric and reckless proposals directed at ICE will not solve the problems of our unsecured border or legal loopholes that encourage illegal immigration,” said Sen. Johnson.

“As we seek a long-term solution to our border crisis, we need to continue to support the men and women who are risking their lives on the border every day, implementing our immigration laws and supporting national security efforts,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced a resolution today denouncing the radical calls for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  Congressman Clay Higgins (R-La.), a member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border & Maritime Security, filed a companion resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I am deeply troubled by the Democrats’ reckless calls to abolish ICE.  Eliminating ICE shows a blatant disregard for the welfare of the American people and our nation’s immigration laws,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “With the ever present threat of MS-13 and international terrorism, along with an opioid crisis being fought at our border, abolishing ICE is unthinkable.  ICE officers are in the trenches fighting those threats and protecting American families from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that endanger our families.  ICE deserves our gratitude and respect, not scorn and ridicule.”

“Some Democrats have launched an assault against ICE and other law enforcement agents who secure our borders. Their calls to abolish ICE are reckless and put our national security interests at risk,” said Congressman Higgins. “Americans support law and order and sovereign borders. ICE plays a crucial role for our nation’s security and their service should be respected. Hopefully, this resolution will remind some of my colleagues across the aisle that we have been elected to serve American citizens, not foreign citizens, and certainly not illegal immigrants.”

 

View Sen. Kennedy’s resolution here.

View Congressman Higgins’ resolution here.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Livingston Parish School Board will receive $7.4 million in FEMA funds to help recover from the devastating floods of 2016.

“This funding will help replace the contents at 17 schools in Livingston Parish.  Livingston Parish was one of the hardest hit by the unexpected 2016 flooding.  This money will go a long way toward helping Livingston Parish’s schools recover and put this devastating event in the rearview mirror,” said Sen. Kennedy.

“Livingston Parish Public Schools appreciates the efforts of our congressional delegation in their work with FEMA to quickly reimburse monies spent by our school system to recover from the Great Flood of 2016,” said Livingston Parish Public Schools Superintendent Rick Wentzel. 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement on President Donald J. Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Judge Kavanaugh is obviously well-educated and has an impressive resume, but I look forward to getting to know him better throughout the confirmation process.  I want someone who’s smart, intellectually curious and willing to test their assumptions against the arguments of those who disagree with them. 

“During the Senate Judiciary hearings, I plan to delve into how he interprets a statute and how he would interpret the Constitution when it’s not clear.  I want to understand how he thinks the judiciary fits in the Madisonian balance of separation of powers.  I want to know if he respects the Bill of Rights and understands why we have a Bill of Rights.  You really can’t tell whether that standard can be reached until you have a confirmation hearing.  That’s why I look forward to a full and fair vetting process.”

 

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Construction funding includes $343 Million for Comite River Diversion Canal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that Louisiana received nearly $1.4 billion for disaster recovery projects in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Work Plan.  The funding includes $343 million for the Comite River Diversion Canal.

“The Comite River Diversion Canal has been on the drawing board for decades.  A lot of people have watched their homes flood waiting for the diversion canal to be built.  Families and businesses in multiple parishes desperately need this funding.  The time for meetings and excuses is over, it’s time to get it built,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I cannot emphasize enough how much this funding will mean for families and business owners who worry every time it rains.”

Also included in construction funding that was enacted in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018:

  • East Baton Rouge Parish Flood Control, $255 million
  • Grand Isle, $15 million
  • West Shore, Lake Ponchartrain, $760 million. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today called for a thorough investigation into whether taxpayer dollars were wasted because of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ sloppy oversight of the Medicaid program.  A recent audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office determined that it’s impossible for DHH to know whether millions of dollars in taxpayer money were improperly spent.

“Louisiana’s chief auditor, who is nonpartisan and calls it like he sees it, described DHH’s management of the Medicaid program as completely willy-nilly.  It’s embarrassing,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Medicaid consumes nearly half the state budget. I don’t think it’s a matter of whether taxpayer dollars were wasted, it’s a matter of how many were wasted because of DHH’s incompetence.   Someone – preferably not DHH – needs to account for every single penny and demand repayment of any that was misspent.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today about the radical push by some Democratic leaders to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE):

“Democrats who are pushing to eliminate ICE must be living in a fantasy world.  They’ve forgotten the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  They pretend that violent drug cartel members aren’t intent on crossing our border and turning our daily lives into bloody nightmares,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “ICE just helped secure the lengthy prison sentence of a drug cartel leader whose organization tortured and murdered 12 Mexican law enforcement officers.  The ridiculous push to eliminate ICE dishonors those who have died in cross border violence and the officers who have sacrificed their lives guarding the U.S. border.  Radical Democrats and Democratic leadership are playing high stakes, political poker with the safety of American families.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) proposed an amendment to eliminate the federal employee executive branch pay raise for next year.  The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a vote of 2-29, rejected his amendment.

“Washington is on a spending spree, and it’s time for some change around here,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My amendment would have saved hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in a payroll that tops $270 billion annually.  We could have used the savings to pay down the national debt and invest in our children’s futures.  It may have only gotten two votes, but at least I tried.  And I’ll keep fighting to curtail government spending.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that he has signed on to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-Wis.) bill, S.3041, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018.  This legislation addresses the duplication of benefits’ problem for the 2016 flood victims, improves mitigation activities and ensures that multi-structure campuses such as schools and hospitals only have to meet one $500,000 deductible.  The duplication of benefits’ fix is especially important to the victims of the historic 2016 floods in Louisiana who are still struggling to rebuild.

Sen. Kennedy also has separate legislation S.2547, the Consolidating Losses Associated to Severe Storms Act of 2018 (CLASS Act), to relieve the financial stress that Louisiana school districts are suffering because of the 2016 floods.  S.3041 builds on Sen. Kennedy’s previous efforts to spare school districts from millions of dollars in penalties on flood-damaged buildings.

“Under the current rules, we are essentially punishing people for being diligent about rebuilding their homes after a disaster, and that has to stop.  This legislation makes some long-awaited, common sense reforms to our disaster recovery programs, including duplication of benefits,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Currently, the federal government treats a loan from the Small Business Administration like a disaster benefit which then often prevents people from qualifying for disaster grants down the road.  I am proud to be a part of this legislation that helps Louisiana families recover from the 2016 floods.”