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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in introducing the Respect for the Second Amendment Act to protect an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. 

The legislation would codify the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. 

“Congress has the ability to use its authority to guard against state overreach—and that is what this bill does. At a time when the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is under attack in courtrooms throughout America, we must ensure that the Supreme Court’s decision about the Second Amendment is not only legal precedent but that the law preserves it forever,” said Kennedy.

“The Supreme Court has spoken very clearly in Heller and Bruen on the Second Amendment: We have an individual right to own a gun,” Kennedy added.

On the topic of gun ownership, the senator said, “I own several. I also believe that love is the answer, but I do, I own a hand gun just in case.”

“I am very pleased that all Senate Judiciary Republicans are speaking with one voice when it comes to supporting the Second Amendment rights recognized by the Supreme Court in the Heller and Bruen decisions. Now more than ever, it is important that Congress recognize and support that the Second Amendment is an individual right and that the right to bear arms to defend oneself is an integral part of American society. With this bill, we are ensuring that the rights affirmed by the Supreme Court are part of the federal code—and preventing a future Supreme Court from reversing this decision. The Respect for the Second Amendment Act will memorialize the holdings in these landmark Supreme Court cases and provide further protection to the Second Amendment,” said Graham.

The Respect for the Second Amendment Act would:

  • Create public and private rights of action against any person who seeks to enforce a law, rule or ordinance that violates the constitutional right of an individual to manufacture for personal use, acquire, possess, own, carry, transport or use a privately owned firearm or privately owned ammunition unless that law is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and history of firearm regulation.
  • Prohibit states from rejecting firearms licenses on the sole basis of the license originating under another state’s jurisdiction.
  • Eliminate 18 U.S. Code § 927 so that, on a case-by-case basis, Congress can override state law when it proves an unconstitutional attempt to override the Second Amendment.

Background:

  • New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen brought into question the constitutionality of a New York state law, known as the Sullivan Act, which required those who applied for a concealed carry license to show a special cause for getting a license.
  • The Court held that “New York’s proper-cause requirement violate[d] the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms in public for self-defense.” 

Full text of the bill is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) in introducing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Resolution to recognize that Congress does not have the authority to deem the ERA as a ratified amendment to the Constitution.

The ERA Resolution is a check against an illegitimate effort, S.J.Res.4, that attempts undo the deadline that Congress set in 1972, when the amendment was sent to the states for ratification. 

“Radical lawmakers cannot erase women or their rights from our Constitution. This attempt is legally and morally wrong and would unleash a Pandora’s box of harmful legal implications. Nor can they replace a deadline that passed long ago. This resolution makes clear what most of us already know: The deadline for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment has long passed and was rightfully rejected,” said Kennedy.

“The law and the facts outlined in this resolution are clear. Congress has no authority to go back in time to revive a failed constitutional amendment, which makes the current push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment wrong on its face. Beyond the illegitimacy of trying to resurrect the ERA, we cannot ignore the very serious effects adding the ERA to our Constitution today would have on abortion, religious liberty, protections for women, and more,” said Hyde-Smith.

Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) also cosponsored the resolution.

The resolution recognizes that:

  • The role that Congress had in the constitutional amendment process for the ERA concluded once the amendment was submitted to the states.
  • The ERA was not ratified to the Constitution because the deadline passed without having the necessary support from three-fourths of states.
  • Congress does not have the authority to change a resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment after it is submitted to the states or after the deadline is reached.
  • In order for the ERA to be ratified in a legitimate manner, the process must follow Article V of the Constitution, which requires a re-introduction of the amendment with the same or modified language in addition to being approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate. 

The potential ramifications of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment include:

  • Legalizing abortion on demand.
  • Prohibiting schools from allowing separate-sex athletic teams.
  • Prohibiting separate prisons for male and female prisoners.
  • Prohibiting separate public restrooms for males and females.
  • Requiring women to register for the draft.
  • Requiring public funding for sex-reassignment surgeries based on the argument that denying coverage would constitute sex discrimination.
  • Requiring doctors to provide puberty blockers to children who claim to identify as transgender.
  • Prohibiting religious organizations from having single-sex membership.

Of the 35 states that ratified the ERA before the deadline, four voted to rescind their ratifications.

Full text of the resolution is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s remarks here, and read his op-ed here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on Fox News and penned an op-ed urging Germany, Europe’s economic leader, to fulfill its promises to shore up Ukraine’s defenses against Russia’s attacks. Kennedy also emphasized the need for Germany to become less dependent on Russian energy.

Below are key excerpts from Kennedy’s piece:

“During his recent visit to the United States, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised that his country would soon begin spending 2% of its annual budget on defense.”

. . . 

“By every measure, Germany—the economic leader of Europe—is failing to pull its weight. Its current spending by share of GDP wouldn’t even place Germany in the top 10 nations in terms of financial support for Ukraine.

“Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland have all provided more than double what Germany has given to Ukraine by share of GDP. But countries don’t need proximity to Russia to outspend Germany.”

. . .

“Not only has Germany been slow to pull out its pocketbook, but it appears to be in no rush to send weapons, either. Germany delayed sending its Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine for weeks while haggling with the Biden administration. Scholz would only agree to send the tanks if the United States first committed to sending its M1 Abrams.

“Before moving an inch, Germany demands the United States move a mile. And so far, the Biden administration appears to be playing along.

“Germany would be wise to consider where it was one year ago. As Putin’s men rapidly approached Kyiv, Germany’s military was in shambles.” 

. . .

“Chancellor Scholz called the moment a turning point for Germany. He promised to increase defense spending by 2% while also recruiting an additional 30,000 men and women to join the Bundeswehr by 2025.” 

. . . 

“But its defense spending has hardly peaked above 1.5 percent. Experts doubt it will reach the goal of recruiting 30,000. And the Very High Readiness Task Force still lacks the personnel or equipment to deploy within 72 hours.”

. . .

“Germany had foolishly placed its energy security in Russia’s hands in the years leading up to the war in Ukraine. In theory, Germany buying natural gas from Russia was supposed to endear Putin to the west. In practice, all it did was make Germany dependent on Russia.

“And when Russia started the war, it wasn’t Germany that turned away Russian energy; Russia flipped the switch and left Germany in the cold.”

. . .

“But Germany didn’t learn its lesson. In the same way it relied on Russia for energy, Germany is relying on everyone else to support Ukraine and keep Putin at bay.”

. . .

“It’s time for our friends in Germany to deliver on their promises to Ukraine and start footing the bill for their own defense. With a full year of war already gone, Germany must start acting like the European leader it claims to be.”

Read Kennedy’s op-ed here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and more than 40 Republican senators today introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule.

 The rule, titled Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, would reclassify pistols as short-barreled rifles if they have a stabilizing brace attachment, even though many disabled veterans and other Americans rely on these braces to use their firearms. Under this rule, otherwise lawful gun owners could face up to 10 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines if they fail to register pistols with stabilizing braces with the ATF. If gun owners do not register their firearms, they would have to destroy the firearm, surrender their firearm to the ATF or remove the brace in such a way that it cannot be reattached.

In addition to the CRA resolution, Kennedy and Marshall are introducing a bill to prevent federal funds from being used to implement, administer, or enforce this unconstitutional rule.

 “Millions of law-abiding Americans use pistol braces, and many of those Americans rely on braces because they are disabled. If Congress doesn’t correct the ATF’s misguided rule, countless law-abiding gunowners in Louisiana and other states will become criminals in the blink of an eye. The Biden administration’s assault on the Second Amendment isn’t going to stop unless we defend this fundamental liberty,” said Kennedy.

“The Biden administration’s war on every American’s fundamental right to bear arms is relentless and an offense to our founders. Congress must use every tool at its disposal to stop the Biden ATF from enacting this unconstitutional gun grab and creating its newly proposed anti-2nd Amendment gun registry. The Congressional Review Act is one of those important tools and I’m pleased to co-lead this effort with Senator Kennedy,” said Marshall. 

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) is introducing Kennedy’s resolution in the House of Representatives.

“The ATF's unconstitutional pistol brace rule reveals the agency's brazen disregard for our Constitution and Congress' sole legislative authority. Unelected anti-gun bureaucrats simply do not have the power to propel President Biden's goal of disarming our nation and dismantling our Second Amendment freedoms by registering and banning millions of firearms. In the face of the Biden Administration's latest gun-grabbing measure, it's time for Congress to utilize the Congressional Review Act to fight for law-abiding gun owners. As a stalwart supporter of the Second Amendment and a Federal Firearms Licensee by trade, I'm proud to lead the effort to terminate the ATF's latest tyrannical tactic with Congressman Richard Hudson and Senator John Kennedy. We remain unwavering in the defense of Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms," said Clyde.

In 2012, the Obama-Biden administration’s ATF determined that pistol-brace attachments do not change the classification of a pistol to that of a rifle. Despite this, the Biden administration in 2021 directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to propose a rule that clarifies when a pistol with a brace attachment should be designated as a rifle.

Earlier this year, the DOJ announced the “stabilizing braces” final rule

 “The ATF’s overreaching rule seeks to penalize and disarm law-abiding gun owners across America, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in challenging this new regulation,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).

“Every day, people across Wyoming responsibly use their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. President Biden’s unconstitutional rule threatens to turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. We must stop the administration from imposing the largest government-initiated gun registration and confiscation program in history. I will fight against any policies that jeopardize the Second Amendment rights of the people of Wyoming and across the country,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

“The Biden administration’s rulemaking on pistol braces is a gun confiscation scheme that would punish millions of Americans for exercising their constitutional right. This rule and the higher taxes, longer waiting periods, and red tape is by design to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens, and I urge Attorney General Garland and ATF Director Dettelbach to reverse it immediately,”said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

“The ATF’s new rule forces Second Amendment sanctuary states like North Dakota to alter, destroy, surrender, or register pistol-stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles. Instead of targeting criminals, the new rule punishes millions of law-abiding citizens. I will always protect our constitutional right to bear arms, which is why I strongly oppose this rule. I urge my Senate colleagues to do the same,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).

“Gun owners in Nebraska and across our country have a fundamental right to bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment. This proposal is yet another example of excessive overreach by the federal government that unfairly burdens law abiding firearm owners. I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting a resolution to overturn this misguided rule,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

“The new rule on pistol braces is a gross violation of Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The Biden Administration has continuously demonstrated a willingness to overstep the bounds of the Constitution. We will stand with gun owners,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

“The President has no authority to order this backdoor attempt to infringe on the constitutional rights of millions of Americans. I’m pleased to join my Senate colleagues in fighting to stop this government gun grab,” said Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.). 

“I’m a proud supporter of our Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. Biden and the far-left’s blatant attempt to push overreaching policies that infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans is completely unacceptable. I’m proud to join my colleagues to reverse this ridiculous attempt to make criminals of law-abiding gun owners and protect the constitutional rights our nation was founded on,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.). 

“The Biden Administration’s blatant disregard for Constitutional rights hit a new low with their pistol brace rule. A pistol brace is a stabilizer that serves as a gun accommodation to help veterans with disabilities more safely handle a pistol. Regardless of this safety function, this new rule will require owners of a pistol brace to consent to being added to a federal gun registry—which is blatantly illegal—or risk up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to a quarter million dollars. The American people need a say in whether this bill is instituted, and the only way to guarantee that is for Congress to demand Congressional approval before this rule is implemented. I strongly oppose this unlawful ban, and I hope our Congressional Review Act ensures that I have the chance to vote against this rule in the Senate,” said Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho).

“Second Amendment rights are not based in law or regulation, but enshrined in the Constitution. Oklahomans know well how the progressive Biden Administration is trying to erode Second Amendment rights by making guns, ammunition, and gun-related products like pistol braces difficult to own. Law-abiding gun owners are counting on us to protect their rights and their use of pistol braces. Congress should make it clear to the ATF that we won’t stand for this overreach,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.). 

“After blessing the use of pistol braces for years, the ATF will now require anyone who owns a gun with a pistol brace to remove it, turn the gun in, or register it. This thoughtless regulation won’t stop criminals—but it will saddle legal gun owners with even more rules,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

“The ATF under the Biden administration insists on issuing rules that end up infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners while doing next to nothing to stop violent crime. It’s too much. I hope enough Senators will stand up and block this ill-advised and unneeded rule,” said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

“This new rule is yet another example of federal overreach by Biden’s Department of Justice. The unconstitutional action from the ATF is an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join us in halting this action by the Administration,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). 

“The ATF has proven time and time again that they are determined on carrying out Biden and Senate Democrats’ unconstitutional gun-grabbing agenda. I will fight this move by unelected Washington bureaucrats that would strip Montanans of their Second Amendment rights,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

“Joe Biden’s Pistol Brace Rule is wholly inconsistent with the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment. Along with its impractical application, it is unacceptable for the federal government to tax and take away the ability of tens of millions of Americans, including disabled veterans, to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms. As a strong defender of the Second Amendment, I will always protect the rights of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms,” said Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).

“Stabilizing braces were initially designed and manufactured to assist disabled combat veterans in shooting larger pistols that were otherwise too cumbersome for a gun owner with a disability to use. The ATF previously ruled that they are permissible. This decision to overturn that ruling infringes on the Second Amendment rights of Wyoming veterans who served our nation honorably as well as other people in Wyoming who use pistol braces. I'm proud to join Senator Kennedy in introducing this Congressional Review Act resolution opposing this unconstitutional rule,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).

“The Biden administration is once again attempting to punish law-abiding Americans, including disabled veterans who have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our rights. Federal bureaucrats have no authority to tamper with or undermine the Second Amendment. Congress should use every tool to block ATF from acquiring information that could be used to confiscate firearms or target responsible gun owners,” said Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.). 

“The disrespect shown to disabled veterans by the Biden administration is unconscionable. Make no mistake; unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats are punishing veterans for enjoying their rights protected by the Second Amendment. Stabilizing braces have long been a safe, helpful, and legal remedy for those who have lost the physical ability to conventionally use a firearm due to their service to our country. Senator Kennedy’s legislation is a thoughtful check on the disdain conveyed by President Biden. I’m proud to support those who have sacrificed their bodies to support America,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). 

“Congress has the sole power to change our federal laws, and the Biden administration’s rule on the use of pistol braces infringes on both the Constitutional authority granted to the legislative branch and further erodes public confidence in the administration’s adherence to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

“The Biden Administration’s recent stabilizing brace rule is blatant overreach of ATF’s rulemaking authority—adding burdensome regulations on law-abiding gun owners without actually doing anything to make our communities safer. The Administration should focus on cracking down on violent crime, not punishing law-abiding Americans,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dan Sullivan (R-Ohio), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also cosponsored the legislation.

“The Second Amendment explicitly prohibits President Biden from using the ATF to ban millions of lawfully purchased pistols—especially without the passage of a new law by Congress. Gun Owners of America proudly supports using the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the Biden Pistol Ban and stop this rule from infringing on the rights of millions of gun owners before they are compelled to rebuild, destroy, turn in, or register their pistols in the next 120 days. GOA is proud to see Representatives Andrew Clyde and Richard Hudson as well as Senators John Neely Kennedy and Roger Marshall leading the fight against President Biden’s unconstitutional gun grab,” said Gun Owners of America’s Director of Federal Affairs Aidan Johnston.

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) is leading the legislation with Clyde in the House.

“This rule jeopardizes the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and disabled combat veterans. I’m proud to lead the fight in blocking the ATF’s unconstitutional pistol brace rule,” said Hudson.

Full text of the CRA resolution is available here

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in introducing the Modification to Department of Defense (DoD) Travel Authorities for Abortion-Related Expenses Act of 2023. The legislation would restrict the Secretary of Defense’s ability to provide paid leave and transportation for service members or their dependents to seek an abortion.

The bill would amend the department’s travel statute to eliminate a loophole that the DoD is exploiting. The legislation would ensure that the department's policies would reflect the current law and intent of the Hyde Amendment.

“At every turn the Biden administration is trying to use taxpayer dollars to fund unfettered access to abortion—even at the Defense Department. This bill would end the loophole that the DoD is abusing and reinforce current law,” said Kennedy.

“The Pentagon should not be mobilized against the unborn. The Department of Defense exists to defend life, not destroy it. Biden DoD’s policy is not just unlawful, it’s immoral. Congress has been clear; the Hyde Amendment protects taxpayers from being forced to fund abortions. I will continue to ensure the unborn and your tax dollars are protected,”said Ernst.

Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), 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.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) also cosponsored the legislation. 

 Full bill text is available here

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor about the Biden administration’s response to recent bank failures. 

Key comments from Kennedy’s speech include:

“When I ran for this office in 2016, I observed at that time that . . . we had too many undeserving people at the top in America getting bailouts, and we had too many undeserving people at the bottom getting handouts. And the rest of America—most of America in the middle—was getting the bill, and I didn't think that was fair. And apparently it’s still the case today, Mr. President, and I still don't think it's fair.”

"Now President Biden chose to bail out three of our banks. It was a bail out. You can pretty it up any way you want to, and you can put perfume on a pig, but it still smells like a pig. This was a bailout.”

“It was a bailout for two reasons. Number one, except for the people who own the stock in the banks and their unsecured creditors, President Biden and his regulators guaranteed that nobody affiliated with these banks would have any losses. And he said, ‘That's not a bailout because money's not being provided by the American people. It's being provided by all the other banks in America.’”

“Well, Mr. President, as you know as well as I do, there is no money fairy. There isn't anything free. . . . Those banks . . . they're just going to pass on those costs . . . and, last time I checked, most depositors in banks in America are taxpayers as well.”

“Now, let me let me say a word about Silicon Valley Bank. All the bank failures were an abomination, but I think Silicon Valley Bank is symptomatic of the problem among all three. . . . First of all, Silicon Valley Bank was not broke. It was not an insolvency problem. It wasn’t insolvent. Silicon Valley Bank had a liquidity problem.”

“I mean, here's what happened: Silicon Valley Bank took in a whole bunch of deposits on which they were paying an interest rate, and then Silicon Valley Bank took that money and went out and bought a bunch of securities paying a higher interest rate than Silicon Valley Bank was paying the depositors.”

“You say, ‘That's pretty smart.’”

“There's just one problem. The securities that Silicon Valley Bank bought were very sensitive to interest rates, and, as interest rates went up—and they have—the value of those securities went down if Silicon Valley Bank had to sell them.”

“And, sure enough, Silicon Valley Bank got itself on the position of having to sell them because a lot of its depositors got scared about the bank’s position, and other reasons, and said, ‘We want our money back.’”

“And Silicon Valley Bank didn't have the money because it had to go sell these securities at a loss, and that put it at risk. And that's why we had had a liquidity problem that could have been fixed. It wasn't broke.”

“President Biden's bailout could have been avoided if one or more of three things had happened.”

“Number one: If the management of Silicon Valley Bank had known the difference between a banking textbook and an L.L. Bean catalog, Silicon Valley Bank would have never bought securities that are so sensitive to interest rate[s] without hedging that risk, and it's a very easy thing to do.”

“Number two, okay. Silicon Valley Bank management did it . . . The regulators didn't catch it. There's been a lot of talk about ‘Silicon Valley Bank wasn't being regulated because of a bill passed back in 2018 or 2019.’ That's not true. Silicon Valley Bank was heavily regulated. It had to file regular reports with the federal banking regulators. It was subjected to stress testing. It was subjected to liquidity stress testing.”

“All regulators had to do was read the reports that Silicon Valley Bank was submitting, and they would have seen the problem. You know who saw the problem, way back in November and October? Stock analysts in the private sector that were covering Silicon Valley Bank warned way back last fall—they said, ‘You know what? This bank is . . . setting itself up for a potential liquidity problem.’ The private sector knew it.”

“Where were the regulators? Where were they? You couldn't have found them with a search party. I guess they were asleep, but this whole debacle could have been avoided if the regulators had just done their job and stepped in and said, ‘Silicon Valley Bank, what you're doing is dumb, and you can't do it anymore.’ That would have avoided it.”

“The third thing that could have avoided the president’s bailout . . . The Federal Reserve, the Secretary of Treasury, the head of the FDIC, and all the other regulators allowed the bank to go on instead, instead of getting on the telephone, and calling other banks and saying, ‘I've got a situation here with Silicon Valley Bank. It's not insolvent. It’s just illiquid. We want you to buy it.’ That's what normally happens, and that's all the regulators had to do.”

“Now, why didn't they do that? There's been a lot of talk about, well, they had an auction for the bank, and nobody wanted it. That's not true. There were buyers, but the problem was that the people at the FDIC do not like bank mergers.”

“Some bank mergers make sense. Some bank mergers don't make sense. In this case, it would have made extraordinary sense. And, so, the folks at the FDIC stalled and re-stalled, and then we had mass panic.”

Kennedy’s full comments are here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $79,061,368 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid grants for Louisiana.

“Louisianians are going to see this $79 million go towards restoring hospitals, schools and power lines that Hurricanes Laura and Ida damaged. This funding will also lower the risk of flooding in West Baton Rouge,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $22,477,433 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for restoring damaged transmission lines from Manchester to Gibbstown as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $14,704,579 to the Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for permanent repairs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $14,271,273 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for restoring damaged transmission lines as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $5,319,401 to the Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for damages to the Creole Substation as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $4,580,397 to East Baton Rough Parish for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $4,291,694 to Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs to damaged facilities at Fairview Elementary School as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $4,128,263 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for electric distribution repairs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $3,382,239 to West Calcasieu Airport Managing Board for damages as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,688,199 to the Southwest Louisiana Hospital Association for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,830,420 to West Baton Rouge Parish for improvements to Bayou Stumpy for flood risk reduction.
  • $1,387,470 to the Lafourche Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 for permanent restoration as a result of Hurricane Ida.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a package of bills to improve and broaden Louisianians’ access to telehealth services. The proposed legislation would make it easier for patients to connect with their doctors during an emergency or natural disaster. It would also end a regulation that limits access to telehealth services and expand access to virtual mental and behavioral health treatment.

“Telehealth services help Louisiana patients who aren’t always able to make a trip to the doctor. I wrote these bills to support telehealth providers and the Louisianians they care for,” said Kennedy.

Audio-Only Telehealth for Emergencies Act 

The Audio-Only Telehealth for Emergencies Act would make it easier for Louisianians to access health care during an emergency, including natural disasters. The bill would allow physicians delivering care during a public health emergency or a major disaster declaration to receive the same compensation for audio-only telehealth visits as they would receive for in-person appointments.

Text of the Audio-Only Telehealth for Emergencies Act is available here.

Telehealth HSA Act

The Telehealth Health Savings Account (HSA) Act would allow employers to offer high-deductible health plans that include telehealth services without limiting employees’ ability to use health savings accounts. A current IRS regulation stops employees from making or receiving contributions to HSAs if they hold a high-deductible health plan that waives the deductible for telehealth services. This means that employees holding such high-deductible health plans will often need to pay out of pocket for telehealth services.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act temporarily waived this regulation, and the Telehealth HSA Act would make this waiver permanent.

Text of the Telehealth HSA Act is available here.

EASE Behavioral Health Services Act

The Enhance Access to Support Essential (EASE) Behavioral Health Services Act would allow mental and behavioral health professionals providing telehealth services through Medicare and Medicaid to be reimbursed at the same levels as they would for conducting in-person visits. This would allow patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes and reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment.

Text of the EASE Behavioral Health Services Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Preventing Malign CCP Influence on Academic Institutions Act to shed light on monetary gifts that America’s schools are taking from Communist China.

“The Chinese Communist Party has been targeting our universities for a long time, and Americans deserve to know whether their schools are yoking themselves to such an oppressive, authoritarian regime. This bill would shine a light on where Beijing is peddling its influence on the U.S. campuses that shape our kids’ hearts and minds,” said Kennedy. 

The Preventing Malign CCP Influence on Academic Institutions Act would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to illuminate disclosures of foreign gifts to schools. 

Under Kennedy’s bill, any educational institution that receives more than $5,000 from a Chinese-affiliated entity in any given year would have to disclose the full name of the donor to the Department of Education. The school would also have to provide instructions on how the Department of Education can gather more information about the donation.

Chinese-affiliated entities would include individuals; universities; think tanks; cultural, educational or language programs; Chinese state-owned entities; or companies, think tanks or nonprofits that have members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sitting on their boards of directors.

The bill would also require any educational institution that interacts with a Chinese organization to disclose all joint activities, including exchanges or research.

In addition, institutions would have to publish all contracts and agreements with Chinese entities on their websites so the public can freely access that information.

The full bill text is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,227,583 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid grant for Louisiana.

“Hurricane Laura’s landfall impacted the everyday operations of businesses like Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. I’m glad to see this $4.2 million supporting recovery efforts to better serve Louisianians,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $4,227,583 to Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. for management costs related to Hurricane Laura.