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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today introduced the Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act of 2023 to stop foreign entities and governments from funding litigation in America’s courts. 

“Leaving our courts unprotected from foreign influence—such as from China—poses a major risk to U.S. national security. The Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act would put necessary safeguards in place to ensure that foreign nations, private equity funds and sovereign wealth funds linked to hostile governments are not tipping the scale in federal courtrooms,” said Kennedy.

“Foreign actors such as China and Russia use third-party litigation funding to support targeted lawsuits in the United States, undermining our economic and national security. This legislation would provide a commonsense strategy to protect our legal system by requiring greater transparency and accountability from third-party groups and preventing third-party litigation funding from foreign states and sovereign wealth funds. I urge Senators on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan bill to ensure that our federal courts are protected from foreign influence,” said Manchin. 

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Foreign states and sovereign wealth funds should not meddle in our justice system. This bill prevents foreign actors like China from financing malicious lawsuits, protects critical industries and prioritizes the interests of Americans in court,” said Johnson. 

Currently, foreign entities flood courts with billions of dollars in litigation financing in order to achieve a particular outcome in a case. Hostile foreign governments or companies that are connected with those governments could fund lawsuits in federal courts in order to achieve their geopolitical objectives and undermine America’s national security, especially by targeting proprietary commercial and military technology and exploiting U.S. disclosure requirements.

The Protecting Our Courts from Foreign Manipulation Act would:

  • Require disclosure from any foreign person or entity participating in civil litigation as a third-party litigation funder in U.S. federal courts.
  • Ban sovereign wealth funds and foreign governments from participating in litigation finance as a third-party litigation funder, either directly or indirectly. 
  • Require the Department of Justice’s National Security Division to submit a report on foreign third-party litigation funding throughout the federal judiciary.

In January, Kennedy urged U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to take action in order to mitigate the threat foreign actors like China pose by covertly funding litigation in U.S. courts.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) for introducing this landmark bill, and we urge Congress to quickly pass it to protect consumers, businesses, and U.S. national and economic security,” said Harold Kim, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform.

“The R Street Institute is excited to support and endorse Senator Kennedy’s legislation that will shine a light on the shadowy funders of third-party litigation, and limit the ability of foreign governments to negatively impact various U.S. industries by tying them up in anonymous third-party litigation. The current third-party litigation funding laws lack much needed transparency, and they could open the door to foreign entities detrimentally impacting our national security. We applaud the Senator for his leadership on this issue, and we urge more lawmakers to join him in this effort,” said Anthony Lamorena, Senior Federal Affairs Manager at the R Street Institute.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in demanding Attorney General Merrick Garland protect the Second Amendment rights of New Mexicans from the unconstitutional actions of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

In a letter to Attorney General Garland, the senators urged the Department of Justice to respond swiftly to Governor Lujan Grisham’s unconstitutional Executive Order 2023-130, which violates the individual right to bear arms upheld in cases like District of Columbia v. Heller and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also signed the letter.

“Governor Grisham has issued an order which is being used to blatantly trample on the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of New Mexico, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) must act swiftly to stop this unconstitutional power grab,” wrote the senators.

“While the public health order may invoke state law to authorize this unconstitutional infringement, it should be no match for the authority which the DOJ has to enforce our rights under the U.S. Constitution. That is why we are calling on you to enforce the Constitution and intervene on behalf of the constitutional rights of New Mexicans to stop this unconstitutional act from standing,” the senators continued.

“By preventing certain New Mexicans from exercising their constitutional rights to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home, Governor Grisham is violating the Second Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and Article IV of the Constitution. This is a chilling action, and it is imperative that your Department act immediately to show that this kind of unconstitutional abuse will not be tolerated in New Mexico or anywhere else in the United States,” the senators concluded.

The full letter is available here.

View Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today attempted to pass his National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Extension Act of 2023 to extend the NFIP for one year, until September 30, 2024. Senators blocked Kennedy’s bill just days ahead of the scheduled expiration date of September 30, 2023.

Of the 5 million Americans nationwide who rely on the NFIP to protect their businesses and homes, roughly 500,000 are Louisianians. 

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s speech are below:

“[The] Federal Flood Insurance Program is an economic and commercial necessity. It’s almost impossible to buy a home in an area that has the potential of flooding, which is everywhere now, without being able to get flood insurance.”

. . . 

“If there is a threat—and there obviously is—that government is going to shut down, I do not want to risk allowing the NFIP to expire during hurricane season, which we happen to be in. I mentioned 5 million Americans depend on flood insurance—500,000 of those Americans are in my state of Louisiana.

“What would happen if we allow the NFIP, the National Federal Flood Insurance Program, to expire? Well, for one thing, the NFIP would be prohibited from issuing new policies during that period of time, which would shut down commerce and the real estate business.”

. . . 

“If for some reason the flood insurance program expires, existing policies are still in effect until their expiration date, and claims will continue to be paid as long as FEMA has money.

“However, the federal requirement that you have to purchase flood insurance under certain circumstances to get a mortgage would be suspended, which means that many mortgage companies would not loan the money to homeowners.”

. . . 

“I know the flood insurance program is not perfect. I will be the first to say that. I will lead the parade. A lot of work needs to be done on it, but the only thing worse than what we have is nothing.

“It will shut down commerce in terms of real estate in this country and in 17 days, on September 30 of this year, the National Flood Insurance Program expires. All my bill does is it extends it one year.”

. . . 

“As imperfect as the program is . . . this is the worst possible time to allow our National Flood Insurance Program to expire from my state—imperfect as it is—because we're right in the middle of hurricane season.”

Video of Kennedy’s remarks is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) today introduced a resolution to designate the week of Sept. 11 through Sept. 17 as Patriot Week.  

“Patriot Week celebrates the heroes throughout our nation’s distinguished history, and helps us honor America’s story together. As we remember the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, and the bravery of first responders on that day, we remain inspired by Americans’ love of country,” said Kennedy.

“Patriot Week provides an opportunity to reflect on the moments that have shaped our nation’s history, and recognize the values and ideals that define who we are as Americans. Just as our nation came together in the days following the horrific September 11th terrorist attacks, we must always stay unified as Americans to address the serious issues our country faces today. I am thankful for all of Judge Warren’s efforts to bring forth this important initiative and proud to lead this annual recognition in the Senate,” said Peters.

Co-founded by Judge Michael Warren, Patriot Week also celebrates Constitution Day and encourages students to learn about America’s history.

“Despite the seemingly unending waves of tumult facing our nation, we know that the American people can overcome these challenges and thrive if we work together, remembering what unites us. By renewing America’s spirit by deepening the appreciation of the First Principles, Founding Fathers and other Patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags that make America the greatest nation in world history, we need Patriot Week more than ever. Co-founder Leah (my then 10-year-old daughter) and I remain very touched by the bipartisan partnership of Senators Peters and Kennedy in shepherding another Patriot Week resolution in the world’s greatest deliberative body,” said Warren.

Full text of the resolution is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) thanked Poland, Finland, the United Kingdom and several other NATO allies for investing in their own defense during a speech yesterday on the Senate floor. Kennedy urged every member of NATO to keep its word and increase its defense spending to 2% of its GDP. He warned that NATO’s strength depends on every country pulling its weight. 

“As with many challenges in life, madam president, I believe that the difficulties we face today can make NATO stronger tomorrow. I believe that, but that will only happen if we are honest with each other. Friends tell friends the truth. And here’s the truth as I see it: NATO is one of the most impactful defense pacts in all of human history. The United States is a proud NATO member. The American people support NATO.

“But it is also no secret that some of our friends in NATO have not been taking their own defense and defense spending seriously. They had not been taking their own defense and defense spending seriously even before Vladimir Putin began his illegal assault on Ukraine. As the full extent of Putin’s cruelty unfolded last year, NATO leaders, they appeared at first to regard it as a wake-up call—and that’s a good thing. It was a wake-up call for many people throughout the world, but sometime, somehow, over the past year, those same countries fell back asleep.”

. . .

“It took less than a year after Putin entered Ukraine for those same leaders to begin to renege again. . . . Friends tell friends the truth. Recent analysis shows, as of today, just 11 out of the 31 countries currently in NATO are on track to fulfill their 2% defense spending obligation.”

. . .

“In the United States of America, we keep our promises, and, all along, every year through the history of NATO, we have proudly invested in our defense to the benefit of our allies—to our own benefit, but to the benefit of our allies. It was important to our allies in Europe. It was. I don’t know what would have happened in Europe had the American people not come to Ukraine’s rescue. Putin may be in Paris right now, for all I know—God forbid.

“A few of our NATO friends have kept their commitment, and I want to thank them. Our friends in Greece, for example. Our friends in the United Kingdom. Our friends in Estonia. They spent 2% of their GDP on defense before Putin invaded—and our friends in Lithuania, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia will all reach the 2% threshold by the end of this year, and that’s a good thing. Thank you, Greece. Thank you, United Kingdom. Thank you, Estonia.  Thank you, Lithuania, and Hungry, and Slovakia for keeping your word.

“Finland just joined our NATO alliance this year. We’re so pleased. Our friends in Finland spent 2% on defense before joining NATO, but they didn’t use the alliance as a reason to take their foot off the gas. Instead, Finland recently increased defense spending even more to 2.4% of their GDP. Thank you, Finland. I hope our allies who have been nestled safely under the NATO umbrella for years without pulling their financial weight will take note of Finland’s dedication. Let me say it again: Thank you, Finland.

“We got to commend Poland. Poland spent 2% on defense long before Putin invaded Ukraine, but over the past two years, it hasn’t spent 2%, Poland hasn’t. It nearly doubled its defense spending to 4.3%. It is investing that money in part by buying American weapons, and it’s showing Putin that Poland is serious about its sovereignty. And that Poland is serious about freedom. By the end of this decade, Poland is on pace to have more tanks than the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy put together. Thank you, Poland.”

. . .

“It’s been more than a year, Madam President—you know as well as I do—since Putin sent Russian tanks and troops into Ukraine. Maybe for some, the horror of it all has worn off, maybe. It hasn’t worn off for most Americans, and it sure hasn’t worn off for Ukraine. Citizens of a sovereign Ukraine are still dodging missiles on their own streets, and Putin is still watching too many NATO members bury their heads and drag their feet, and so is President Xi Jinping.

“Now Madam President, I don’t mean to offend anyone. I don’t, but friends tell friends the truth. Everyone in NATO is a friend, and I am so proud that the United States is a member of NATO, but NATO is only as strong as our confidence in one another. If we want to strengthen NATO’s ability to deter bad actors from bad acts, we’ve each got to do our part. It’s time for all of us in NATO to start keeping our promises and investing in our defense.” 

Kennedy’s full remarks are here.

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act, which Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) co-led and a bipartisan group of senators cosponsored. The legislation would help eliminate the hurdles small businesses in rural areas disproportionately face when they try to access capital.

 “Louisiana depends on the jobs that small businesses create. The president should sign this important legislation when it comes to his desk so that business owners and entrepreneurs across America can access the capital they need to support rural economies,” said Kennedy.

The legislation would expand access to capital for small businesses in rural communities by amending the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It would require the Securities and Exchange Commission for Small Business Capital Formation to submit an annual report on the unique challenges rural businesses face when trying to secure investments. Congress could, in turn, use these annual reports to weigh legislative action to expand small businesses’ access to capital.

Kennedy previously introduced the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act in the 117th Congress.  Accessing funding is key for entrepreneurs to start and expand their businesses while adding to the job market throughout rural America.

Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Bill text is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Allowing for Recreational Resources for Outdoor Wellness (ARROW) Act to protect funding for school hunting and archery programs. 

Last month, Kennedy joined Barrasso in sending a letter to President Biden to condemn his administration’s attempt to use last year’s gun control bill to justify defunding schools with hunter and archery education programs. 

“Each year, tens of thousands of Louisiana’s students participate in hunting and archery programs at school. President Biden’s move will deprive kids and their communities of firearm and archery safety skills,” said Kennedy.

The legislation would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to clarify that prohibiting the use of federal education funds for certain weapons does not apply to the use of funds for sports clubs, teams, training or related activities provided for students.

“The Biden administration continues its attack on our constitutional rights and Wyoming values. Now, President Biden’s Department of Education is blocking funding for schools with hunter education and archery programs. These important programs help students learn proper firearm instruction and archery safety. These valuable programs decrease firearm-related injuries and accidents. They also connect our students to the long-standing heritage and traditions of America and the West. Our legislation will stop any attempts to block funding for schools with hunter education and archery programs and keep Washington politics out of Wyoming’s schools,” said Barrasso. 

More than 500,000 students participate in and are certified through hunter education courses each year. These important programs help students learn how to handle firearms safely, which decreases firearm-related injuries and accidents.

Full text of the ARROW Act is available here.

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, led senators in urging the Biden administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to pause the effective date of the Dodd Frank Section 1071 small business data collection rule. The rule would require banks to collect sensitive personal data on small business owners when they seek a loan.

Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) also signed the letter. 

“At your agency's request, a recent ruling in the U.S. District Court has created a situation where only some lenders, including large systemically important lenders, will receive a temporary reprieve from working towards implementation of the CFPB's Section 1071 small business data collection rule (‘the 1071 rule’), while others, including many community banks and all credit unions, must seek further relief from the judicial system,” the senators wrote.

“As you are aware, we harbor deep concerns about the potential adverse impacts of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) rule to implement Dodd-Frank Section 1071. Furthermore, we believe that the CFPB's funding structure is in violation of the Appropriations Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In October 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit concurred with this viewpoint, and the Supreme Court will be reviewing this matter in October,” they continued.

“In light of these recent developments, we respectfully urge the CFPB to exercise its existing legal authority by issuing a nationwide stay of the effective date of its Section 1071 rule for all credit unions and FDIC-insured banks, including community banks. This action would provide a crucial measure of certainty to small businesses and community banks, which are the cornerstone of the American economy, while we await a final determination of the validity of the Section 1071 rule by the Courts,” the lawmakers concluded.

In June, Kennedy questioned CFPB Director Rohit Chopra about the bureau’s plan to collect information including race, sexual preference and gender from businesses in order to borrow money from a bank. 

Background:

  • Kennedy introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval of the CFPB rule to implement Dodd Frank Section 1071, which amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
  • Kennedy introduced the Transparency in CFPB Cost-Benefit Analysis Act to ensure that the CFPB does not establish regulations that would foist unreasonable costs or harms onto taxpayers, financial entities or consumers. 
  • Kennedy introduced the Small LENDER Act to protect Louisiana’s small businesses’ access to capital.

The full letter is available here

 

 

 

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in the Daily Advertiser explaining how the Biden administration’s broken immigration policies are costing Louisiana taxpayers and leaving them less safe. He urges his colleagues in Congress to join him in working to secure the border and end failed “catch-and-release” policies.

Key excerpts of the op-ed are below:

“Many in Washington like to pretend President Biden’s border crisis is over, but the numbers don’t lie.

“In July alone, U.S. border agents arrested more than 130,000 migrants trying to bypass our legal immigration system and enter the country illegally. That’s more people than the entire population of Lafayette in just one month—and that’s only the migrants we stopped.

“Many more were not caught, and many who were caught were allowed in any way because they claimed to be refugees who feared political persecution in their own country.”

. . .

“Since taking office, President Biden has released 2 million migrants into the United States. We really don’t know these people, which creates concerns about crime and public safety. But someone must also foot the bill for the 2 million more people who must access our roads, schools, jails, fire departments, and other public services, too.

“According to one estimate, [Louisianians] pay an additional $4,613 per migrant—a total of $604 million per year—in state taxes because of illegal immigration. At a time when Louisiana families also must spend an additional $765 per month because of inflation, the $604 million taxpayers are investing in noncitizens who bypassed our legal immigration system could provide a lot of relief to Louisiana families.”

. . .

“Border agents confiscated more than 1,500 pounds of fentanyl in June alone, enough poison to kill the entire country. In Louisiana, we lost 2,352 people to drug overdoses last year. Nearly all of those probably involved fentanyl. In New Orleans, officials found fentanyl in 94 percent of overdose victims. In East Baton Rouge Parish, the drug was present in 88 percent of overdose victims. In St. Tammany Parish, 11 people die from fentanyl overdoses each month.

“Yet, when I tried to increase prison sentences for predators convicted of feeding fentanyl to our children, my Democratic colleagues in Washington blocked my bill.”

. . .

“Why would anyone abide by America’s legal immigration process when they can just walk into the country, skip their court dates, and—in many cases—begin taking advantage of American entitlement programs? I’ve tried to pass a bill that would close the ‘catch-and-release’ loophole, but, again, Democrats blocked it, rubbing salt in the wounds of the good people waiting to enter our country legally. German engineers and Nigerian doctors who are patiently waiting in line in our legal immigration system have dreams, too.

“America is the freest, most prosperous country in the world, but we cannot afford to ignore our lawless border and the suffering it has caused people. I’ll continue to press President Biden and my colleagues in Congress to recognize the mess they made with stupid border policies so we can work together to give the American people the secure border they deserve.”

Read the full op-ed here.

LAFAYETTE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today spoke with the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette about inflation, the ongoing border crisis and immigration and crime rates.

“Louisianians are going broke at the pump and grocery store because of the Biden administration’s endless attacks on American energy and inflationary policies. They’re working harder for less while the border remains wide open,” said Kennedy.

In an effort to stop this historic inflation, Kennedy has voted against numerous spending bills from the Biden administration, including the $1.2 trillion misnamed “infrastructure” package, $1.9 trillion in additional COVID spending, $240 billion in a pet project that funded Big Tech semi-conductors and two massive government funding bills that totaled $3.2 trillion. Kennedy also opposed the misleadingly titled “Inflation Reduction Act” that could prove to have a price tag of $1.2 trillion.

Kennedy also penned an op-ed in The Daily Advertiser today outlining how the Biden administration’s failed immigration policies are harming Louisiana communities. According to one estimate, Kennedy wrote, Louisianians pay an additional $4,613 per migrant—a total of $604 million per year—in state taxes because of illegal immigration. Louisiana families are already paying an additional $765 per month because of inflation, so the $604 million taxpayers are investing in noncitizens who bypassed our legal immigration system is an additional yet unnecessary burden on the state.

In response to concerns about rising crime rates in Louisiana, Kennedy outlined the economic and public safety consequences that crime is having on the state and how officials should respond.