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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) in introducing the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act, which would prevent the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from limiting the sale of gas-powered vehicles.

“The Biden administration’s woke proposal to block the sale of gas-powered cars benefits Chinese manufacturing and hurts America’s industry. I’m proud to support the CARS Act to stop the EPA’s radical rule, which would make the American dream more expensive for millions of hardworking people in our country,” said Kennedy.

“Once again, the Biden Administration’s rule-making process is being used to push a radical green agenda and pick winners and losers. Americans deserve to have access to affordable, reliable vehicles fueled by American-made energy products.  However, the Biden EPA’s rule change would hurt everyday Americans while simultaneously helping China.  Consequences of rules and regulations such as these restrict consumer choice and raise costs for the average American family,” said Crapo. 

“The EPA cannot continue to pick winners and losers. This legislation ensures the Biden administration can’t prioritize their radical left agenda over affordable and reliable internal combustion engines.  I’ll always fight to protect Nebraskans’ ability to choose what is best for them and their families,” said Ricketts.

Background:

  • In Aug. 2022, the California Air Resources Board approved a measure requiring all new cars and light trucks to generate zero tailpipe emissions by 2035.
  • To enforce this measure, the state of California is required to secure a waiver from the EPA.
  • In April 2023, the EPA proposed new emission standards for cars and light trucks under the Clean Air Act, a potential first step toward the regulation of the internal combustion engine.

The CARS Act would prevent the EPA from implementing its proposed rule and would ban the agency from abusing the Clean Air Act to advance this agenda. The legislation would also require the agency to update any regulations since Jan. 1, 2021 that result in the limited availability of new vehicles based on that vehicle’s engine within two years.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives.

Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Joe Manchin (R-W.Va.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also cosponsored the legislation. 

Full text of the CARS Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and 28 colleagues in raising concerns with President Biden regarding his administration’s apparent attempt to add Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su to the presidential line of succession.

“We write today to express grave concerns with your Administration’s apparent belief that Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su is eligible to assume the office of President of the United States pursuant to the presidential line of succession as established by Congress in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947,” the senators wrote.

The Biden administration made the covert decision to promote Su, despite her lacking Senate confirmation to become Labor Secretary. It is illegal to include a nominee who has not been Senate-confirmed in the line of presidential succession.

“Despite that reality and Ms. Su becoming the longest-ever Cabinet nominee to await confirmation in a time when the same party controls the White House and the Senate, the White House has chosen to keep her in place as Acting Secretary of Labor on an indefinite basis and has also listed her on the White House website as a member of the Cabinet ‘[i]n order of succession to the Presidency,’” the lawmakers said.

“It is unimaginable to think that this Administration believes someone who has neither been duly elected nor confirmed by the Senate to the position of Secretary of Labor could be President of the United States. Suggesting that Ms. Su is eligible to be in the presidential line of succession is antithetical to our system of governance and the bedrock principles on which our Republic rest,” they continued.

In the letter, senators also called on President Biden to nominate a Labor Secretary who is capable of garnering sufficient bipartisan support for confirmation.

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States (CONFUCIUS) Act to prevent Chinese-backed Confucius Institutes on U.S. college campuses from suppressing students’ freedom of speech.

Confucius Institutes are education organizations funded and arranged by the People’s Republic of China. The institutes enroll more 9 million students around the world, including many in the United States. They spread false narratives about historical events such as the Tiananmen Square massacre. 

“The Chinese Communist Party is directly controlling Confucius Institutes on U.S. college campuses. These institutes promote the CCP’s propaganda and suppress students’ academic liberty. The CONFUCIUS Act would give American universities and schools control over these organizations so that campuses can safeguard our First Amendment rights and speak truthfully,” said Kennedy. 

Specifically, the CONFUCIUS Act would require Confucius Institutes to:

  • Protect academic freedom on the campus where the Confucius Institute is located,
  • Prohibit the application of any foreign law on any campus of the institution, and
  • Grant full control over what a Confucius Institute teaches, the activities it carries out, the research grants it gives and the individuals it employs to the college or university on which it is located.

This bill would prohibit federal government funding to colleges and universities that host Confucius Institutes and are not in compliance with the above provisions. The funding prohibition would only apply to funding directed to the college or university and would not include funding disbursed to students, such as Pell Grants.

The Senate passed the legislation unanimously in the 116th and 117th Congresses.

Background:

  • In May 2020, the College Republican National Committee and the College Democrats of America wrote a joint letter calling for the “immediate and permanent closure of all Confucius Institutes in the United States” due to their “concerns over the present state of academic freedom” and “the continued exploitation of liberal, democratic academic institutions by authoritarians.”
  • These institutes can threaten universities by withholding funding in order to achieve their objectives, such as regulating speech the Chinese government opposes. Universities forced to choose between losing funding or upholding free speech are often tempted to yield to an institution funded by a foreign government over the interests of free speech. This allows foreign governments like China’s Communist Party to exert influence over American schools (such as prohibiting the Dalai Lama from speaking on a campus) and even to apply Chinese Communist laws on U.S. soil.

Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) cosponsored the legislation.

The CONFUCIUS Act text is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $8,801,237 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc throughout our state. This $8.8 million will help defray recovery costs for our Children’s Medical Center and St. Charles community,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $5,896,224 in federal funding to St. Charles Parish for debris removal as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $2,905,013 to Louisiana Children's Medical Center DBA LCMC Health (Children's Hospital) for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today criticized the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for proposing lower graduation standards for high school students in Louisiana. Under the new standards, students would be eligible to graduate even if they fail the state’s Graduate Exit Exam several times. 

Key comments from Kennedy’s remarks include:

“This is a massive step back. This is an announcement to the rest of America that Louisiana has given up, that our kids are not smart enough, they’re not good enough—even when we give them second or third chances to be able to get a ‘D’ on the Graduate Exit Examination. As a result, we have got to give them a special extra points project so they can get a diploma that’s not really a diploma.

“The people behind this ought to hide their heads in a bag. Our kids are better than that. Every one of my kids in Louisiana can learn. Sometimes they need a little bit longer, but it’s not going to do them any good to give them a diploma that they can’t read.”

. . .

“This rule change is going in front of the Louisiana legislature for an oversight hearing in the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Committee. I hope that either the Senate or the House—and hopefully both—will say no.”

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to stop the Biden administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from enforcing its Dodd Frank Section 1071 small business data collection rule. The resolution of disapproval now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. 

“Small business owners are already suffering too much under Pres. Biden’s inflation, and the CFPB’s rule only further burdens them and puts their personal data at risk. The House should move quickly to pass this resolution so that lenders can continue to support small businesses and avoid unnecessary compliance costs,” said Kennedy.

Section 1071 requires covered financial institutions to collect and report certain personal information on small business loan applicants and report that to the CFPB. This information includes an applicant’s race, ethnicity and sex and whether the business is minority-owned, woman-owned or LGBT-owned. The CFPB may then make certain parts of that information public, including data that could publicly identify the small business credit applicant.

In August, Kennedy led a letter to CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, urging the bureau to pause its 1071 data collection rule while the courts determine the validity of the Section 1071 rule.

Background:

  • Kennedy introduced the Small LENDER Act to protect Louisiana’s small businesses’ access to capital. The legislation would block the Biden administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from requiring community banks and lenders to collect and report social data—such as race, gender and ethnicity—from borrowers. 

The resolution is available here.

Video of Kennedy’s comments is here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in introducing legislation to freeze the Biden administration’s transfer of $6 billion in assets to the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

“Just weeks after the Biden White House made shameful negotiations to transfer $6 billion to Tehran without congressional review, the Iranian regime sponsored a devastating terror attack on Israel, killing and taking American citizens hostage. Congress must ensure that the Biden administration freezes these assets before they flow to the Islamic Republic. Allowing the transfer to go through would further enable and embolden Iran’s proxy armies,” said Kennedy. 

“Iran is the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. In addition to funding Hamas’s devastating terrorist attacks against Israel, the regime’s proxies have attacked dozens of American targets in the region in recent years. The Biden administration’s decision to let Iran access the $6 billion immediately freed up other money for the regime to fund its attacks in Israel. The Biden administration should immediately re-freeze the funds,” said Cotton. 

“The path of resources, training, and lethal weapons from Tehran to terrorists throughout the Middle East is crystal clear. On Saturday, it enabled cold-blooded killers like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to perpetrate the deadliest day of violence against Jews in decades. The civilized world must re-impose serious consequences on the regime that aids and abets murderous evil against innocent Israelis. The United States must lead that effort by our example, and freezing Iranian assets is an important first step,” said McConnell. 

In August, Kennedy raised concerns to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about the administration’s move to circumvent congressional authority and potentially enter into a nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime by transferring assets in exchange for U.S. prisoners.

Bill text is available here

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the No Dollars for Dictators Act to prevent perpetrators of genocide and state sponsors of terrorism from receiving special drawing rights through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) without congressional authorization.

In 2021, President Biden approved the largest-ever allocation of special drawing rights at the IMF totaling $650 billion. He did this without consent from Congress. Large portions of that allocation flowed to dictators and countries that actively oppose American interests and violate human rights.

“The Biden administration already green-lit a 2021 deal that sent $4.5 billion to Iran and another $54 billion to China and Russia. Congress can’t afford to let this White House and Secretary Yellen do it again.

“My bill would stop the Biden administration from making an end run around Congress on behalf of the world’s most oppressive and violent regimes. These countries work to undermine America’s security and success every day, and this White House shouldn’t be forcing U.S. taxpayers to line the pockets of terrorists and dictators,” said Kennedy.

Background

The IMF distributes special drawing rights according to each country’s economic standing in the global economy. That means the world’s wealthiest countries received the most special drawing rights of all IMF members when the 2021 allocation became effective on Aug. 23, 2021. 

China alone received $38 billion in special drawing rights. Russia received $16 billion. In addition to sending billions of dollars to Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, the allocation sent billions in aid to Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Syria and Iran are state sponsors of terrorism.

While some have claimed that special drawing rights offer the U.S. a no-cost way to assist poor countries, this is demonstrably false. This IMF allocation requires the U.S. to issue debt in order to cover the loans issued through special drawing rights. The U.S. has to pay interest on that debt, and that interest would exceed any interest that the U.S. may receive on the loans it issues.

There is no requirement that countries that receive loans from the U.S. through special drawing rights ever repay the principal. As a result, the financial burden of these loans falls on the U.S. taxpayer.

Text of the No Dollars for Dictators Act is here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today made the following statement:

“Congratulations again to Louisiana Governor-elect Jeff Landry. He served our state passionately as attorney general, and I look forward to working with him as our new governor. Louisiana’s future can be better than our present and our past, and it's the responsibility of both state and federal officials to make that brighter, freer and more prosperous future a reality.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,920,262 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana’s hospitals hard, and I’m thankful to see this $1.9 million help southwest health care facilities recover from the damage,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,920,262 to the Southwest Louisiana Hospital Association for repairs to facilities resulting from Hurricane Laura.