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People’s lives and their livelihoods depend on a swift, comprehensive response to this pandemic. . . . The CARES Act is the best path open to preserving and reviving our economy as we battle the coronavirus in Louisiana communities and around the country.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, along with additional emergency funding.

“The coronavirus has hit Louisiana hard and nearly ground the gears of our economy to a halt. People’s lives and their livelihoods depend on a swift, comprehensive response to this pandemic. The size and scope of spending in this bill is significant, but inaction in the face of this unprecedented challenge would be reckless.

“The CARES Act is the best path open to preserving and reviving our economy as we battle the coronavirus in Louisiana communities and around the country. Of course, this bill is far from perfect, but it gives families, workers and employers the resources they need to be resilient.

“This virus poses a unique health risk, and we know that poverty can also threaten lives. Understanding that, I voted today to protect the wellbeing of Louisianans now and into the future by investing in medical services, families, workers and businesses,” said Kennedy.

The CARES Act includes significant provisions to protect the health and wellbeing of Louisianians. These include resources for medical care, small businesses, workers and key industries.

Medical care:

  • The CARES Act provides coronavirus testing at no cost to patients and requires private insurance plans to cover testing costs,
  • ensures the coronavirus vaccine is free to recipients,
  • includes $117 billion for hospitals and veterans’ health care,
  • includes $11 billion for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other preparedness measures,
  • includes $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  • includes $1.5 billion for state and local health responders,
  • includes $45 billion for the FEMA disaster relief fund and
  • includes $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to improve access to supplies needed for national security and pandemic recovery.

Small businesses:

  • The CARES Act includes $450 billion for loans, loan guarantees and investments to support eligible businesses, states and municipalities,
  • authorizes main street lending at the Federal Reserve to be leveraged up to $4 trillion,
  • allows small businesses to delay paying payroll taxes,
  • provides $350 billion in guaranteed Small Business Administration loans for businesses and non-profits with 500 or fewer employees, including those who are self-employed or part of the gig economy, allowing funds to pay employee salaries, wages, cash tips, sick leave, employee group health care benefits and insurance premiums, retirement contributions and covered leave,
  • offers loans immediately and would waive affiliation rules for small businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries, certain franchises and businesses receiving financing through the Small Business Investment Company program and
  • waives the early withdrawal penalty for qualified retirement accounts up to $100,000 for reasons related to the coronavirus.

Workers:

  • The CARES Act provides $1,200 checks to individuals and $2,400 to couples in low- and middle-income households, with payments increasing by $500 per child per household,
  • makes more workers eligible for unemployment benefits and provides them with $600 per week for up to four months, allowing the Department of Labor to approve funds for states lacking the resources to make these payments,
  • provides $1.5 billion to support economic development grants for areas impacted by the coronavirus,
  • provides $1 billion in loans to the rural business and industry loan guarantee program,
  • provides $300 million to provide direct financial assistance to all manner of fishers, fishery participants and communities that have been affected by the coronavirus and
  • provides $25 million for the learning, telemedicine and broadband grants program.

Key industries and state and local governments:

  • The CARES Act establishes a $500 billion economic stabilization fund to support industries, states and cities,
  • includes $150 billion to supplement state and local government budgets,
  • provides an estimated $1.8 billion to Louisiana to fund coronavirus-related assistance,
  • provides $25 billion in collateralized loans for airlines and
  • provides $17 billion in collateralized loans for businesses critical to maintaining national security.

“It is no secret that Louisiana needs your help during this disaster. . . . I am requesting that you approve this request as expeditiously as possible in order to make additional resources available to supplement the state’s resources.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) wrote today to President Donald Trump to request a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Louisiana in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“It is no secret that Louisiana needs your help during this disaster. . . . I am requesting that you approve this request as expeditiously as possible in order to make additional resources available to supplement the state’s resources,” wrote Kennedy.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-La.) yesterday made a formal request for a federal emergency declaration for Louisiana in response to the coronavirus global pandemic. The request cites the need for federal funding for emergency work under the Stafford Act.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

“The federal and state governments are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect local communities from the coronavirus—and to doing it quickly. This $31 million grant could increase medical services and supplies for Louisiana communities in order to slow the spread of this disease and care for those affected by the virus.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $31 million FEMA grant to the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness in response to the coronavirus.

“The federal and state governments are committed to doing whatever it takes to protect local communities from the coronavirus—and to doing it quickly. This $31 million grant could increase medical services and supplies for Louisiana communities in order to slow the spread of this disease and care for those affected by the virus,” said Kennedy.

President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13 to protect public health and safety in response to the coronavirus. The grant comes under the authority of the Stafford Act. It could be used to support emergency protective measures, including emergency medical care, medical sheltering, general health communications and the distribution of supplies. 

“Now is the time to mobilize resources to save American lives and livelihoods. Louisiana businesses and their employees are struggling through no fault of their own, and they need relief fast. . . . I’ve been talking with the administration about our great state and am glad to see the Small Business Administration make this resource available to hardworking Louisianians.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the U.S. Small Business Administration declared Louisiana an economic disaster in the wake of the coronavirus.

“Now is the time to mobilize resources to save American lives and livelihoods. Louisiana businesses and their employees are struggling through no fault of their own, and they need relief fast. When our state and country recover from the coronavirus, we want to ensure that we have a strong economy to return to. Low-interest loans for small businesses are a key to Louisiana’s economic success in the future. I’ve been talking with the administration about our great state and am glad to see the Small Business Administration make this resource available to hardworking Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

Businesses requesting assistance from the Small Business Administration can do so here.

We simply don’t need to pour taxpayer dollars into supporting criminals who have perpetrated violence against Americans. Instead, we should focus our limited resources on protecting innocent lives from terrorists.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a package of bills that protects law-abiding citizens and prioritizes them over convicted terrorists. The legislation includes the Terrorist Release Announcements to Counter Extremist Recidivism (TRACER) Act and the No Welfare for Terrorists Act.

“Terrorists who target U.S. citizens don’t deserve the public assistance that law-abiding families receive. We simply don’t need to pour taxpayer dollars into supporting criminals who have perpetrated violence against Americans. Instead, we should focus our limited resources on protecting innocent lives from terrorists. That’s why part of this package also directs the Department of Homeland Security to warn communities when convicted terrorists are released back onto their streets,” said Kennedy.

At present, the federal government has no systematic way—outside of the Joint Terrorism Task Forces—of notifying state and local law enforcement when people with convictions linked to terrorism are released into their communities. The TRACER Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to collect information on when and where the Bureau of Prisons releases convicted terrorists and share it with relevant state and local law enforcement.

The House of Representatives passed the TRACER Act in the 115th Congress.

The No Welfare for Terrorists Act would bar the federal government from giving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to individuals convicted of crimes related to terrorism. Current federal law prevents food stamps from going to people convicted of violent crimes like murder and rape. The No Welfare for Terrorists Act would update the law to make convicted terrorists ineligible to collect SNAP benefits.

“It’s important for state and federal governments to work together to contain and mitigate the coronavirus’s spread in Louisiana. This funding gives our state more tools and resources to combat the disease. I will continue to work with the Trump administration to protect the health and safety of our communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7.8 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support Louisiana’s response to the coronavirus.

“It’s important for state and federal governments to work together to contain and mitigate the coronavirus’s spread in Louisiana. This funding gives our state more tools and resources to combat the disease. I will continue to work with the Trump administration to protect the health and safety of our communities,” said Kennedy.

President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act on March 6 to provide states with appropriate resources in response to the coronavirus.

Louisiana residents can contact the Louisiana Department of Health for information on the state’s coronavirus response. The Department of Health is sharing information about the coronavirus at ldh.la.gov and has set up a coronavirus hotline at 1-855-523-2652.

“Americans are increasingly concerned that the federal government is not doing enough to address the threat that China poses to our capital markets and national security. . . . These developments have increased our concerns about the protection of American investors who are unknowingly investing in the self-dealing, human rights abuses, cyberattacks, and frauds perpetrated by the CCP through these companies.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, sent a letter to Investor Advocate Rick Fleming of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking that he alert SEC leadership and the general public about the risk of investing in many Chinese companies.

“The fact that a Chinese company can be included in an index to avoid the SEC’s rigorous company-specific disclosure and audit regulations seems to fly in the face of the investor protection mandate of the Commission, your office, and the Investor Advisory Committee,” wrote the senators.

“Americans are increasingly concerned that the federal government is not doing enough to address the threat that China poses to our capital markets and national security. A recent survey found that 72% of Americans believe if Chinese companies want to list in the United States, they should have to satisfy the same regulatory requirements as U.S. businesses. These developments have increased our concerns about the protection of American investors who are unknowingly investing in the self-dealing, human rights abuses, cyberattacks, and frauds perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party through these companies,” the senators continued.

The Dodd-Frank Act created the Office of the Investor Advocate in 2010 to give American retail investors a voice on decisions the SEC oversees. The Investor Advocate is also required to inform Congress and the SEC about serious risks that threaten Main Street investors.

Kennedy and Van Hollen encouraged Fleming to hold a hearing to educate investors about the various risks Americans face when they invest in Chinese businesses listed on U.S. exchanges and registered with the SEC. Those risks include fraud, espionage, human rights abuse and funding the Chinese Communist Party.

In 2019, Kennedy and Van Hollen introduced the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which would address one of the SEC’s most significant issues in overseeing the financial reporting of U.S.-listed, China-based companies. The bill would require companies to provide proof they are not implicitly state-owned and prohibit them from being publicly listed if they refuse inspection of their records for three consecutive years.

Issue statement following reports that the administration will appeal the Tenth Circuit’s decision

WASHINGTON—Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) today issued a statement following reports that President Trump will appeal the Tenth Circuit’s decision on small refineries.

“We’re encouraged by the reports that the administration will appeal the Tenth Circuit’s decision on small refineries. Thousands of blue collar workers’ jobs are at stake if the ruling were to stand. We’re grateful for President Trump’s commitment to the hardworking men and women of small refineries, and look forward to working with the administration to ensure follow through on the President’s decision,” the senators said.

Last week, multiple senators sent a letter to President Trump urging him to continue fighting this erroneous decision to invalidate hardship relief for small refineries under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

“I believe this is, at heart, an economic issue: Real America needs a REAL ID extension. I look forward to working with you to ensure the transition to REAL IDs does not disrupt the lives or livelihoods of hardworking citizens.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) wrote today to President Donald Trump to request a one-year extension of the REAL ID deadline of October 1, 2020. Currently, the Department of Homeland Security reports that only 100 million Americans have received REAL IDs, and the deadline could cause significant disruptions for air travelers and America’s economy.

“To expect 125 million Americans to obtain the REAL ID before the October 1 enrollment deadline seems nearly impossible. Achieving that goal within seven short months becomes even more unlikely given nationwide reporting that the process for obtaining a REAL ID can be overly bureaucratic and take hours upon hours from a person’s work day. Speaking for my home state, I can report that the good people of Louisiana are too busy earning a living and raising their families to burn half a day waiting in long lines and jumping through hoops to get REAL IDs,” wrote Kennedy.

“I believe this is, at heart, an economic issue: Real America needs a REAL ID extension. I look forward to working with you to ensure the transition to REAL IDs does not disrupt the lives or livelihoods of hardworking citizens.”

In the 15 years since the REAL ID Act became law, fewer than half of Americans with driver’s licenses have received new REAL ID-compliant licenses. Additionally, two states were not even issuing REAL IDs to their residents as of last month.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

WASHINGTON — Today, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced an amendment to the American Energy Innovation Act that would direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement a phase down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons over the next 15 years. These chemicals, known as “HFCs,” are potent greenhouse gases used primarily as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioning systems.

Identical to the senators’ American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which is currently supported by a bipartisan group of 32 Senators—16 Republicans and 16 Democrats—this amendment would benefit U.S. industries that directly use or produce fluorocarbons and employ more than 593,000 Americans. This amendment would:

  • Save American consumers $3.7 billion over 15 years;
  • Increase U.S. manufacturing output by almost $39 billion over seven years; and,
  • Result in the creation of 150,000 more American jobs.

“If we want to keep America competitive in global industry, we need to continue investing in alternatives to HFCs. The amendment that dozens of my colleagues have cosponsored would save billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs—all while we protect the environment. Business and environmental groups support the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. If we give up the chance to move this amendment forward, America is going to look up in a few years and be the odd man out of the economic success that comes from transitioning away from HFCs,” said Kennedy.

“American companies have invested billions of dollars to produce and sell the next-generation technologies to replace HFCs. Our bipartisan amendment protects and builds upon these investments, and it would result in 150,000 new American jobs and almost $39 billion in annual economic benefits. At the same time, joining the rest of the global community in reducing HFCs could help avoid up to a half degree Celsius in global warming by the end of the century. I hope our colleagues will join us in supporting this amendment that will help American businesses and workers do well while doing what’s good for our planet,” said Carper.

The AIM Act was crafted with input from the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to give businesses a clear timeline for transitioning to new innovations in refrigerants. The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth phasedown that doesn’t disrupt jobs and leave the U.S. behind in an emerging global market. The global market is moving away from the use of HFC refrigerants, given that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requires their phase-out.

Sens. Kennedy and Carper are joined by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in cosponsoring the amendment.