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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and more than 30 other senators to urge Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to address reports that thousands of illegal immigrants in Del Rio, Texas were released into the interior of the U.S. instead of facing removal as the Biden administration had previously pledged.

“While we applaud the Administration’s original stated intent to expel the majority of migrants under the CDC’s Title 42 order or to expeditiously remove them, we are concerned that DHS did not actually carry out this plan, deployed resources in a manner that weakened border security, and undermined the deterrent effect of any future statements that the Biden Administration will enforce our immigration laws at the border,” the senators wrote.

“DHS has openly admitted that the rapid influx of Haitian migrants into the interior was orchestrated by smuggling organizations, which only makes some aspects of the agency’s response more puzzling. . . . And Administration officials have communicated to congressional staff that smuggling organizations strategically bused migrants into Ciudad Acuña in order to concentrate migrants at a single location and overwhelm the Border Patrol. Despite knowing this, however, DHS shut down Border Patrol checkpoints in the Del Rio Sector and reassigned those agents to process migrants under the Del Rio International Bridge,” explained the senators.

“Finally, the Administration’s response to the ongoing border crisis only makes it more likely that we will continue to experience surges like the one in Del Rio,” the senators continued.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) authored this op-ed, originally published in the Daily Comet. Below are key excerpts from the piece, which outlines the need to keep the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) affordable and accessible to Louisianians and all Americans.

“Like many coastal states, Louisiana sometimes has floods, which is why roughly 500,000 Louisianians depend on the National Flood Insurance Program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to protect them from these natural disasters.

“But now FEMA is implementing a new plan that will price its flood insurance well beyond the means of most Louisianians and other Americans.”

. . .

“FEMA’s madness—called Risk Rating 2.0—would enact the biggest change in history to how the NFIP calculates flood insurance premiums.

“According to FEMA’s own estimates, Risk Rating 2.0 would lead to higher insurance rates for roughly 80% of Louisianians who depend on the NFIP. What good is flood insurance if no one can afford it?

“These new, higher rates started Oct. 1 for new NFIP policies and will take effect for existing policyholders on April 1, 2022.

“FEMA’s timing in rolling out its plan is terrible. This May, historic rainfall caused widespread flooding in southern Louisiana, hurting areas that Hurricanes Laura and Delta already damaged. More than 12 inches of rain fell on Lake Charles alone. Thousands of homes and businesses lost power.

“Just weeks ago, Nicholas came right on the heels of Hurricane Ida, soaking parts of southeastern Louisiana with up to a foot of rain. More than half of our state was under a flood alert. Hurricane season isn’t even over yet. Now is not the time to gut the NFIP like a fish.”

. . .

“It’s disgraceful that FEMA is now pushing through Risk Rating 2.0 without congressional approval or public input. FEMA’s process in developing its new edict has been opaque and undemocratic.

“Louisianians and other Americans who choose to be prudent by insuring against the risk of flood deserve a say over such a significant change to their flood insurance.”

. . .

“I hope FEMA will regain its sanity and stop this disastrous plan, or at least give Louisianians and other Americans a say in the matter. Until they do, I’m going to oppose Risk Rating 2.0 like a hound from hell, no matter how much FEMA wants to deny the asininity of the program.”

The op-ed is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – The Senate passed Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Gary Peters’s (D-Mich.) resolution designating the week of Sept. 11 through Sept. 17 as Patriot Week.

Cofounded by Judge Michael Warren, Patriot Week honors the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, celebrates Constitution Day on Sept. 17 and encourages students to engage with American history and civics.

“The first responders and other heroes whose lives were taken 20 years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, exemplify the American spirit. We will remember their sacrifice forever, and we will teach our children to do the same. As we refuse to forget these Americans or the evil of Sept. 11, we walk forward with a reverence for the liberties anchored in our Constitution and for the selfless patriotism they foster. Patriot Week helps tell America’s story, and our story is worth telling,” said Kennedy.

“Patriot Week offered everyone an opportunity to delve deeper into our nation’s history, engage in civics, and reflect on the values and ideals that define who we are as Americans. We recently marked 20 years since the horrific September 11th terrorist attacks—and I will never forget how we rallied together as one nation during that difficult time. We must channel that unity and work together to address the very serious challenges our nation faces. I am thankful to Judge Warren for his commitment to this effort and was proud to work with him and Senator Kennedy to lead this annual recognition in the Senate,” said Peters.  

“In these very challenging times, reminding Americans what unites us is more important than ever. We ask all Americans to learn, celebrate, and embrace our First Principles, great patriots, founding documents, and flags that make America that greatest nation in world history. Co-founder Leah (my then 10 year old daughter) and I are very appreciative of Senators Peters and Kennedy for moving this grassroots based resolution through the US Senate on a bipartisan basis for a third consecutive year,” said Warren.

More than 17 states have officially recognized Patriot Week through gubernatorial proclamations and legislative resolutions.

Text of the resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and more than 30 other senators in writing to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) opposing a measure of the multi-trillion-dollar Democrat spending bill that would raise taxes on married couples. The policy would effectively discourage marriage.

“We were disappointed to learn that in some instances the House of Representatives’ reconciliation bill creates harmful penalties for marriage. Discouraging marriage is not in our country’s best interest and sends the wrong message to our families,” the senators wrote.

“Federal policy should be designed to foster strong marriages, which are the foundation of strong families and strong communities. Unfortunately, despite its original rollout as part of the ‘American Families Plan,’ the current draft of the reconciliation bill takes an existing marriage penalty in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and makes it significantly worse,” explained the senators. 

“The reconciliation bill could make the same family significantly worse off. It could nearly double the marriage penalty,” the senators continued.

“We believe that marriage is a vital social good. It is misguided and unfair for the government to build bigger barriers for couples to marry,” concluded the senators.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-N.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also signed the letter.

The letter is available here.

 

 
Kennedy outlined Monday how storms have devastated Louisiana and the nearly $150 billion in damages they caused in just 13 months.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted today in support of a short-term funding bill that would send disaster aid to Louisiana and extend the National Flood Insurance Program without raising the debt limit. The Senate passed the bill, which now moves to the House of Representatives.

If you even glance at the storm damage levied on Louisiana over the last year, you know our people need disaster relief. I’m thankful the Senate did the right thing by voting to send aid to our state, extend the flood insurance program Louisianians depend on and keep the government open,” said Kennedy.

Senate Republicans attempted to pass a bill similar to today’s legislation on Monday, but Democrats blocked that move before eventually removing the debt ceiling provision from their funding bill and bringing that measure for a vote today.

Kennedy has explained the need for disaster aid and criticized the political gamesmanship that originally led Democrats to tether that aid to lifting the debt limit. Video of Kennedy’s comments made on Sept. 27 is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,229,552 in funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration to expand the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery in Keithville, La.

“Louisianians know that we can never do enough to thank our nation’s heroes. These resources from the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program will help honor veterans and their loved ones in northwest Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

According to the VA, this grant will expand the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery by providing for 1,520 pre-placed crypts, 1,260 columbarium niches, as well as landscaping, additional infrastructure and signage on roughly two acres of land. The cemetery serves more than 73,000 veterans and their families living in a radius of 75 miles of the location.

This Veterans Cemetery Grants Program funds veteran cemeteries nationwide and expands access to burial benefits for veterans and eligible family members.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and more than 30 other senators in urging President Biden not to support the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which would subject Americans’ Second Amendment rights to international oversight if ratified. 

“We write to you today seeking clarification on your Administration’s position on the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Recent remarks by Deputy Director for Conventional Arms Threat Reduction, William Malzahn, seem to indicate your intention to rejoin this misguided and overbearing international treaty,” the senators wrote.

“At the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, Deputy Director Malzahn stated ‘The United States has long supported strong and effective national controls on the international transfer of conventional arms, and the Arms Trade Treaty is an important tool for promoting those controls internationally.’ We find this statement to be most concerning and contrary to the current and historical position of the United States,” explained the senators.

“The vague language of the ATT makes American commitments uncertain, the most concerning of which is the lack of protections for lawful gun ownership which threatens the rights afforded to Americans under the Second Amendment. Further, with an amendment process that only requires a ¾ vote for approval, more intrusive provisions could be applied in the future; legally obligating the United States to comply with international commitments without consent from the Senate,” the senators continued.

“Under any circumstance, it is inconceivable that the United States would consider subjecting our constitutional right to bear arms to international oversight and interference. For these reasons, we request clarification on your intentions regarding this international accord. Moreover, we urge you to reject the ATT; however, should you have plans otherwise, please know we will unequivocally oppose its ratification in the Senate,” they concluded.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2021 to help Americans claim more than $26 billion in unredeemed savings bonds, including $337 million that belong to the people of Louisiana.

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and James Risch (R-Idaho) cosponsored the legislation.

“The Treasury is sitting on billions of dollars that should be in Americans’ pockets—including more than $300 million that belong to Louisianians. Louisianians pay their taxes faithfully, and Washington needs to pay out these savings bonds. The Unclaimed Savings Bond Act would make sure states have what they need to get this money to its rightful owners—so they can invest it in what matters most to their families,” said Kennedy.

“Americans are owed billions of dollars by the federal government for unclaimed, matured savings bonds,” said Moran. “This sensible legislation requires the U.S. Treasury to provide states, including Kansas, with the necessary records to locate the rightful owners and heirs of these matured bonds.”

“Treasury currently holds billions of dollars in unclaimed savings bonds that have been forgotten or lost. This money belongs to the people. Our Unclaimed Savings Bond Act would help Americans identify and access their unclaimed savings bonds,” said Young. “I appreciate Indiana Treasurer of State Kelly Mitchell’s support as we work to help Americans get funds that are rightfully theirs.”

“Washington needs to do its job and returns these bonds to their rightful owners,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill ensures Louisianians will have access to the $337 million in unredeemed savings they have earned over the years.”

“Over $470 million is owed to Hoosiers in unredeemed U.S. savings bonds, and I’m proud to join Senator Kennedy to help get this money to its rightful owners,” said Braun.

“The federal government is sitting on billions of dollars in unredeemed savings bonds, including at least $1.4 billion belonging to Floridians,” Rubio said. “This legislation would help the State of Florida to identify bond owners, so that these funds can be returned to their rightful owners.” 

The Treasury Department is currently holding more than $26 billion in matured, unredeemed U.S. savings bonds, most of which the Treasury deems lost, stolen, destroyed or “unclaimed.” Many of these bonds were issued more than 70 years ago and have matured—meaning they no longer earn interest for bondholders. 

In cases in which bonds are not physically possessed by their rightful holders, only the Treasury has the names and addresses of the original bond owners. The Treasury also has the serial numbers needed to claim the bond proceeds.  

The Treasury has not taken any significant actions to proactively reunite bonds with their rightful owners despite its relaunch of Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to locate bond information, at Kennedy’s request. Individual states, however, conduct programs that reconnect their citizens with unclaimed property. 

Kennedy’s bill would require the Treasury to provide states information about matured and unclaimed bonds so these states can use unclaimed property programs to help find the original owners (or heirs of those original owners) of these bonds. This provision would only apply to unredeemed bonds that matured before 2018.

Text of the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act of 2021 is available here.

Kennedy outlines the storms that have devastated Louisiana and the nearly $150 billion in damages they caused in just 13 months.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the Senate floor in support of a short-term funding bill that would send disaster aid to Louisiana without raising the debt limit. Senate Republicans attempted to pass the bill this afternoon, but Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) blocked the move. 

The resolution Kennedy supported today would provide disaster relief funding to Louisiana and extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to December 3, 2021.

Kennedy explained the need for disaster aid and criticized the political gamesmanship that has led Democrats to tether that aid to lifting the debt limit.

“If you add up all of the damages [from the last year of storms to hit Louisiana], it's about $150 billion in 13 months. Now, other states were impacted by these storms, but Louisiana took it full in the face. This was as brutal a blow as nature has inflicted on an American state in modern history. We will be coughing up bones for years, and this legislation is going to help us recover,” said Kennedy.

This legislation does every single thing that my colleagues Sen. Cassidy and Sen. McConnell talked about, that my Democratic friends want to do—everything: keeps the government open, maintains flood insurance, gives disaster relief, not just to Louisiana, but to my friends in the northeast part of our country, to my friends on the west coast. It does help my state—southwest, southeast, north Louisiana—but we're not the only ones. Sen. McConnell's legislation does everything except one thing—one thing: increasing the debt ceiling that Sen. Schumer can do in a matter of days, on his own. Why are we fighting over this? You know, nature abhors a moron. It is moronic for us to be having this fight when it can be so easily solved. Everything in Sen. McConnell’s legislation can easily pass this body with 70 votes, and we know it. And then Sen. Schumer can come right behind by simply amending the budget resolution, and our problems are solved. Nature abhors a moron. Let’s don’t be moronic,” Kennedy concluded.

Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy today introduced the Seniors Saving on Insulin Act and the Vital Medication Affordability Act to help make insulin and epinephrine more affordable for Louisianians.

“Hundreds of thousands of Louisianians rely on lifesaving medications like insulin and epinephrine, and 12 percent of adults in our state have diabetes. Our people need access to affordable medications, especially when our state is recovering from historic storms. My bills would make insulin more affordable for seniors on Medicare and ensure that key health centers pass along discounts on insulin and epinephrine to patients,” said Kennedy. 

The Seniors Saving on Insulin Act would codify as law the Part D Senior Savings Model, which provides Medicare patients with plans that offer affordable insulin. The bill would ensure that Medicare patients could buy a month’s supply of insulin at no more than $35. One-third of Medicare users have diabetes, and more than 3 million Medicare patients rely on insulin. Research has shown that affordable medications make patients more able to care for their health consistently, which improves health outcomes and lowers health care costs in the long term.  

The Vital Medication Affordability Act would require federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), which serve poor, uninsured and rural residents, to pass along their savings on insulin and epinephrine to their patients. FQHCs can purchase prescription drugs at a discount through the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Kennedy’s legislation would make FQHCs offer these discounts on insulin and epinephrine to many patients who otherwise could not afford these medications.

Text of the Seniors Saving on Insulin Act is available here.

Text of the Vital Medication Affordability Act is available here.