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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) in introducing the Simplifying Subcontracting Act to clarify federal contracts so that businesses can easily pursue federal subcontracts.

“Small businesses benefit from federal contracts, but, when the government uses confusing words, it discourages small businesses from applying for them. The Simplifying Subcontracting Act would make federal contracts use clear language so that more businesses can take advantage of contracting opportunities,” said Kennedy.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, yet many are left out when it comes to federal government subcontracting due to excessively complicated language. Congress can easily fix this with the Simplifying Subcontracting ActMy legislation would require the federal government to communicate in plain language, not bureaucrat, in order to open the door for more small businesses to compete for these contracts,” said Risch. 

The Simplifying Subcontracting Act would:

  • Simplify federal contracts. 
  • Require prime contractors to write applications in plain, clear language.
  • Remedy the government’s use of overly technical language that many find difficult to understand. 

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also cosponsored the bill. 

Full text of the Simplifying Subcontracting Act is available here.

Watch Kennedy question Yellen here. 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), ranking member of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy, questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today about the fact that inflation under President Biden now costs Louisiana families an extra $792 each month. 

These high prices caused by Bidenomics are here to stay, aren't they?” Kennedy asked Yellen.

“I don't expect the level of prices to go down. . . . Some prices will be higher than they were before the pandemic and will stay higher,” Yellen replied.

Real wages—which measure wages when adjusted for inflation—have fallen since January 2021. That means workers are effectively making less money now than they were three years ago.

“If you don't get a pay raise, you're screwed,” explained Kennedy. 

When Kennedy asked Yellen whether it could take a recession to get these prices down, she responded, “Well, we don’t have to get the prices down because wages, wages are going up.”

Wages, however, have not risen as quickly as prices have.

“You don’t think we need to get these prices down? You think it’s ok that bacon’s up 20% under President Biden? Chicken’s up 23.5%. Coffee’s up 30%. Gas is up 44%. [Used] cars and trucks are up . . . 24% under Bidenomics. You don’t think we need to get these prices [down]?” Kennedy asked. 

“People are getting really good at barely getting by because of Bidenomics,” Kennedy added.

Inflation under the Biden administration’s economic policies means Louisianians spend an extra $9,510 annually to buy the same goods and services they purchased before this president took office.

Monthly inflation costs have risen 18.3% since Biden took office. That means inflation has cost Louisiana households nearly $18,000 over the past three years. The median household income for a Louisiana household is $57,852.

Kennedy’s exchange with Yellen is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, sent a letter to the chief judge of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals regarding discriminatory standing orders issued by three judges on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. 

These three judges have issued nearly identical standing orders implementing a policy that prioritizes granting oral argument to “newer, female, and minority attorneys.” This facially discriminatory policy jeopardizes the integrity of the U.S. legal system. 

“While the standing orders contain minor variations, each establishes a policy under which oral argument requests are granted based on an attorney’s race or sex rather than the substantive merits of the case or the importance of oral argument in clarifying the issue before the court,” wrote Kennedy and Cruz.

“This policy is both unethical and unconstitutional. That is especially true in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, which instructs that ‘[r]acial discrimination [is] invidious in all contexts’ and that ‘eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.’ Under these standing orders, however, a party that wishes to have the attorney of their choice argue a motion risks being deprived of oral argument if that attorney is an experienced white male, but is assured of oral argument ‘if it is at all practicable to do so’ if that attorney is female or a racial or ethnic minority,” they explained.

The senators note that the policies of these judges suggest ongoing judicial race and sex discrimination, in violation of the Fifth Amendment and judicial codes of conduct. They ask the chief judge’s assistance in addressing the discriminatory policies.

“Depriving parties of their right to oral argument based on the sex or race of the attorney undermines the principles of impartiality, fairness, due process, and the equal protection under the law upon which our judicial system is built. It is unfortunate that the federal taxpayer has, in part, supported such discriminatory conduct,” concluded the senators.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,587,808 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Louisiana’s waterways are some of the most iconic parts of our state. I’m grateful to see this $3.6 million help Louisianians in Ascension Parish clean up the debris Hurricane Ida left behind in Bayou Conway,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,587,808 to Ascension Parish for debris removal in Bayou Conway.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined all other Judiciary Republicans in investigating Rutgers University’s Center for Security, Race and Rights for financially sponsoring events that featured terrorist sympathizers and promoted antisemitism.

“The work of the Center, its promotion of terrorist sympathizers, and its platforming of radical ideologues is troubling to us as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Committee has a long history of working on legislation meant to root out support for terrorism, and to compensate its victims. For example, in 2016 Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” the senators wrote.

“As the Committee explores the efficacy of this legislation, particularly in the context of recent world events, it is appropriate to evaluate the financial backing of groups that seek to legitimize violence and provide platforms for terrorist sympathizers,” they concluded.

The senators are probing whether U.S. taxpayer dollars fund the Center and what role foreign governments play in supporting the Center’s activities. This Center has received public, bipartisan condemnation, including from Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who described one of its events as “a platform to those affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

The full letter to the Rutgers University president is available here

The senators also penned a second letter to the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, based in New York. The firm donated at least $13,000 to the Rutgers Center’s Law Fellows Program over the past three years. The senators asked for written responses to inquiries regarding the firm’s financial support to the university in order to “evaluate the financial backing of groups that seek to legitimize violence and provide platforms for terrorist sympathizers.”

The firm previously declined an informal, private discussion with Judiciary Committee staff.

Full text of the letter to Rutgers is available here and to Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,988,427 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida’s storm surge hit Jefferson Parish hard. I’m grateful to see this $2 million help cover Louisianians’ debris removal costs,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,988,427 to Jefferson Parish for debris removal operations on eight private waterways.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), the ranking member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee on Appropriations, today spoke on the Senate floor to condemn the Biden administration’s pause on new and pending permits for liquified natural gas (LNG) exports. 

Kennedy detailed several Biden administration policies that have harmed America’s energy independence and argued that President Joe Biden’s hostility toward America’s domestic energy sector will hurt the U.S. economy, jeopardize national security and make life more expensive for Louisianians.  

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s remarks include:

“President Biden is committing energy suicide for America. Regrettablyand I mean thatregrettably, too many times in the past three years and on too many issues, we have seen President Biden act as a sock puppet for a faction of neo-socialist Americans who don't like our country, who think our country was wicked when it was founded and that it’s even more wicked today.

“This faction, which President Biden has supported far too often, thinks our country must be torn down and rebuilt, and, of course, they want to be the ones to rebuild it. Now this faction turned its sights, with the help of President Biden, on America’s hard-fought energy independence. President Biden just aided this faction in destroying America’s energy independence and committing energy suicide by declaring a moratorium on new gas terminals in America.

“Apparently, President Biden’s new policy is to give up our own oil and gas and buy the energy that we need from countries that hate us so they will have more money to buy weapons to try to kill us. Stupidity, Mr. President, stupidity should hurt more. I realize you can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out.”

. . .

“Energy independence is America’s jackpot lottery ticket. Now, we’ve worked hard for it, but it’s our jackpot lottery ticket, but, for some reason, President Biden wants to light our winning numbers on fire.

“He is committing energy suicide. Did I mention that? At every turn, the Biden administration has taken steps to make it more difficult, more expensive and sometimes flat-out impossible to produce, transport and sell the energy products that we need to power America. These foolish policies—the latest of which is a moratorium on LNG—these foolish policies are killing American jobs. They’re killing American jobs, they’re driving up energy prices, they’re jeopardizing our national security and it needs to stop, Mr. President.”

. . .

“Liquified natural gas—it’s not complicated, America helped invent it. You just take natural gas—which is in its gaseous forms—and you cool it, turn it into a liquid, put it on a ship and you can send it all over the world. That’s how we kept Europe open after Putin cut off its oil and natural gas. It was a lifeline for our allies in Europe. It’s a lifeline for many of our friends in west Asia, and President Biden, before this moratorium, he promised our allies in Europe that they could rely on the United States for their LNG needs.

“Now, President Biden has chosen to stab America’s LNG producers and our allies in the back—not in the front, in the back—by prohibiting new LNG export terminals. This decision is going to kill dozens of multi-billion-dollar new terminal projects, including a project in Louisiana that we call Calcasieu Pass 2. . . . It would have brought thousands of good jobs to Louisiana and to America. It would have produced the energy to keep this country safe, to keep this country warm and to help our friends, but President Biden has put all those jobs and the terminal itself in jeopardy. Why? Politics. To appease that neo-socialist faction that I talked about that don’t even like our country.”

. . .

“Energy independence keeps America safe. It keeps America strong. It keeps America prosperous. . . . Louisianians do not want to rely upon the whims of our adversaries to keep our country running.

“We cannot let President Biden commit energy suicide to appease the radical left in the loon wing of his party. So, I ask my colleagues, Mr. President, to join me in pushing back against President Biden’s anti-energy agenda and his moratorium on liquified natural gas.”

Read Kennedy’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed on LNG here.

View Kennedy’s full remarks here

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in introducing the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act to protect Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding for crisis pregnancy centers. 

On Oct. 2, Pres. Joe Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule that would restrict states’ ability to direct TANF funding to crisis pregnancy centers. On Dec. 1, Kennedy demanded that the Biden administration’s HHS withdraw its proposed rule targeting pregnancy centers. 

“Pres. Biden’s proposed rule would end TANF funding for crisis pregnancy centers—including the more than 30 centers in Louisiana—that provide vital care to expecting moms and their families. The Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act ensures that these important community resources continue to get the money they need to keep their doors open for vulnerable women and babies,” said Kennedy.

“Crisis pregnancy centers do extraordinary work to lift up mothers and their children in need. If this program’s goal is to provide assistance for needy families that will help them build stable, caring homes for their children, the only possible motivation for stripping funding from pregnancy centers is a political one. I’m proud to join this effort to allow crisis pregnancy centers to continue doing the Lord’s work and providing hope for families struggling to make ends meet,” said Scott.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, which passed by a 214-208 vote.

The TANF program provides $16.5 billion in federal funding to states for direct cash assistance and support services for needy families. The Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act would ensure the federal government cannot restrict TANF funds from supporting pregnancy centers.

The bill would not block the implementation of the Biden administration’s rule but would prohibit the Biden HHS from making regulatory changes that are biased against crisis pregnancy centers. 

Sens. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) also cosponsored the legislation.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, National Right to Life, Americans United for Life and Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee also support the legislation.

Full text of the Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Women and Families Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in introducing the Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act to allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny applications for the siting, construction, expansion or operation of facilities to export or import liquified natural gas (LNG).

Under current law, the Department of Energy (DOE) has the authority to approve or deny LNG exports, yet, under the Biden administration, the department is politicizing American energy production.

“At every turn, the Biden administration yields to the demands of radical climate extremists—and it is putting America’s jobs and national security at risk. Louisiana and many other states rely on the clean energy that LNG provides. We can’t allow the president’s Department of Energy to further jeopardize economic and geopolitical stability with its disastrous permitting pauses,” said Kennedy.

“President Biden’s move to halt American energy exports is pure politics. In fact, exporting U.S. natural gas would actually lower global emissions. President Biden is dead set on bowing to the far-left and making the U.S. and our allies more reliant on foreign adversaries like Russia. Instead, I’m fighting to unleash America’s abundant natural resources, bolster our energy independence and safeguard our national security,” said Scott. 

Sens. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) also cosponsored the legislation. 

Background:

  • On Jan. 30, Kennedy vowed to block President Biden’s nominees to the State Department and the Department of Energy until the administration stops its hostility towards LNG production.
  • On Jan. 30, Kennedy and colleagues urged the administration to reverse its decision to pause permitting for LNG export facilities in the U.S., citing a threat to the industry. Louisiana's Calcasieu Pass 2 project is among the 17 proposed LNG terminals Biden's decision froze.
  • On Jan. 18, prior to the Biden administration's decision to halt permitting for LNG export facilities, Kennedy warned DOE Secretary Jennifer Graham about the burdensome permitting process.  
  • In April 2021, Kennedy wrote an op-ed outlining how Louisiana’s energy production could help meet the world’s demand for LNG.

Full text of the Unlocking Domestic LNG Potential Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the No Industrial Restrictions In Secret Act (No IRIS Act) to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using data from the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) to make rules against America’s chemical manufacturing industry.

“The Biden White House is using the EPA’s IRIS to create more red tape for America’s chemical manufacturers, and it is crushing the industry. The No IRIS Act would ensure that unelected bureaucrats do not abuse the IRIS to implement rules that kill Louisiana jobs and hurt our economy without congressional approval,” said Kennedy.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) is leading the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Chemistry is the driving force behind American innovation. Computer chips, modern healthcare, housing, infrastructure, agriculture, and energy are all made possible by America’s chemical industry. Unfortunately, the EPA’s IRIS program puts many critical chemistries in jeopardy. The IRIS program has a troubling history of being out of step with the best available science and methods, lacking transparency, and being unresponsive to peer review and stakeholder recommendations. As a result, the IRIS program—which has never been authorized by Congress—produces assessments that defy common sense. We applaud Senator Kennedy for introducing this critical legislation to promote sound science and protect America’s ability to compete and innovate,” said Chris Jahn, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council.

The No IRIS Act would prohibit the federal government from using the IRIS to inform its rulemakings unless Congress explicitly authorizes the program. 

Background:

  • The EPA established the IRIS program in 1985 to gather data on how chemicals impact human health.
  • Currently, the IRIS program is not authorized in statute. As a result, unelected bureaucrats within the EPA abuse the program to hurt chemical makers with virtually zero Congressional oversight.
  • Additionally, the EPA designed the IRIS to spot health hazards—not make policy. Unfortunately, under the Biden administration, the IRIS utilizes unscientific methods that wreak havoc on American businesses. 
  • In Louisiana, chemical manufacturers, such as those that make products that sterilize medical equipment, support more than $3.6 billion in economic activity and provide 1,700 direct jobs and 5,600 indirect jobs for Americans. 

Full text of the No IRIS Act is available here.