Dec 29 2022
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Unclaimed Savings Bond Act has become law as part of the annual funding bill. Kennedy’s legislation will help Americans claim more than $29 billion in unredeemed savings bonds, including $337 million that belong to the people of Louisiana.
“Now that the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act is law, the Treasury will finally have to help Louisiana and other states reunite Americans with their hard-earned savings. Inflation is forcing Louisianians to pinch pennies, and it’s basic decency that the Treasury would help people find money that rightfully belongs to them and their families,” said Kennedy.
The Treasury Department is currently holding more than $29 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. The Treasury relaunched the tool at Kennedy's request. Individual states, however, conduct programs that reconnect their citizens with unclaimed property.
Kennedy’s legislation requires the Treasury to provide states with 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.
Dec 29 2022
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act became law today as part of a package of bills. Kennedy’s legislation will increase accountability for Chinese companies that refuse to submit to U.S. financial oversight and close a loophole that Chinese companies use to avoid such oversight.
“Companies that are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party have been flouting America’s security laws and putting Americans’ retirement savings at risk. Because Beijing is determined to exploit American investors, I’ve been fighting for more accountability for foreign companies that use American capital. The SEC finally has the power it needs to kick fraudulent Chinese companies off U.S. exchanges more quickly and remind China that playing by the rules isn’t optional,” said Kennedy.
In December 2020, the president signed into law Kennedy’s Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which prohibits foreign companies from listing their securities on any of the U.S. exchanges if the company has failed to comply with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) audits for three years in a row. The law protects the interest of hardworking American investors by ensuring that foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to their competitors in America and other countries.
The Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act will build on this progress by putting additional pressure on China. Kennedy’s legislation requires foreign companies to comply with PCAOB audits within two consecutive years instead of three. This would help remove fraudulent and non-compliant companies from U.S. exchanges more quickly so they cannot continue to put hardworking Americans at risk.
Congress established the PCAOB to inspect audits of public companies, ensuring the information companies provide to the public is accurate, independent and trustworthy.
Historically, China’s communist government has refused to allow the PCAOB to inspect audits of companies registered in China and Hong Kong. Such companies represent a keen risk to American investors as nearly 11 percent of all securities class action lawsuits in 2011 were brought against Chinese-owned companies accused of misrepresenting themselves in financial documents.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, 224 U.S.-listed companies are located in countries where there are obstacles to PCAOB inspections. These companies have a combined market capitalization of more than $1.8 trillion.
In the last 10 years, the number of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges has increased significantly, as those firms take advantage of the capital available in America.
Dec 23 2022
View Kennedy’s comments here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today released this message wishing Louisianians a Merry Christmas.
“I just want to say on behalf of myself and Becky—my better half—and our son, Preston, and our two pups, Charlie and Jack, Merry Christmas. We all want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, prosperous, safe New Year. I know Americans and Louisianians have faced a lot of trials—some new, some old—over the past year, but I also want you to know you're not alone and you are not forgotten,” said Kennedy.
“Christmas reminds all of us that God sent His Son into the world because He loves us. We celebrate Christ and his love this Christmas. We celebrate God and His love this Christmas. We hope that this holiday season brings you peace and joy and hope for the new year,” he continued.
“So, God bless all of you. God bless Louisiana and Merry Christmas!” Kennedy concluded.
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
Dec 23 2022
Madisonville, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Linsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Tillis (R-N.C.) in urging Pres. Biden to re-consider visiting the U.S.-Mexico border to address the influx of illegal immigration and drug and human trafficking. The senators’ letter comes in anticipation of the end of Title 42.
“The ongoing crisis at our southern border is a national security nightmare and a humanitarian disaster, and the amount of illegal drugs flowing through our southern border, particularly fentanyl, is at an all-time high. With the looming end of Title 42 deportation authority, the problems at the border are getting exponentially worse,” the senators wrote.
“You are the Commander in Chief, and you owe it to those working on behalf of our nation to secure our border to hear from them directly about the conditions they face. In many cases, seeing is believing, and it is now time for you to see,” they continued.
“We hope you will reconsider your decision to not visit the border before it’s too late,” they concluded.
The full letter is available here.
Watch Kennedy’s statement here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the above statement after voting against the $1.7 trillion government appropriations package.
Key excerpts from the senator’s statement are below:
“Here’s the main reason I voted against the budget: Inflation. As I’ve said before, inflation is ravaging the American Dream. It’s a cancer on the American Dream, and we’re not going to get control of it until Congress stops spending so much money.”
“We’ve got to slow the rate of growth of spending and debt. Now, look, I’m not naive. There are many people here in Washington, not just on the Democratic side—there are many big-government Republicans as well—and their attitude is, ‘We can't possibly spend enough money.’ If they ran out of money to spend and couldn’t borrow any more, they would think about taking out a reverse mortgage on Alaska to get the money. But there are enough Republicans on Capitol Hill for us to be able to slow the rate of growth and spending, and this bill didn’t do that.”
“The question becomes . . . What’s the best way to achieve the best budget? Do we sit down and do it now, or do we wait until we have a majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives? And I said all along, we should wait.”
“Here’s what it comes down to: Would you rather have Nancy Pelosi decide what the federal budget is going to be, or would you rather wait until he’s sworn in as Speaker of the House and have Kevin McCarthy? And that, to me, is a no brainer, and there was never any doubt in my mind that the prudent decision, in terms of controlling spending, was to wait for Kevin McCarthy [instead of] allowing Speaker Pelosi to make the decision.”
Kennedy has consistently fought the wasteful spending that has fueled inflation under President Biden’s administration. In addition to his vote today, he has voted against $5.6 trillion in other spending this Congress, including:
- H.R. 1319, the $1.9 trillion 2021 coronavirus package,
- H.R. 2471, the $1.5 trillion appropriations package,
- H.R. 3684, the $1.2 trillion mislabeled infrastructure package,
- H.R. 5376, the $740 billion spending bill that has aggravated inflation and
- H.R. 4346, the $240 billion semi-conductor bill.
Watch Kennedy’s full statement here.
Kennedy, Whitehouse issue report examining boundaries of executive privilege and the importance of Congressional oversight
Dec 22 2022
WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the subcommittee chair, released a report entitled: Overprivileged: A Closer Look at Congressional Oversight, Executive Privilege and the Separation of Powers.
The new report breaks down the logjam of information disputes between the executive branch and Congress, which is challenging Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight. The senators found that the executive branch’s compliance with the traditional “accommodation process” has waned under recent administrations of both political parties. They urged Congress to take up legislation to restore its constitutional oversight authority on a bipartisan basis.
“The accommodation process developed as a way to balance the competing, legitimate needs of Congress and the executive branch, allowing each to carry out its constitutional responsibilities while respecting those of the other branch. That process served the country and the American people for more than 200 years, until recent developments disrupted it. The new process, fueled by the executive branch’s overreaching interpretations of executive privilege and the separation of powers, serves recalcitrant executive branch officials, not congressional oversight,” wrote Kennedy and Whitehouse.
For more than 200 years, Congress and the executive branch overwhelmingly engaged in good-faith compromise to settle disputes between Congress’s oversight authority and the executive branch’s authority to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information. In recent decades, however, the executive branch—largely through the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)—has increasingly deployed hardball tactics and novel legal theories to obstruct congressional oversight in violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.
While OLC could end this obstruction by reevaluating its opinions related to congressional oversight, OLC has indicated that it is unlikely to do so voluntarily. In their report, Kennedy and Whitehouse lay out the breadth of legislative proposals to revitalize congressional oversight authority, ranging from sharpening existing enforcement tools to speeding up judicial resolutions. The senators urged their fellow lawmakers to take up bipartisan reform efforts to strengthen Congress’s hand in the accommodation process.
“Without a robust oversight power, Congress cannot serve the vital function of exposing misconduct and providing accountability that our Constitution and our democracy demand. Accordingly, members of all parties should agree on the urgent need for reforms that would revive Congress’s oversight authority and restore Congress’s coequal position in the separation of powers,” concluded the senators.
The report comes after the Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights Subcommittee held two hearings on the process and substance of executive privilege determinations during the 117th Congress. At the first hearing in August 2021, the subcommittee heard from a bipartisan panel of experts about the executive branch’s increasing use of executive privilege and related doctrines to withhold vast amounts of information and stymie oversight requests from Congress. At the second hearing in October 2022, the subcommittee heard from Christopher Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for OLC, to better understand OLC’s perspective on executive privilege and the accommodation process. That hearing marked the first time in 20 years that a sitting, confirmed Assistant Attorney General for OLC had appeared before Congress.
The full report is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $63,669,631 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.
“Hurricanes Katrina, Laura and Ida devastated too many Louisianians in New Orleans and Lake Charles. I’m thankful this $63.7 million will support the ongoing recovery in their communities,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $38,690,792 to the city of New Orleans toward new construction for the OJC Mental and Medical Services Building in wake of Hurricane Katrina.
- $14,539,167 to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury for debris removal made through the Public Assistance Alternate Procedures Pilot Program as a result of Hurricane Laura.
- $6,610,368 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for permanent repairs to the FK White Middle School, which Hurricane Laura damaged.
- $2,384,761 to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury for debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,444,543 to the Louisiana Children's Medical Center for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
View Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the Senate floor to send Louisianians his Christmas wish for them.
“I have lived in five other states and a foreign country, Mr. President, and I have never, ever met people like my people in Louisiana. They are hardworking, they are God-fearing and they are fun-loving,” said Kennedy.
“So, my wish this Christmas to my people is first, enjoy your family, worship our God, and may your sunrises be full of hope and your sunsets be full of peace.”
Video of Kennedy’s full remarks is available here.
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today championed the Congressional authorization of a 100 percent federal cost share to restore the wetlands destroyed by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO). Kennedy’s support for the 2022 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) helped to secure this win for the people of southeast Louisiana.
The MRGO destroyed over 600,000 acres of coast surrounding the Greater New Orleans area. It also allowed saltwater to flow from the Gulf of Mexico inland, destroying more than 27,000 acres of Louisiana’s wetlands, which functioned as a natural storm buffer that Louisianians rely on.
With less wetlands and more open water, the MRGO became a storm surge superhighway during Hurricane Katrina.
“We made a mistake building MRGO,” Kennedy said.
“In our Water Resources and Development Act, which this Senate just passed . . . we have, at long last, done something that I’ve been working on since I got here from day one . . . We authorized the Corps of Engineers to begin implementing the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet restoration plan . . . That means the Corps is going to fill it in and start repairing the wetlands and other ecological and environmental damage that was done when we built this channel. It will not cost the people of Louisiana one single penny.
“That’s why I say I rise in gratitude and thanksgiving. I want to thank this Congress, and I want to thank the Corps of Engineers,” Kennedy concluded.
The most recent estimated cost of the MRGO restoration was $3 billion in 2012. More damage to the wetlands and marshes has occurred since 2012, so the $3 billion estimate likely falls below the current cost to restore the area.
View Kennedy’s full remarks here.
Dec 21 2022
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today addressed the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
“It is becoming harder and harder not to conclude that the border crisis intentional. . . . None of the president’s positions on this make any sense to me, unless I view it from the perspective of, well, maybe he wants this to happen. Maybe he is listening too much to the berserk wing of his own party—the immigration activists—who think that vetting people at the border is racist. I think the president has misread the American people,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy helped introduced the WALL Act to fully fund the wall along the southern border in order to protect both U.S. citizens and immigrants.
Kennedy also helped introduce the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, which would close the “catch-and-release” loophole that requires the government to release illegal aliens into the U.S. interior after detaining them for six months, if no other country accepts them for deportation.
The senator helped introduce a resolution highlighting rising crime rates in the U.S. in connection with mass influxes of migrants at the southern border.
Kennedy has asked the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General to investigate the Biden administration policies that have produced the worst border crisis in U.S. history and left border patrol agents strapped for resources to contend with it.
View Kennedy’s full remarks here.