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MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) in raising concerns about the Biden administration’s decision to release $6 billion in frozen assets to the Islamic Republic of Iran in exchange for the release of five American detainees.

In the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the senators expressed concerns that the Biden administration is attempting to circumvent congressional authority to enter into a nuclear agreement with the Iranian Regime, as the Obama administration attempted.

The letter also asked the cabinet members to commit to blocking Iran’s access to special drawing rights at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a threat to which Kennedy has repeatedly drawn attention. Iran gained access to about $5 billion in special drawing rights through the IMF deal that President Joe Biden made in 2021 without approval from Congress.

“When the Obama administration released $400 million in liquidated assets to Iran in 2016, we warned that this dangerous precedent would put a price on American lives. Seven years later, the current administration is providing a ransom payment worth at least fifteen times that amount to the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, in yet another violation of the United States’ long-standing ‘no concessions’ policy,” wrote the senators.

The release of such a significant sum to the Iranian regime runs entirely counter to that claim and will only serve to encourage additional hostage taking for financial or political gain,” they continued.

“We are also worried that your administration is attempting to sidestep Congress and pursue other pathways to financially compensate Iran in an attempt to renegotiate a successor to the ill-fated 2015 nuclear deal. Any agreement with the Iranian regime that entails financial reward for malign behavior is wholly unacceptable,” the senators stated.

The lawmakers also requested an in-person briefing on the risk the agreement poses to American citizens overseas and to U.S. national security interests.

Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) also joined the letter.

The full letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,635,462 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana flood protection.  

“Livingston Parish has dealt with serious flooding over the years, so I’m thankful this $1.6 million will help Louisianians stay ahead of future floods,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,635,462 to Livingston Parish for the elevation of 8 structures.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $6,875,056 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid and flood mitigation.

“Louisianians in Lake Charles and Livingston Parish have had to endure tough times, and I’m glad to see that this $6.9 million will support Hurricane Laura recovery efforts and flood protection measures in their communities,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $4,749,381 to the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District for management costs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,125,675 for the elevation and acquisition of seven properties within Livingston Parish. 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,715,458 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura hit Lake Charles hard, and I’m glad to see that this $1.7 million will support ongoing recovery efforts in southwest Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,715,458 to the Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Laura.

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in calling out the Biden administration for its plan to block funding for elementary and secondary schools that have hunting and archery programs.

The letter condemns the Biden administration’s attempt to use last year’s gun control bill to justify defunding schools with hunter and archery education programs. More than 500,000 students participate in and are certified through hunter education courses each year. These important programs help students learn how to handle firearms safely, which decreases firearm-related injuries and accidents.

“We write to express our deep concern about the Biden administration’s attempt to use the gun control bill passed last year to block funding for elementary and secondary school,” Kennedy and his colleagues wrote.

“While the administration claims to be eliminating dangerous activities, this guidance will, in fact, have the opposite effect. These programs provided thousands of students with the opportunity to learn proper instruction for firearm and archery safety,” they continued.

“We voted against the gun control legislation. It is now clearer than ever that the Biden administration will use the bill to attack the constitutional rights of Americans. Hunting and archery are strongly connected to the traditions and heritage of America. This outrageous overreach is an attack on hunters and outdoor recreation that must be addressed,” the lawmakers stated. 

Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) also signed the letter. 

The full letter is available here.

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in The Advocate describing how the soft-on-crime policies and anti-cop rhetoric coming out of Washington have harmed Louisiana’s small businesses. He argues that liberal policymakers, including President Joe Biden, must do more to address rising crime by securing the border and respecting law enforcement.

Key excerpts of the op-ed are below:

“Starting a business is one of the riskiest decisions one can make. Entrepreneurs embrace that risk because they love what they do, the people they work with, and the customers they serve.

“But today, many Louisiana business owners face risks far beyond their comfort levels. Violent crime has made it untenable for many business owners to keep their doors open. The threat to their employees and customers is just too great.”

. . .

“Louisiana isn’t alone. Crime-related business closures have increased nationwide. This crime wave is ravaging local economies, and Washington’s anti-cop rhetoric and soft-on-crime policies are to blame.

“For years, the loon wing of the Democratic Party has worked to tear down the entire law enforcement community. Rather than working for commonsense reforms, these activists called cops ‘pigs’ and urged lawmakers to defund local police departments.

“Where these activists failed to defund most police departments, they succeeded in demoralizing all of them. Today, police officer shortages plague communities everywhere. The New Orleans Police Department is on pace to have the fewest officers in 75 years. Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and the Louisiana State Police are facing massive officer shortages, too.”

. . .

“Many in Washington also embraced soft-on-crime policies that shortened federal prison sentences. I opposed these criminal reforms, including the First Step Act, because I believed it would lead to more families and businesses becoming victims of preventable crimes. Unfortunately, my fears were correct. Eleven percent of convicts released under the First Step Act reoffended—so far.

“At the border, cartels exploit our broken catch-and-release policies to flood Louisiana communities with poisonous fentanyl. Yet when I tried to increase prison sentences for fentanyl dealers earlier this year, Senate Democrats blocked my bill, apparently because they hate the idea of keeping poison dealers in prison.

“This cocktail of bone-deep, down-to-the-marrow stupid policies has fueled crime nationwide. Now, those who promoted these foolish ideas want Americans to think they’re imagining crime, rather than experiencing it.”

. . .

“If we let rampant crime suffocate these businesses, the economies and charisma of Louisiana neighborhoods will wither, too.

“Crime and the destruction that follows it are not inevitable. With fair policies, well-trained and supported police officers, and leaders dedicated to enforcing the law, we can reduce crime and make Louisiana a safe place to invest. I’ll continue to push lawmakers and officials to embrace policies that protect businesses, our people, and their livelihoods.”

Read the full op-ed here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $11,769,782 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.  

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida hit Louisianians hard. This $11.8 million will help Calcasieu Parish, Lafourche Parish, and nearby communities recover,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $8,907,510 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board to support school facility repairs resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,812,815 to the Diocese of Houma Thibodaux for mold remediation in school buildings related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,049,457 to Lafourche Parish for the demolition of 44 homes in danger of collapse as a result of Hurricane Ida.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the bipartisan Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act to address the lack of broadband internet and other emerging information technology resources in rural areas by improving Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

“Louisiana depends on broadband more each day. I’m proud to partner with Sen. Shaheen to expand access to broadband and other technological resources for small businesses so that they can continue to support the jobs our economy depends on,” said Kennedy.

“Small businesses are engines of economic growth and the heart of communities across New Hampshire, they need tools to boost their resilience moving forward. Reliable broadband is key to their success, particularly in rural parts of our state and country,” said Shaheen. “I’m reintroducing this bipartisan bill to improve SBA programs that expand access to broadband services, particularly in underserved and rural areas. This would build on the historic investments I helped secure as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law that will close the digital divide and improve the success of small businesses and families alike.”

The Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would:

  • Direct the SBA Office of Investment and Innovation to designate a senior employee to serve as the broadband and emerging information technology (BEIT) coordinator.
  • Provide SBA employees with BEIT training to help small businesses use such technologies.
  • Report on the SBA’s work related to broadband and other emerging information technologies.
  • Require the SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy to evaluate the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.
  • Authorize small business development centers to help businesses access and use BEIT.

The bill text is available here.

 

Watch the report here

MADISONVILLE, La. – A recent investigation has highlighted Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) work to make hospital prices clear to patients before they pursue treatment. InvestigateTV’s analysis found that, despite the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) attempt to make hospital prices clear to the public, many hospitals have not complied with the agency’s Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule.

The rule went into effect in 2021 and requires hospitals to share their pricing information online, yet many hospitals have not provided patients with straightforward access to pricing for routine services. Kennedy has authored a bill, the Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act, that would incentivize hospitals to share this information by doubling the current penalties for noncompliant hospitals to as much as $11,000 per day.

In the report, Kennedy criticizes CMS for failing to enforce the rule effectively and says the agency has the authority to penalize hospitals that are “playing games” with consumers.

“I’ve gone to these hospital websites. They either don’t post their prices, or it would take Dog the Bounty Hunter to find out where on their website they’ve posted it. You've got to click here and click there and click there, and then click there to get there, and then it’s written in a foreign language,” said Kennedy.

Background:

The Hospital Price Transparency Rule requires hospitals to establish and make public a list of the prices that hospitals charge for items and services. Hospitals must also display charges in a consumer-friendly manner. A February 2023 study of 2,000 hospitals found that only 489—or 24%—were fully compliant. 

In January 2022, the government implemented higher penalties on hospitals that fail to comply with the transparency rule. CMS requires non-compliant hospitals with 30 or fewer beds to pay a penalty of $300 per day, those with 31 to 550 beds to pay between $310 and $5,500 per day and those with more than 550 beds to pay $5,500 per day.

The Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act would: 

  • Double the current government penalties on non-compliant hospitals. Penalties would increase to $600 per day for hospitals with 30 or fewer beds, $620 to $11,000 per day for hospitals with 31 to 550 beds and $11,000 per day for hospitals with more than 550 beds. 
  • Require all hospitals to comply with the higher penalties within six months of the law’s passage.
  • Prohibit hospitals from shielding information on their websites using webpage coding.
  • Give non-compliant hospitals 60 days after notice of non-compliance to pay their monetary penalty.
  • Require CMS to publish the names of hospitals that have not complied.

Text of the Hospital Transparency Compliance Enforcement Act is available here.

Find the investigation’s report here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $17,687,490 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“Louisiana has been hit hard by storms in recent years, and this $17.7 million will help our people with some much-needed repairs,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $7,427,852 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for school facilities repairs resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $7,181,775 to the Greater Lafourche Port Commission for repairs to the Port Lafourche public boat launch resulting from Hurricane Zeta.
  • $3,077,863 to the Diocese of Houma Thibodaux for mold remediation in school buildings related to Hurricane Ida.