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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) attached an amendment to H.R.5895, the minibus appropriations legislation, which aims to prevent wait times from continuing to increase at veterans clinics and facilities in Louisiana.   Specifically, the amendment says that “None of the funds made available in this act may be used in a manner that would increase wait times for veterans who seek care at medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”  Wait times at VA clinics in Louisiana are as high as 42 days.  Currently, the VA clinics in Pineville, Leesville, Lake Charles and Shreveport are experiencing the longest wait times.

“In Louisiana the average wait time for veterans to receive care at a VA clinic is 18 days,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “That is just plain unacceptable.  We have to do better for the men and women who served our country.  It’s a sad way to run government that my amendment has to be put into words and isn’t just common sense.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) applauded the Trump Administration today for nominating Dr. John C. Fleming to be the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development.

“I can think of no better candidate than Dr. Fleming for the role of assistant secretary of commerce for economic development,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “John is a skilled physician and an experienced entrepreneur who has done it all.  He’s treated patients, built companies, served his country and been elected to Congress.  He’s also a great guy.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today attached an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act which would prohibit taxpayer money from being used to pay for first-class airline tickets for federal government employees. This prohibition would apply to cabinet secretaries and assistant secretaries as well as to senior and junior staff members.  The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Commerce found that federal employees have been misusing allowable upgrades to ride first class in 56% of cases. 

“Between 2012 and 2014, government employees spent an extra $1 million in taxpayer dollars to fly first class.  That is an unacceptable waste of taxpayer money.  Government workers shouldn’t travel like the champagne and caviar crowd on the taxpayers’ dime,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My amendment makes it clear that no one, including an agency head, should fly first class on the taxpayers’ dime.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), applauded President Trump’s nomination of Peter Strasser for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  Mr. Strasser, a retired Navy Reserve captain, JAGC, is currently a partner at Chaffe McCall, LLP in New Orleans.  He previously served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

“Mr. Strasser is a sound choice for U.S. attorney of the Eastern District,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “He has a wealth of legal experience and can smoothly transition into the job.  I look forward to hearing Mr. Strasser’s testimony during the nominations hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“Strasser is an excellent pick for this position and he will serve Louisiana and our country well,” said Dr. Cassidy. “His extensive experience, including years spent as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Orleans, should ensure a smooth transition and I look forward to voting for his confirmation.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after President Trump signed an executive order to keep migrant families together at the border:

“President Trump recognized that we need to do what’s in the best interest of the children.  Clearly, what’s in the best interest of the children is to allow them to remain with their parents,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “At the same time, we’re in this situation because people are trying to jump the line and come into this country illegally.  We cannot let them jump the line, but we can enforce the law without separating children from their parents.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted in favor of a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would give Louisiana troops their largest pay raise in a decade. 

The NDAA authorizes a total of $716 billion for our nation’s military.  This bill would give the military, including 30,000 members in Louisiana, the largest pay raise in nearly 10 years.

“We have 30,000 troops in Louisiana.  Whether they’re at Fort Polk, Barksdale Air Force Base, New Orleans or Chalmette, they deserve our unyielding support and respect,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “They sacrifice everything so that the rest of us can sleep a little bit better at night.  A bump in pay is the least we can do for them.”

Sen. Kennedy’s additions to the NDAA include:

Sen. Kennedy secured language in the NDAA that asks the Air Force for a report and timeline for construction and sequencing of the Weapons Storage Area (WSA) at Barksdale Air Force Base.  A designated storage area at Barksdale is imperative to safely hold nuclear weapons and continue Barksdale’s growth and economic presence in the region.  Sen. Kennedy has been a major advocate for this facility and has pressed the Air Force for essential information and an expedited timeline on the construction and installment process of the WSA. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that Louisiana is eligible to receive $11.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to fight opioid addiction.   Among other things, the funds will be used to support treatment and to reduce deaths from opioid-related overdoses.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Kennedy has fought for funding to address the opioid crisis in Louisiana.  Last year, the state received $8.1 million.

“Opioid addiction is destroying families in every income bracket across Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It’s an epidemic that is absolutely breathtaking in its scope.  In 2016 alone, nearly 350 people died in Louisiana from opioid-related overdoses.  We’ve buried enough people.  Hopefully, this money will help us conquer addiction and rebuild families.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  The Congressional Budget Office projects that the legislation, which Sen. Kennedy co-sponsored, could save taxpayers $3.8 billion by increasing competition among generic drug manufacturers and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.  Shreveport is home to Dr. Reddy’s, Louisiana’s only generic drug manufacturing facility.

 “Too many Louisianans struggle to afford their daily medications.  This is especially true for senior citizens on fixed incomes and people battling serious illnesses.  Paying for daily medications shouldn’t be a financial strain,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We need to work on lowering drug costs for people who are taking them as prescribed for legitimate health problems while continuing to battle the opioid addiction crisis.”

“We're pleased and grateful for Senator Kennedy's leadership in the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers that has worked so hard to move the CREATES act forward," Alok Sonig, Dr. Reddy’s Chief Executive Officer (US) for Developed Markets. "The legislation if passed will allow the FDA to approve generic drugs faster and prevent the anti-competitive tactics of some brand-name drug companies that keep prices artificially high.  When drug companies withhold drug samples from generic manufacturers, the opportunity to create competition dies." 

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“Kim Jong Un did not come to the table out of the goodness of his heart.  He came to the table because he understands that for the first time in a long time, America means what it says and that a military option is on the table.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate this morning about the historic Singapore Summit between U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Click here to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full speech. 

First Step: “I would like to thank President Trump for a successful summit with Kim Jong Un.  It’s a beginning, it’s a baby step, but it’s an important step and I thank President Trump for taking it.”

Coming to the Table: “Kim Jong Un did not come to the table out of the goodness of his heart.  He came to the table because he understands that for the first time in a long time, America means what it says and that a military option is on the table.”

Successful Start: “I would like to thank President Trump today, on behalf of all Americans who believe in peace, for the successful start to what I hope is a successful relationship with North Korea.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R. La) announced today that the Senate Appropriations Committee added an additional $74 million for Louisiana road and transportation projects in the annual transportation funding bill.  The funding levels approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee would provide an estimated $814 million for Louisiana next year from the Federal Highway Trust fund.   

The bill now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.

“Too many of Louisiana’s roads are axle-breaking insults to modern civilization,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Our roads are also too congested, leading to tragedies like the Memorial Day weekend accident that claimed four lives near Covington.  With a 10% increase in our federal highway funding level, we can get started on making the daily commute safer.”

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