Dec 11 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Hazardous Materials Safety Improvement Act of 2019 today to ensure that rail shippers and tank car owners aren’t subjected to costly and unfair regulatory burdens because of a usurping of federal authority. Outside groups are trying to circumvent the federal rulemaking process without conducting a comprehensive safety assessment or a cost benefit analysis to protect the public.
The legislation requires the administrator of the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to respond to petitions for regulatory action within 18 months and makes it clear the response supersedes a decision by outside groups. The proposal is supported by the American Chemistry Council, tank car builders and tank car shippers.
“Tank car owners and shippers are under constant threat from regulatory burdens that leave them financially strapped. These burdens are job killers,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Department of Transportation’s exclusive authority to set standards for hazardous materials is being usurped by outside groups. My legislation puts DOT back in charge.”
“Sen. Kennedy’s bill will bring much needed urgency and clarity to how the federal government addresses the transportation of hazardous materials. Simply put, this legislation will require PHMSA to act quicker on regulatory requests and will help the administration be more agile when it comes to safeguarding the shipment of hazardous materials,” said Chris John, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council. “Equally important, the bill will also reaffirm the Department of Transportation as the final authority when it comes to establishing regulations and standards that govern the safe movement of hazardous materials. We appreciate Sen. Kennedy’s leadership on helping PHMSA to act quicker on regulatory requests and urge his colleagues to support this important legislation.”
Dec 05 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) delivered a speech on the Senate floor today thanking Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), for fighting for the American people and recommending a public auction of the C-band spectrum needed for 5G.
The FCC was considering a closed-door private sale instead of the public auctions it typically conducts. Two weeks ago Chairman Pai announced the FCC will conduct a public auction of the valuable C-band spectrum. The private auction would have allowed foreign companies to profit from the spectrum sale and lacked transparency.
Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s floor speech.
Highlights from the Speech:
Benefit of a Public Auction: “Doing a public auction is nothing new for the FCC. The FCC auctions off different airwaves all the time. In fact, the FCC in the last 25 years has held right around 100 public auctions … The good people at the FCC have brought in to the American taxpayers about $123 billion in the last 25 years by auctioning off these airwaves and giving everybody a fair chance, in a fully transparent way, in front of God and country.”
Fighting for a Public Auction: “A lot of swamp creatures were pushing hard for a private sale. The American taxpayers would not only have lost $60 billion, we would have lost control of the C-band … We can’t let our guard down. I’ve learned in my short three years that those swamp creatures, if they can’t get in the front door, they’re going to try to get in the side door. And if they can’t make it through the side door, they’re going to try the back door. We’ve got a lot of money at stake here, so we’ve got to remain vigilant.”
Chairman Pai’s Leadership: “I want to thank Ajit Pai for standing up. He made the right people mad. That’s easy to talk about, but hard to do. It takes courage.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the recent shootings in New Orleans:
“I just spoke with Mayor Cantrell. I offered to contact FBI Director Christopher Wray for any additional resources she needs to catch the killers who disrupted an otherwise beautiful weekend in New Orleans,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We need to work together to keep our city and our state safe.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $1.5 million FEMA grant for Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College near Covington to fund repairs to Benet Hall. The hall was among 31 buildings damaged at the historic campus by flooding in 2016.
“The 2016 flooding was devastating to Saint Joseph Abbey. This grant will help the college rebuild and continue its mission to educate religious leaders and serve the community,” said Sen. Kennedy.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $5.5 million Department of Transportation grant to construct a terminal building at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Since taking office in 2017, Sen. Kennedy has helped secure more than $54 million in grants for repairs, renovations and additions at Lafayette Regional Airport.
“Lafayette is a growing city, and the airport needs to grow with it,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The Lafayette Regional Airport is used by people from all over the world, and this grant will help the airport continue to serve all the folks flying to and from Lafayette.”
“The robust economy is enabling more passengers to travel by air so this Administration is investing billions of dollars in America’s airports which will address safer operations, fewer airport delays, and greater ease of travel for air travelers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Nov 21 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) subcommittee hearing chaired by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today, federal officials confirmed that an auction of C-Band spectrum can be completed by the end of 2020. This confirmation eliminates concerns that a private sale needs to be held because a public auction would take years to coordinate.
Sen. Kennedy has been a strong advocate for a public auction of the C-Band spectrum needed to deliver 5G technology to the American people. Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the FCC will conduct a public auction of the C-Band spectrum, instead of a closed-door private auction. At today’s hearing, the FCC’s Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology Julius Knapp and Acting Chief of the Office of Economics and Analytics Giulia McHenry confirmed that the FCC is fully capable of commencing and completing the C-Band auction by the end of 2020.
Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s opening statement.
C-Band Potential Litigation: “There’s $60 billion at stake here, maybe less but not much less. It’s been my experience when government makes a decision that you get sued anyway. If somebody’s happy and somebody’s sad, you’re going to get sued, and I fully expect whatever the FCC does, private or public auction, you’re going to get sued, but good luck finding a federal judge who’s going to issue an injunction and is going to shut this down. I think that the case law in my opinion is on the FCC’s side.”
C-Band’s 5G capabilities: “… the FCC, for some time, has been deliberating how best to allocate the C-Band, 3.7 gigahertz to 4.2 gigahertz. We have discovered it will be very valuable for fifth generation wireless technology because it can reach a large geographical area and carry lots and lots of data.”
Impact on Rural Communities: “Last night I introduced a bill, a competing bill, that will require the FCC to hold a public auction of the C-Band spectrum. It would allow for no less than 200 megahertz and no more than 300 megahertz of C-band spectrum to be auctioned off. It would ensure … that incumbent C-Band users will be protected. My bill will direct that all of the money goes to the United States Treasury and that $10 billion of the funds be specifically set aside to build out and maintain rural broadband infrastructure in unserved rural communities.”
C-band ownership: “My understanding is that the current users of the C-band paid no money for it. They do not have a license. I’m not sure of the exact legal term that gives them the right, the privilege rather, to use the C-Band auction, but I liken it to a 30 day month-to-month lease. And I think the property right here is something that we should address.”
The Public Auction Timeline: “The chairman has announced that he expects a commission vote on the public auction early next year, and we are planning to conduct a fair and transparent auction while preserves that upper 200 megahertz of this band for the continued delivery of programming,” said Ms. McHenry. “We are confident we can commence this auction before the end of 2020.”
Nov 20 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), announced today that U.S. Attorney David Joseph has been nominated by President Trump to be an Alexandria-based judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
“David is smart and incredibly experienced. He is an ideal candidate for the U.S. District Court,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I look forward to working with him during the confirmation process.”
“David Joseph’s extensive experience and knowledge of the law make him a perfect nominee for the bench,” said Sen. Cassidy. “I look forward to his confirmation.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined S.1838, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, to support the fight for democracy in Hong Kong. The bill calls for anyone who violates human rights in Hong Kong to be sanctioned and barred from entering the U.S. It had more than 50 cosponsors in the Senate.
The bill also requires an annual report to Congress on whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from China. The report must address a number of issues, including civil liberties in Hong Kong.
“China’s reaction to the protests in Hong Kong was a huge mistake. China’s President Xi Jinping is destroying an economic jewel and inviting the world to see how he governs. He’s an authoritarian despot,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill makes it clear that China needs to change the way it deals with Hong Kong.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed the Clearing Broad Airwaves for New Deployment (C-Band) Act today to ensure that at least $10 billion of the proceeds from a public auction of C-Band spectrum will be invested in rural broadband infrastructure.
Sen. Kennedy successfully convinced the Federal Communications Commission to hold a public auction for the C-Band spectrum needed to deliver 5G technology that will make driverless cars, remote surgeries and other innovations possible. This is a win for the American taxpayers because the alternative was a private sale that would only benefit foreign satellite companies.
The Clearing Broad Airwaves for New Deployment (C-Band) Act builds on the benefit to the American taxpayers by ensuring the public auction will be held and directing not less than $10 billion of the proceeds to go toward rural broadband infrastructure. The rest of the proceeds will be deposited into the U.S. Treasury.
“5G means incredibly fast internet and phone calls. We’ll notice it in our iPads, computers and cellphones. These radio waves can go a long distance and carry a huge amount of data,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Everyone should benefit, even if they live 100 miles from the nearest Starbucks and stadium-size supermarket. Too often, people in rural areas have to wait a long time for the latest technology. My bill will ensure that much needed investments are made.”
Sens. Kennedy, Menendez Introduce Legislation to Bolster Protections against Cybercrime Fraud for Small Businesses
Nov 19 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation that will extend protections against fraudulent and unauthorized transactions to small businesses. The Small Business Fraud Protection Act will extend the period small businesses have to report fraudulent transactions without being held liable from 24 hours to 60 days. According to CNBC, cybercrime has become one of the fastest growing forms of criminal activity, with 43% of cybercrimes aimed at small businesses.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “They employ 53% of our private sector workforce. Unfortunately, we’re not protecting these economic engines from fraud like we should. We only give businesses 24 hours to report suspected financial wrongdoing by cybercriminals. We’re giving the criminal the upper hand. That changes with this bill.”
“The small mom and pop shops along New Jersey’s Main Streets keep our economy alive and flourishing,” said Sen. Menendez. “Whether it’s a shop along one of our boardwalks or in one of our bustling downtown districts, small businesses deserve to be protected from fraud. After one of my constituents brought this issue to my attention several months ago, I knew something had to be done to better protect small businesses. I’m proud to introduce this commonsense piece of legislation and look forward to it becoming law.”
The Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) currently protects individual consumers from unauthorized electronic activity by allowing consumers to report fraud up to 60 days after the suspicious activity. Small businesses, however, are not protected under the EFTA and only have 24 hours to report fraud without being held responsible for the entire unauthorized transaction. The Small Business Fraud Protection Act levels the playing field by extending the same fraud protections afforded to individuals under the EFTA’s consumer liability section to include small businesses.
The bill is inspired by a real-life experience. Benjamin Zinckgraf, president of Zinckgraf Electrical Contractors, LLC, a small business based in Mt. Arlington, N.J., noticed a nearly $100 unauthorized transaction in his business checking account. When Mr. Zinckgraf contacted his bank and filed a fraud report, he was told that since he didn’t report it within 24 hours of the transaction, they were unable to conduct an investigation and he would be held liable for the cost. He contacted Sen. Menendez’s Newark office to see if current laws could be changed to better protect small business owners.
“The Small Business Fraud Protection Act is a move in the right direction. It will help protect our assets against the rise of cybercrime. At minimum it will give small businesses adequate time to report an issue, which is very much needed for busy Americans,” said Benjamin Zinckgraf. “I would like to thank Senator Menendez and his dedicated team for pushing this piece of legislation through. It’s always good to know our politicians are on our side.”
“Small businesses are a growing and increasingly profitable target of cybercriminals, and bank account hacks cost small businesses on-average $32,020 per incident. It is a huge oversight that the banking accounts of America’s smallest businesses aren’t fully protected against fraud and online theft,” said National Small Business Association President and CEO Todd McCracken. “This important legislation will close that loophole.”
"Small businesses deserve the same protections from fraud and unauthorized transactions as consumers," said Amanda Ballantyne, Executive Director of the Main Street Alliance. "Extending the Electronic Fund Transfer Act's consumer protections to small businesses will give small businesses the time needed to identify and act against fraud, an important resource as cyber security and other financial threats are on the rise."