Media

MADISONVILLE, La. – The Senate has passed an anti-fentanyl trafficking bill that Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, helped champion. The Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act would combat the nation’s opioid crisis by targeting the supply chain from chemical suppliers in China to drug cartels in Mexico.

The FEND Off Fentanyl Act would reinforce current law and direct the Treasury Department to target, sanction and block the financial assets of transnational criminal organizations. 

“In New Orleans, 94 percent of overdose deaths now involve fentanyl. Mexican cartels are buying the chemicals to make this drug from China and trafficking it into our country through the southern border. The House must move quickly to pass this life saving legislation, which would cut off the drug flow at the source,” said Kennedy.  

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is leading the legislation. 

The legislation would:

  • Declare that the international trafficking of fentanyl is a national emergency.
  • Require the president to sanction transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels’ key members engaged in international fentanyl trafficking.
  • Enable the president to use proceeds of forfeited, sanctioned property of fentanyl traffickers to further law enforcement efforts.
  • Enhance the ability to enforce sanctions violations thereby making it more likely that people who defy U.S. law will be caught and prosecuted.
  • Require the administration to report to Congress on actions the U.S. government is taking to reduce the international trafficking of fentanyl and related opioids.
  • Allow the Treasury Department to utilize special measures to combat fentanyl-related money laundering.
  • Require the Treasury Department to prioritize fentanyl-related suspicious transactions and include descriptions of drug cartels’ financing actions in Suspicious Activity Reports.

MADISONVILLE, La. – The Senate has passed a pro-law enforcement bill that Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped champion. The Recruit and Retain Act would address the nation-wide shortage of law enforcement officers, increase recruitment and address workforce challenges.

The legislation would boost the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants to address onboarding costs and hiring challenges. The bill would create a new program encouraging partnerships between schools and police departments. That program would strengthen the hiring pipeline that connects students to law enforcement career opportunities.

“The Recruit and Retain Act offers a commonsense solution to police shortages in Louisiana and across the nation. This crucial bill will help communities hire more officers and support these public servants long term. With crime surging around the country, the House should send this to President Biden’s desk as soon as possible,” said Kennedy. 

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) co-led the legislation, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) are cosponsors, along with Kennedy.

The Recruit and Retain Act has received national endorsements from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs Association, R Street Institute and the Peace Officers Research Association of California. 

Text of the legislation is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $24,486,053 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.   

“This $24.5 million will make a difference for Louisianians in Jefferson and Jefferson Davis Parishes as they continue to recover from Hurricanes Ida and Laura,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $22,385,253 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for 138kV transmission line restoration as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,100,801 to the Jefferson Parish Public School System for repairs resulting from Hurricane Ida.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the Senate’s passing of the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act (FEPA) of 2023 as part of the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act.  

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sponsored the bill, and Sens. Tom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are original cosponsors, along with Kennedy.

“Our bipartisan bill would help protect Americans from bad actors in other countries who demand bribes as the price of doing business abroad. The Senate passed this long-overdue solution quickly, and the House should do the same so that American businesses can compete on a level, ethical playing field,” said Kennedy. 

This bill would protect U.S. firms from corrupt foreign officials because such officials often demand bribes as a prerequisite for doing business in their countries. The FEPA would make such demands illegal, which would ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in international contexts. 

Under the FEPA Act, penalties for soliciting bribes would include a fine of up to $250,000 or three times the value of the bribe (whichever is greater) and a prison sentence of up to 15 years.  

The FEPA would: 

  • Commission the Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute foreign officials who request or receive a bribe from a U.S. individual or corporation, or from any person while in U.S. territory.
  • Require that the DOJ issue an annual report that summarizes major enforcement actions, analyzes the effectiveness of efforts to shield U.S. businesses from bribery demands and addresses foreign governments’ efforts to prosecute people who solicit bribes from Americans.

 

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $29,799,944 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“This $29.8 million will help Louisianians in Jefferson Davis and Calcasieu Parishes and in southeast Louisiana recover from Hurricanes Laura and Ida,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $22,234,359 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for 69kV transmission line restoration as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,867,231 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for building repairs at R.W. Vincent Elementary School as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,911,840 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for building repairs at TS Cooley Elementary School as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,541,074 to the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (South Louisiana Electric) for damages to their underground Buquet electrical utility crossing as a result of Hurricane Ida.  
  • $1,245,440 to the Calcasieu Parish Voluntary Council on the Aging, Inc. for building replacement required as a result of Hurricane Laura.

 

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with all Republican Judiciary Committee members, including Ranking Member Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), urged Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to call on Attorney General Merrick Garland and U.S. Attorney David Weiss to testify regarding recent developments in the Hunter Biden tax investigation. 

The lawmakers are seeking answers to newly raised questions surrounding Weiss’s response to a previous letter sent by Graham, which sought clarification about whistleblower testimony.

“U.S. Attorney Weiss contends that the allegations in the FD-1023 ‘relate to an ongoing investigation.’ This raises further questions about the proposed terms of Hunter Biden's plea agreement and the scope of the ongoing investigation,” the senators wrote.

“In light of the foregoing discrepancies, both Attorney General Garland and U.S. Attorney Weiss must come before our Committee to clarify their statements regarding Mr. Weiss’s authority to charge in districts outside the District of Delaware. They must also explain what happened to the allegations that were provided to them in the FD-1023,” they continued.

“The seriousness of these developments cannot be overstated. The American people deserve the truth, and we have a responsibility to exercise our oversight authority to uncover the truth,” the lawmakers concluded.

The full letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $18,639,424 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“I am grateful for this $18.6 million, which will help Louisianians in Jefferson Davis and Jefferson Parishes recover from the damage of Hurricanes Laura and Ida,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following: 

  • $12,977,974 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative, Inc. for permanent restoration of damaged 138kV transmission lines as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $3,854,440 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative, Inc. for management costs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,807,010 to Jefferson Parish for debris removal and monitoring as a result of Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate with ample legislative wins for Louisiana communities and two bills Kennedy wrote to protect Americans from Communist China’s aggression. 

“Americans deserve to be protected by the world’s strongest, most capable troops, and our service members deserve to be well equipped. This bill raises their pay, funds key defense investments in Louisiana and takes significant steps to counter Chinese aggression,” said Kennedy. 

Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act

The NDAA included the Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act, which would combat Communist China’s aggression in the Pacific Ocean by establishing a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).  The PIF is an international organization of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations.

Beijing recognizes that these nations are strategically located in the Pacific Ocean and has already established a special envoy to the PIF. The U.S only recently appointed its own special envoy after Kennedy filed his original bill last year, but Kennedy’s legislation would make the position permanent and confirmed by the Senate. A special envoy would help answer a diversity of threats from the communist regime by deepening trust and increasing dialogue on the Pacific Islands’ economic, cyber security and military concerns.

Holding Foreign Insiders Accountable Act

The national defense legislation included Kennedy’s Holding Foreign Insiders Accountable Act, which would hold executives of foreign companies that are traded on U.S. stock exchanges to the same disclosure requirements that U.S.-based firms are required to follow. 

Insiders at companies in Beijing and Moscow have been able to avoid billions in losses on the U.S. stock exchange by playing by a different set of rules than Americans do. This insider trading comes at a cost to American investors. Kennedy’s amendment would help stop opportunistic insider trading by requiring foreign executives to disclose trades immediately.

Military construction priorities for Louisiana

Kennedy helped secure numerous wins for Louisiana in the NDAA, including:

  • $112 million for a weapons generation facility at Barksdale Air Force Base
  • $13.4 million for an athletic track and field at Fort Johnson
  • $7 million for a dormitory at Barksdale Air Force Base
  • $7 million for a medical facility at Barksdale Air Force Base
  • $6.4 million for a communications grid at Naval Air Station New Orleans
  • $3.7 million for a dormitory at Camp Minden
  • $2.4 million for a dormitory at Camp Beauregard
  • $2 million for a child development center at Barksdale Air Force Base
  • $2 million for a National Guard readiness center at Camp Beauregard

General defense wins

The NDAA:

  • Provides for a 5.2% pay raise for military service members.
  • Increases funding to recruit military service members.
  • Supports the modernization of the U.S. nuclear force.
  • Requires all military personnel action to be based on merit and performance. 
  • Authorizes increased funding for cutting-edge technology to make American weapons more effective and resilient against enemy attacks.
  • Supports requested funding to procure naval vessels, combat aircraft, armored vehicles, weapon systems and munitions.
  • Improves America’s capabilities for long-term strategic competition with China. 
  • Establishes a comprehensive training, advising and institutional capacity-building program for Taiwan’s military forces to help counter Chinese aggression.
  • Supports U.S. defense activities relating to the security partnership among Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUKUS, which also helps counter Chinese aggression. 
  • Authorizes increased funding for Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard operations.
  • Requires the DOD to prioritize basing, training, and exercises in NATO countries that achieve the goal of spending at least two percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.

WASHINGTON - Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $28,670,213 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana flood protection and disaster aid. 

“I am thankful for this $28.7 million, which will help protect homes and businesses from flood damage and support recovery efforts in southwest and southeast Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $17,035,265 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative, Inc. for permanent restoration of damaged 138kV transmission lines as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $5,996,726 to Beauregard Electrical Cooperative Power distribution repairs as a result of Hurricane Delta.
  • $2,225,697 to the Southwest Louisiana Hospital Association for the Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,135,490 to fund the elevation of 11 residential properties located throughout Jefferson Parish to mitigate flood risk.
  • $1,277,035 to fund the elevation of seven structures in Terrebonne Parish to mitigate flood risk.

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats today blocked Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to prohibit allocations of special drawing rights at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from going to perpetrators of genocide and state sponsors of terrorism unless Congress authorizes the allocation.

“The Biden administration shouldn’t be able to force U.S. taxpayers to line the pockets of Xi Jinping and other American adversaries. President Biden already green-lit a deal that bankrolled China and Iran.

“Congress is responsible for stewarding taxpayer money, and this amendment would have stopped the Biden administration from making an end run around the Constitution on behalf of the world’s worst dictators. Oppressive, hostile regimes work to undermine America’s safety and success every day, but the White House and Senate Democrats shouldn’t be helping them,” said Kennedy. 

President Biden previously agreed to a general allocation of special drawing rights at the IMF totaling $650 billion without consent from Congress. Large portions of that allocation flowed to dictators and countries that actively oppose American interests and violate human rights.

Background

The IMF distributes special drawing rights according to each country’s economic standing in the global economy. That means the world’s wealthiest countries received the most special drawing rights of all IMF members regardless of their hostility towards the U.S. or American interests. 

In August 2021, the IMF doled out more money in one general allocation than ever before. The $650 billion outlay of IMF special drawing rights, which are backed by the U.S. Treasury, sent money to America’s enemies. Iran gained access to about $4.5 billion through the deal, and China had a windfall of $40 billion. 

Text of Kennedy’s amendment is here.