WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the senate floor about the rise in crime in Louisiana and across the country.
Key excerpts from his remarks include:
“In my state, and in my city of New Orleans, we have seen a 136 percent rise in homicides, a 101 percent rise in shootings and a 194 percent rise in carjackings.
“And this is not just a Louisiana and New Orleans problem.”
. . .
“This is no coincidence. For almost two years now . . . some people in positions of authority in our country have been calling to defund the police, to dismantle the police and they have been disrespecting the police.
“Many of our public officials, not all of them, but some happen to be mayors in major cities, they believe that cops are a bigger problem than criminals.”
. . .
“We also have prosecutors—district attorneys—not all of them, but too many of them, who live by the motto ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, and prosecute no evil’—and we can now see the result of that attitude. It’s an anti-law enforcement attitude, Mr. President.”
. . .
“The American people want and deserve better.
“What should we do? Number one, we have to empower our cops.”
. . .
“We need to empower those that abide by their oath because they’re the ones keeping our communities safe.”
Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $69,021,705 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“This $69 million will help Louisiana communities and campuses rebuild and recover from the blows that Hurricanes Laura and Ida dealt us,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $2,766,901 to the city of Sulphur for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,093,213 to Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs at the Sulphur High School’s campus related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,921,822 to Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs at the LeBlanc Middle School’s campus related to Hurricane Laura.
- $ 1,438,724 to Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs at the Sam Houston High School campus related to Hurricane Laura.
- $ 4,123,898 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs at the Curriculum & Instruction Tech Center campus related to Hurricane Laura.
- $ 2,798,637 to Lafourche Parish Hospital Service District #1 for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $ 37,907,712 to St. Tammany Parish for debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
- $ 1,597,016 to the city of Gretna for Public Assistance Alternate Procedures (PAAP) and debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
- $ 14,305,571 to Lafourche Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $ 1,068,211 to the city of Harahan for Public Assistance Alternate Procedures (PAAP) and debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Returning American Manufacturing Potential (RAMP) Act to bolster domestic manufacturing and support American companies.
The legislation expands on The Buy American Act of 1993, which requires the federal government to prefer domestic articles, materials and supplies in its purchases.
“Choosing foreign manufacturing over American kills jobs and hurts U.S. job creators. The RAMP act ensures that buying American-made products is our first choice, not our last,” said Kennedy.
The RAMP Act requires that at least 60 percent of the value of the components of products that the federal government purchases be made in the U.S. The current requirement is that only 55 percent of the components’ value come from American-made resources.
Under the bill, the requirement will increase to 65 percent by 2024 and 75 percent by 2029. Additionally, the bill establishes price preferences for domestic goods that the federal government designates as critical to U.S. supply chains.
Text of the legislation is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in introducing the Cell Phone Jamming Reform Act to combat the use of contraband cellphones in federal and state prison facilities. This bill would allow state and federal prisons to use cellphone jamming technology to disrupt the signals of contraband cellphones.
“Contraband cellphones have helped prisoners coordinate drug trafficking, smuggling schemes and business deals all from the confines of their cells. State and federal correctional facilities need ‘cellphone blockers’ to better protect inmates, correctional officers and the general public,” said Kennedy.
Contraband cellphones are widespread among prisoners in both federal and state prison facilities. Inmates have used these cellphones to conduct illegal activities including ordering murders outside of prison walls, running illegal drug operations, conducting illicit business deals, facilitating sex trafficking and organizing prison escapes.
The Cell Phone Jamming Reform Act would:
- Allow state and federal prisons to use jamming systems to interfere with cellphone signals within the housing facilities of prison inmates.
- Require the state or federal facility that implements a jamming system to report such use to the Bureau of Prisons, which will have the ultimate authority over the system, and notify local law enforcement before implementing the technology.
- Allow prison facilities to choose from a broad category of jamming technology, while not requiring that facilities use specific types of technology. Such choices of technology would include managed access technology, surgical jamming technology, beacon technology or any future technology that would curb the use of contraband cellphones.
Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) previously introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
The text of the bill is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Preventing Malign Chinese Influence on Academic Institutions Act to increase transparency for schools that accept monetary gifts from Communist China.
“The Chinese Communist Party has been targeting our universities for a long time, and Americans deserve to know whether their schools are yoking themselves to such an oppressive, aggressive regime. This bill would shine a light on where Beijing is peddling its influence on the U.S. campuses that shape the minds and hearts of America’s next generation,” said Kennedy.
Under Kennedy’s bill, any educational institution that receives more than $5,000 from a Chinese-affiliated entity in any given year would have to disclose the full name of the donor to the Department of Education. The school would also have to provide instructions on how the Department of Education can gather more information about the donation.
Chinese-affiliated entities would include individuals; universities; think tanks; cultural, educational or language programs; Chinese state-owned entities; or companies, think tanks or nonprofits that have members of the Chinese Communist Party sitting on their boards of directors.
The bill would also require any institution that interacts with a Chinese organization to disclose all joint activities, including exchanges or research.
In addition, institutions would have to publish all contracts and agreements with Chinese entities on their websites so that the public can access that information.
Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is infiltrating American universities and using creative avenues to steal intellectual property and U.S. research. This legislation increases transparency by requiring universities who receive funding from CCP-affiliated individuals or organizations to disclose these donations to the U.S. Department of Education and publish them on a publicly-available website. Americans deserve a clear picture of the CCP’s malign activities in our universities. I am grateful to Senator Kennedy for his leadership on this issue, and am proud to work with him in getting it signed into law,” said Pfluger.
Full text of the legislation is available here.
Kennedy introduces bipartisan U.S. and Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act to combat communist aggression in the Pacific
Jul 28 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the U.S. and Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act to combat Communist China’s aggression in the Pacific. The legislation would establish a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) is an original cosponsor of this legislation.
“How America conducts diplomacy in the Pacific has been a long-term challenge, and we’re out of time to talk about strategic solutions without implementing them. China is putting more economic and diplomatic pressure on the Pacific Island states each day, and one of the clearest and easiest steps that Congress can take to counter this communist antagonism is to establish a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum,” said Kennedy.
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., however, has not taken this or an equivalent diplomatic step to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with these important Pacific Island countries.
The special envoy role would require Senate confirmation. It would elevate diplomacy in the region and have accountability to Congress. 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.
Text of the legislation is available here.
WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with key provisions for Louisiana that Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) successfully negotiated into the bill.
“The measures we successfully worked to include in WRDA would help finish crucial projects in our state sooner and help restore important habitats in south Louisiana. I hope Congress sends this bill to the president’s desk soon so that the Corps can get to work on more key Louisiana projects,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy fought to include in WRDA several measures that would expedite Army Corps of Engineers projects in Louisiana and a provision that would substantially reduce Louisiana’s cost share to perform ecosystem restoration in areas degraded by the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) navigation channel.
The MRGO navigation channel was closed after Hurricane Katrina, but the habitats the channel damaged have not yet been restored. Louisiana normally covers 35 percent of the cost of Corps of Engineers projects while the federal government covers 65 percent. The WRDA provision that Kennedy helped negotiate increases the federal share of restoring the MRGO to 90 percent of the project’s cost.
Other Kennedy victories in WRDA include directing the Corps of Engineers to:
- Resume operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the Algiers Canal Levees at full federal expense.
- Prioritize the Louisiana Coastal Area Project.
- Expedite completion of studies for coastal storm risk management in St. Tammany Parish and south-central coastal Louisiana.
- Mandate a low-cost, environmentally-friendly plan to dispose of dredged material as part of the Port Fourchon Belle Pass Channel Deepening Project. This plan could allow Louisiana to start this project sooner than alternative plans and would allow the state to use the dredged material to create additional wetlands.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in introducing the Combatting Violent and Dangerous Crime Act to fight the surge in crime by reforming the criminal code and clarifying existing law. The legislation aims to help law enforcement better prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes.
“Murder, carjacking, kidnapping and other violent crime are on the rise in major cities across our country. We cannot afford to let criminals off the hook when they choose crime and violence. This bill would help law enforcement get dangerous predators off our streets and away from innocent Americans,” said Kennedy.
“Crime is skyrocketing in communities across the country. Carjackings, homicides, attacks on law enforcement are all up. We have a duty to ensure that penalties for federal offenses serve as a deterrent and that any ambiguity from split court decisions is rectified so that perpetrators can be held accountable. This bill includes a number of small fixes that will go a long way in improving justice and preventing future crimes. Unfortunately, we don’t yet have bipartisan support to advance these modest, but meaningful, reforms. American communities are suffering under a scourge of lawlessness, so I hope we get some cooperation soon and I’ll keep reaching across the aisle to get it,” said Grassley.
Notable reforms in the bill include:
- Bank robbery
- Updates the definition of “attempted bank robbery” to clarify that the statute punishes ordinary “attempts” at bank robbery. This means that the offender intended to commit bank robbery and took a “substantial step” toward carrying out that intent.
- Adds a new “conspiracy” offense to allow for the prosecution of criminals who conspired with others to commit bank robbery.
- Deadly crimes
- Removes the common law year-and-a-day limitation on indictments for federal crimes that result in the death of the victim since many victims survive their attacks thanks to modern medicine yet still succumb to their injuries more than one year later.
- Vehicular homicide (carjacking)
- Reduces the burden for prosecutors who can prove the offender took the vehicle by violence or intimidation by striking the “intent” requirement.
- Creates a conspiracy to commit carjacking offense, which applies the same penalty as offenders who carry out the offense.
- Increases the statutory maximum imprisonment term for carjacking from 15 to 20 years as well as the penalty for offenders who use dangerous weapons to carry out a carjacking.
- Candy-flavored drugs
- Enhances penalties for marketing candy-flavored controlled substances to minors.
- Clarifies that federal kidnapping charges can apply to non-violent abductions, including abductions by deception.
Text of the legislation is available here.
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and six colleagues today urged David Maurstad, the Senior Executive of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to explain the Risk Rating 2.0 pricing methodology for NFIP premiums.
“Thus far, insufficient data has been disclosed in order to adequately evaluate Risk Rating 2.0 and make judgements about how to address FEMA’s implementation of premiums in a reauthorization bill,” the senators wrote.
“To improve public understanding and assessment of Risk Rating 2.0, and to achieve our essential transparency objectives in support of our evaluation of current NFIP practices and issues to be addressed in reauthorization legislation, we ask that FEMA publish all the datasets, programs, models, simulations, complete regression model outputs for rating factors, including associated confidence intervals, and inputs and outputs, including all the data and methods described in FEMA’s ‘Risk Rating 2.0 Methodology and Data Sources, January 18, 2022,’” they continued.
The senators also request that FEMA answer questions on the NFIP and the Biden administration’s legislative proposal to change and reauthorize the program and that the information be made available online within 60 days.
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) also signed the letter.
The full letter is available here.
Jul 27 2022
WASHINGTON – The National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition has named Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) its Senator of the Year for his support of its mission to fight illegal drugs by equipping narcotics officers and task forces with key resources.
“Illegal drugs have become an extremely destructive force in America today, hurting our communities and our men and women serving on the front lines. The National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition works tirelessly to protect our communities from the consequences of drug abuse, drug trafficking and violent crime. It’s an incredible honor to support these law enforcement agents and to receive this award,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy’s DUMP Opioids Act became law this year and allows everyone in a community to use drop boxes at Veterans Affairs medical centers to dispose of unused controlled substance prescription medications.
In 2021, Kennedy introduced the Ending the Fentanyl Crisis Act, which would increase the legal penalties for fentanyl traffickers in proportion to the drug’s potency and make it harder for drug dealers to circulate the substance.
The same year, he introduced the Tourism District Protection Act to empower local police in tourist areas to combat crime and use funding through the Edward R. Byrne Grant Program.
In 2020, Kennedy helped secure almost $3 million to help Louisiana State Police combat opioid abuse.
In 2019, Kennedy helped secure a $11.7 million grant to help Louisiana understand and prevent opioid overdoses.