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WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Better Collaboration, Accountability, and Regulatory Enforcement (CARE) for Animals Act to protect livestock and other animals from abuse by strengthening law enforcement’s ability to penalize abusers.  

“Far too often, researchers, breeders and dealers mistreat animals. I’m proud to help introduce the Better CARE for Animals Act to ensure that law enforcement has the authority to punish people who have a hand in the mishandling of animals and rescue these creatures from dangerous environments,” said Kennedy.

 “This bipartisan measure gives DOJ the tools it needs to hold animal abusers accountable. Civil penalties and suspensions of abusers’ licenses will give the Animal Welfare Act the strength and enforcement it needs to protect animals and keep them out of harm’s way. Mistreatment and neglect has no place in our society. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this bicameral effort,” said Blumenthal. 

Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) are leading the legislation in the House of Representatives.

“The Better CARE for Animals Act provides for important animal protections, encourages stronger collaboration between departments, and empowers our law enforcement to combat abusers. As a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, I’m proud to support this legislation and advocate for the better treatment of innocent animals,” said Reschenthaler.

“When shocking AWA violations at the Envigo breeding facility came to light, DOJ acted. In the process, they helped thousands of animals avoid further mistreatment. As we saw with the Envigo case, DOJ has proven their effectiveness and should be provided equal authority to USDA to hold bad actors accountable. This legislation will support them in their mission of protecting innocent animals and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act,” said Quigley. 

The Better CARE for Animals Act would:

  • Strengthen the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ability to enforce the Animal Welfare Act by clarifying that the DOJ has the same authority that the U.S. Department of Agriculture wields under the Animal Welfare Act, including the ability to seek license suspensions, revocations and civil penalties.
  • Expand on the Animal Welfare Act by granting the DOJ forfeiture authority to seize and remove animals experiencing harmful treatment.

Full text of the Better CARE for Animals Act is available here

View Kennedy’s comments here. 

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats today blocked an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) helped lead. Based on Kennedy’s Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act, the amendment would establish a Lead Inspector General (IG) for Ukraine.

The Lead IG’s office would oversee the humanitarian, economic and security assistance funding that the U.S. Congress has provided to the country and make sure that the funds are appropriately spent.

“This money didn’t fall from heaven. It came out of people’s pocket. How can we possibly look the American people in the eye and say that we don’t want to assure them that this money will not be stolen? That’s all this bill does,” explained Kennedy on the Senate floor.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) led the legislation, and Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are all original co-sponsors of the amendment.

American taxpayers deserve to know that their money is helping Ukraine defeat Putin effectively. Congress needs to guarantee that oversight, but Democrats refused tonight. This taxpayer investment is too big to relegate

to the normal bureaucratic channels within the Defense Department or State Department. It demands an inspector general with a singular focus on America’s return on investment in Ukraine,” Kennedy said after the vote.

The amendment would also ensure that members of Congress can access all classified reports from the Lead IG’s office and requires the IG to brief any committee or member within 15 days of the request. This provision would make dilatory behavior a violation of the law when it comes to members’ getting access to the Lead IG.

The amendment requires that all part-time Ukraine IG personnel work on Ukraine oversight full-time.

It includes an independent assessment to review whether the Lead IG responsibilities are negatively impacting an IG’s other duties. This independent assessment would also explicitly look at whether a Special IG, as Kennedy has advocated forpreviously, is more appropriate for Ukraine oversight. 

View Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today applauded the Senate’s passage of S. Con. Res. 14, a resolution to reaffirm the U.S.’ support for Israel. 

“The rise in antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments from members of Congress is disgraceful. Israel is a friend to America, and I am glad to see that so many lawmakers agree that there is no room for bigotry against Israelis or Jewish-Americans in the United States or our government,” said Kennedy. 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) led the resolution.

“I’m pleased that a bipartisan group of my colleagues supported this resolution upholding that Israel is not a racist state, that Congress rejects any form of antisemitism, and that America will always be a staunch supporter of Israel. It is unfortunate that Democrat attacks on Israel necessitated Congress passing this legislation,” said Cotton. 

The Senate resolved that:

  • The State of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state.
  • Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia.
  • The U.S. will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) also cosigned this resolution.  

Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) led this resolution in the House of Representatives.

WASHINGTON - Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $71,237,692 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“I’m glad to see that this $71.2 million will support Louisianians’ recovery efforts in Jefferson and Terrebonne Parishes and elsewhere, especially as communities are still rebuilding after Hurricanes Ida and Laura,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $40,422,521 to the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for line and facility repairs as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $15,106,751 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative, Inc. for repairs to a damaged 138 kV transmission system as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $12,159,663 to Terrebonne Parish School Board for a building replacement at Grand Caillou Elementary as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $3,548,757 to Jefferson Parish for private property debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Ida.
Watch Kennedy’s full exchange here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today raised questions about the fairness of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act’s (GOMESA) limits on revenue that Louisiana can receive.  

Kennedy and Louisiana’s Gov. John Bel Edwards, a witness at the hearing, agreed on the necessity of passing the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act, which would reform GOMESA to lift the current revenue cap that unfairly penalizes Louisiana.

“Do you think it's fair [that] we get 37.5 percent of offshore oil royalties under GOMESA? New Mexico gets 50 percent share from the federal government . . . Wyoming gets 50 percent, North Dakota gets 50 percent. We get 37.5 percent, and we’ve got to share it with four other states,” said Kennedy.

“And it's capped at $375 million . . . ” replied Edwards.

“All we're asking is to be treated like everybody else, aren't we . . . and we have a solution, don't we?” Kennedy continued. 

“We do,” Edwards confirmed, commending the RISEE Act, the “wonderful piece of legislation” that Kennedy helped introduce and has long advocated for.

“I appreciate your work on that,” Edwards added.

“Well, to be blunt: We've proven we can use the money well, and we put our own money up, and it is patently unfair that other states get a larger share—much larger share—than Louisiana, and I think the RISEE Act—which will also help our wind industry, as Sen. Whitehouse knows, we're working together on it—is long overdue, and I appreciate you coming up here to talk about that bill,” said Kennedy.

Background:

Under GOMESA, federal revenues from the offshore energy production of Gulf states are divided into three portions. The federal government returns 37.5 percent of this revenue to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. The Land and Water Conservation Fund receives 12.5 percent of offshore revenue and directs most of that money to landlocked states. The final 50 percent of Gulf oil and gas revenue goes to the U.S. Treasury.

The GOMESA cap limits the dollar value of Gulf states’ 37.5 percent revenue share to $375 million each year, meaning the states receive no benefit when the energy sector peaks and revenues surpass the cap. Conversely, the Mineral Leasing Act ensures that states with onshore drilling operations receive 50 percent of their revenues, while there is no cap on how much money that share includes.

States with onshore energy production typically aren’t required to spend that money on environmental priorities. Louisiana constitutionally dedicates revenues from offshore energy production to pay for its coastal conservation and restoration projects.

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today argued that the lasting inflation driven by President Biden’s “Bidenomics” is a “cancer” on the people of Louisiana during a speech on the Senate floor. Kennedy noted that the average Louisiana family pays an additional $757 each month—$9,084 per year—because of inflation. 

“Bidenomics, to most fair-minded Americans, is bigger government. Bidenomics is higher taxes. Bidenomics is more regulation. Bidenomics is more spending. Bidenomics is more debt,” Kennedy said. 

“Bidenomics is also inflation. Let me say that again: First and foremost, Bidenomics is inflation. President Biden's inflation—history, I believe, will demonstrate this—is a cancer on the American dream,” he continued.

To offer some relief, Kennedy urged people in Louisiana to check on whether they have unclaimed tax refunds due to them.  Kennedy noted that the Louisiana Department of Revenue is sitting on $11,574,249 in unclaimed tax refunds. The department recently sent letters to more than 15,000 Louisianians who are owed refunds. He urged those who received a letter to visit the Department of Revenue’s website to get the money they are owed.

Kennedy also encouraged Louisianians to confirm that they received their federal tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service, too, by visiting IRS.gov/refunds.

“A lot of people—not just Louisianians, all across America—forget to claim their state income tax refund and/or their federal income tax refund,” Kennedy said.

“So, I hope you'll take advantage of this information—not just in Louisiana, but all across America—and go claim your tax refunds if you’re owed them,” Kennedy concluded.

Kennedy’s full remarks are available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,011,747 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida struck our state hard, and I’m grateful to see that this $1 million investment will go towards Louisianians’ recovery efforts in Terrebonne Parish,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,011,747 to the Terrebonne Parish Recreation District #4 for damages as a result of Hurricane Ida.  

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,944,972 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.   

“Hurricane Laura landed a tough blow in Calcasieu Parish. I’m thankful that this $4.9 million will help Louisianians replace a facility that serves their community,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $4,944,972 to the Calcasieu Parish Voluntary Council on the Aging, Inc. for a building replacement required as a result of Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) today introduced the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act to save millions of federal dollars by curbing erroneous payments to individuals who have passed away.

The original bipartisan legislation set up provisions to save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous government payments to deceased individuals for a temporary three-year period, and the new bill would make the temporary provisions permanent.

“Americans work too hard to see their tax dollars go to dead people. This bill would enable agencies to share information permanently so that government inefficiencies and miscommunications don’t waste money on fraudsters,” said Kennedy.

“We must be better stewards of American taxpayer dollars, and that means putting an end to wasteful spending. I am proud to have helped lead the passage of this bill in 2020 after over seven years of hard work to implement critical data sharing. Now we must ensure that this collaboration between agencies is made permanent so that our resources are used to help those who need it most,” said Carper. 

The Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act would amend the Social Security Act to allow the Social Security Administration to share the Death Master File—a record of deceased individuals—with the Treasury Department’s Do Not Pay system on a permanent basis. This change would reign in the government’s pattern of making improper payments to deceased people into the future. 

The bill would also allow Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system to compare death information from the Social Security Administration with personal information from other entities and to share this information with any paying or administering agency authorized to use the Do Not Pay system. 

Background:

  • Kennedy and Carper's Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law in December 2020. The bill mandates the sharing of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File with the Department of the Treasury’s No Not Pay working system within three years after enactment. The three-year exchange runs from December 27, 2023 to December 27, 2026.  
  • In 2021, Kennedy wrote this op-ed sounding the alarm on the government sending over $1 billion to deceased Americans.  
  • In 2019, Kennedy questioned U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Hon. Gene L. Dodaro about improper payments to deceased people.

Full text of the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) wrote this op-ed in the Washington Examiner urging his colleagues in Washington to join his effort to reduce federal spending on health care by capping the price of insulin. Kennedy explains how making insulin affordable will improve the overall health of Americans with diabetes. This care helps them avoid the costly hospital visits and health complications that often fall to the taxpayer to cover.

Earlier this year, Sen. Kennedy joined Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) in introducing the Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023, a bill which would ensure that all Americans, including those without insurance, have access to insulin that costs $35 per month or less.

Key excerpts of the op-ed are below:

“More than one in 10 Americans live with diabetes, and many of them cannot afford the insulin they need to stay out of the emergency room.

“For years now, Congress has nibbled around the edges of insulin affordability rather than addressing the issue directly. This failure to act results in needless suffering and financial stress for families living with diabetes, and it saddles the American taxpayer with billions of dollars in related healthcare spending.”

. . .

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that Americans spend $327 billion annually to cover healthcare expenses and lost wages related to diabetic care. Louisiana alone spends an estimated $5.7 billion on care related to diabetes each year.”

. . .

“This bill would ensure that all Americans, including those without insurance, have access to a 30-day supply of insulin that costs no more than $35.

“This plan isn’t one of Washington’s out-of-control spending policies. Any costs associated with capping insulin prices will be fully offset by cutting spending elsewhere in our $6 trillion annual federal budget. More importantly, improving access to affordable insulin can lower federal healthcare spending overall. That means we’re taking a big burden off both diabetics and taxpayers.”

. . .

“We cap the price of insulin at $35 per month today, and we can save thousands of dollars—if not tens of thousands of dollars—per patient in avoided hospital expenses. You don’t need to work on Wall Street to appreciate this return on investment. 

“Without adding a penny to the federal budget, Congress can make it affordable for every American to get the insulin they need to stay healthy, go to work, care for their children, contribute to the economy and their community, and avoid costly emergency room visits that end up costing American taxpayers.”

Read the full op-ed here.