Sep 19 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and several of his Senate colleagues warned that a proposed tariff on Chinese barite would devastate Louisiana’s energy production industry and threaten jobs. Sens. Kennedy, Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) asked Ambassador Lighthizer to leave barite off any tariff list.
Barite is a mineral that is used by the oil and gas industry to reduce the likelihood of blowouts during the drilling of wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. imports 69% of the barite it uses from China.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have seen a massive boom in our energy production in the United States,” said Sen. Kennedy. “However, a tariff on barite could inadvertently cripple our oil and gas industry. Less exploration and production in the Gulf of Mexico would mean fewer jobs. That wouldn’t be good for anyone, especially Louisiana.”
September 17, 2018
Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
It has been brought to our attention by American energy producers that your office is considering placing tariffs on several vital safety components to American energy production currently imported from China: unground barite, ground barite, and barium sulfate. We write to urge you to remove barite from the list of proposed tariffs because it is critical to our nation’s energy security.
Barite is a naturally occurring, heavy mineral that is used in drilling fluids to counteract the extreme pressures of oil and gas formations below the earth. Drilling fluids are vital to the safe drilling of oil and gas wells because they reduce the likelihood of well “blowouts”. There is no economical existing alternative or substitute for barite in the drilling process and it is designated a “critical mineral” by the Secretary of the Interior.
The U.S. produces nearly 330,000 tons of barite annually yet consumes nearly 2.4 million tons. U.S. barite mines are substantially depleted and inadequate to support American energy production. U.S. oil and gas service companies have undertaken extensive exploration efforts to locate new reserves in the U.S. over the years with little success. Our country imports 2 million tons of barite annually and of that, approximately half comes from China.
A barite tariff will not help to change China’s unfair trade practices. In fact, it will effectively shift the balance of trade even more in China’s favor because American energy producers will have no choice but to continue importing Chinese barite due to the lack of alternate quality sources domestically or internationally.
This will raise the cost of domestic energy production. Such increased costs will be passed to the U.S. consumer and make our energy exports less price competitive in energy export markets. In addition, because domestic barite mining is limited to mines in Nevada, oil and gas exploration companies in the Gulf of Mexico, Appalachia, and other areas outside the American West will disproportionately bear the cost of a barite tariff.
We are grateful for your consideration. Thank you for your service to America.
United States Senator
Bill Cassidy, M.D.
United States Senator
Shelley Moore Capito
United States Senator
Joe Manchin III
United States Senator
United States Senator
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Dick Durbin’s (D-Ill.) bill, the Opioid Quota Reform Act of 2018, passed the U.S. Senate today as a part of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 6, The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, a package of opioid related bills. The package represents the work of over 70 senators and proposals from five committees including Judiciary, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), Finance, Commerce and Banking. Sens. Kennedy and Durbin introduced the Opioid Quota Reform Act of 2018 in March of this year.
This bipartisan legislation will enhance the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) existing opioid quota-setting authority by improving transparency and enabling the DEA to adjust quotas to prevent opioid diversion and abuse. The bill is a balance between ensuring that patients who legitimately need pain management drugs can get them while sharpening the DEA’s ability to fight opioid abuse. The rate of opioid-related overdose deaths is increasing in Louisiana.
“Our nation’s opioid crisis has reached an unprecedented level,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Addiction reaches every household regardless of age, race or socio-economic background. While I am proud that my bill has passed the Senate, I am more proud that the Senate was able to come together in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner to pass this important legislation. Our legislative package fights the opioid epidemic by helping to reduce the use and supply of opioids, encouraging recovery, supporting caregivers and families and finding long term solutions to the opioid epidemic.”
Highlights from the bill package include:
- Including the STOP Act to make it more difficult to mail illegal opioids into the U.S. from other countries through the U.S. Postal Service.
- Ensuring that states share data from the Prescription Drug Monitoring programs.
- Giving addicts the help they need to recover through opioid recovery centers, medication-assisted treatment and housing services.
- Helping families through treatment that focuses on the family as a whole instead of just on the individual.
- Developing new non-addictive painkillers.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Announces $9.1 Million Grant for the Shreveport Regional Airport Authority
Sep 13 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that the Federal Aviation Administration awarded a $9.1 million grant to the Shreveport Regional Airport Authority to fund a runway extension project.
“This grant will positively impact Shreveport and Caddo Parish by reinforcing the regional economy and air travel infrastructure,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The grant will fund a runway construction project at the Shreveport Regional Airport, which will improve its future operations.”
Finish line is in sight for Barksdale’s new gate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Senate sent President Trump a package of appropriations bills that finally puts Louisiana in line to finish the entrance road and gate complex at Barksdale Air Force Base and construct a new alert facility at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Belle Chasse.
“The finish line is in sight for adding a new gate at Barksdale. At times, it’s seemed like a 500-mile race to get it done. Not only do military families need a new gate for convenience, but the importance of the missions at Barksdale make it necessary,” said Sen. Kennedy. “From Bossier City to Belle Chasse, Louisiana’s military bases are critical to the defense of our entire nation, and we’re investing in them.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 funding bills for energy and water, military construction and the VA and the legislative branch include $147 billion for construction projects on military bases, the improvement of veterans’ health care and the reduction of flood damage, among other critical priorities.
Other notable inclusions that Sen. Kennedy helped secure are:
- An increased focus on reducing wait times at veterans’ clinics and facilities. In Louisiana, wait times at VA clinics are as high as 45 days.
- $4 million to continue the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Engineering and Water Technology.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Announces $20.3 Million Grant for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
Sep 13 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced today that Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport will receive $20.3 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to fund a project to expand the terminal tarmac. The tarmac expansion project aims to accommodate an increase in commercial service operations due to the completed construction of the new terminal.
“The Louis Armstrong International Airport is a major hub and important asset to Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This expansion will help accommodate New Orleans’ growing tourism industry, and it will improve overall air transportation for the region.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) called today for Gov. John Bel Edwards to drop his petty vendetta against Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator and appoint Prator’s wife to the Red River Waterway Commission.
A Democratic state senator told the news media that Edwards blocked Carolyn Prator’s nomination because her husband criticized the governor’s criminal justice reform efforts. Carolyn Prator was the unanimous choice for the appointment and offers impeccable credentials.
“In politics, you can’t make it personal, especially when it comes to someone’s spouse and kids. You always need to put the people’s interests first,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Criminal justice reform has been a disaster, but the governor shouldn’t take it out on a respected professional who has a wealth of experience in flood control funding decisions. That is simply reprehensible. The Red River Waterway Commission works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to sustain the Red River as an economic engine in seven parishes. I don’t want the commission mixed up in Huey Long-style politics because the governor is mad. He needs to appoint Mrs. Prator and allow her to work for the people of this state.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) staff will host an informational meeting Saturday in Baton Rouge for prospective applicants to the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Capitol Park Museum, 660 N. Fourth St., in downtown Baton Rouge. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
It is absolutely free to attend Academy Day. Family members can accompany prospective applicants to the event.
“I’m honored that so many people want to serve our great country. They make Louisiana proud,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Academy Day is an opportunity to find out more about attending the finest academies in the U.S. You can ask 150 questions if you want.”
Sep 07 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced $2.27 million in grants today for community health centers in the cities of Shreveport, New Iberia, Alexandria, Opelousas, Luling, Lake Charles and Franklin. The grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will help fund community health centers affected by natural disasters.
“Louisiana frequently copes with the aftermath of hurricanes and natural disasters. These grants will help many Louisiana communities recover and be better prepared to respond to future disasters,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Community health centers provide essential primary health care services, and this funding will help keep these in operation.”
The grants, including amounts:
- Shreveport received $337,400 for CASSE Dental Health Institute
- New Iberia received $337,400 for Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center
- Alexandria received $337, 400 for Rapides Primary Health Care Center
- Opelousas received $249,098 for the Southwest Louisiana Primary Health Care Center
- Luling received $337,400 for St. Charles Community Health Center
- Lake Charles received $337,400 for SWLA Center for Health Services
- Franklin received $337,400 for The Teche Action Board
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Announces He Will Vote to Confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court
Sep 07 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After four days of questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced his support to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“After the hearing, I am going to vote happily and proudly to confirm him,” said Sen. Kennedy. “There’s no question in my mind that he has the intellect to be a Supreme Court justice. He’s breathtakingly smart. I don’t know that I’ve seen anybody with a better command of the law.”
To hear the full statement click here or the photo below.
Sep 07 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today urged homeowners impacted by the 2016 Louisiana flooding to submit applications for recovery assistance by the end of the month.
More than 4,000 homeowners submitted initial paperwork but neglected to turn in completed applications. They risk losing the opportunity for recovery assistance through the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program unless their applications are submitted by Oct. 1.
To reach Restore Louisiana, visit http://restore.la.gov/.
“The flooding devastated homeowners across Louisiana. It touched nearly every parish,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I don’t want you to lose the opportunity for help to recover and rebuild. If you flooded, then you need to apply for assistance. Apply even if you think you don’t meet the qualifications. These funds exist to help you.”
Dear Senator John Kennedy:
Thank you for your ongoing efforts and service in helping survivors rebuild and recover from the devastating floods of 2016. We are reaching out to inform you that the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program has set a deadline of October 1, 2018 for homeowners to submit an application for flood recovery assistance. This deadline only applies to just under 4,100 qualified homeowners who have submitted the initial program survey, were invited to apply and have not yet submitted their formal application.
At this time, I am requesting your assistance in ensuring the eligible homeowners in your district who were impacted by the March and/or August floods of 2016 are aware of the approaching application deadline. Our records indicate that there are 4045 homeowners in the state who qualify and have not yet completed their application. Because the Program will be unable to consider homeowners for future assistance who have not submitted an application by the October 1 deadline, regardless of any future change in policy, we are urging them to act soon. We are also underway with outreach efforts including emails, text messages, phone calls, and mailers to this targeted set of qualified homeowners.
If your office is willing to contact these homeowners who are potentially eligible for the Program, please contact us to request the list of names and we will facilitate your efforts for outreach.
Since 2016, our state has made great strides as we moved from immediate response efforts to long-term recovery, but we still have a long way to go. We’ve already processed 92% of all applications and anticipate that we will process all applications by the end of the year. To date, the Restore Homeowner Assistance Program has offered over $473 million in grant funds to more than 13,900 homeowners to repair or reconstruct their flood-damaged homes. We’ve successfully provided funds to homeowners faster than any other homeowner recovery program in the nation and we continue to increase our speed and efficiency in getting much-needed dollars in the hands of those still working to recover.
Furthermore, Governor John Bel Edwards has been working steadfastly with Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation, the Restore Louisiana Task Force, and the Office of Community Development to change the federal policies related to the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that have created a duplication of benefits (DOB) penalty preventing roughly 10,000 flood-impacted Louisianans from participating in the Restore Program whether they accepted all, some, or none of the loans. We continue to closely track all legislation related to potential changes in how SBA loans are considered a DOB and currently await further clarification and guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to understand how language passed in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 or future legislation may affect the program.
Thank you in advance for helping to make your constituents aware of the upcoming deadline. We appreciate your efforts to provide safer, stronger, and more resilient communities for the people of Louisiana.
Office of Community Development