Kennedy, Senate Republicans urge Biden Interior Department to release stranglehold on domestic energy
Oct 03 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined 20 of his Republican colleagues in urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to lower energy costs for American consumers by amending the department’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program to include 10 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Cook Inlet.
The letter comes as Americans and Europeans alike face rising energy costs due to record-high inflation and the Biden administration’s war on domestic energy production.
“American families are struggling to keep up with rising costs due to inflation, high energy prices, and persistent supply chain issues. In addition, local businesses that are part of the ecosystem of U.S. energy production are being confronted with decisions that impact their employees and employees’ families due to uncertainty about future natural resource development. . . . It is our obligation to do everything within our power to help ease these burdens and remove this uncertainty for both Americans and our allies,” the senators wrote.
“Finalizing the five-year program with a commitment to semi-annual area-wide sales will also be a big step for American energy security and demonstrate to the American people the administration is serious about actions that can contribute to lower energy costs,” the lawmakers concluded.
The senators urged the Interior Department to:
- Conduct the three congressionally mandated offshore lease sales that Pres. Biden canceled.
2. Offer quarterly lease sales across federal lands.
Full text of the letter is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today applauded the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act, which he cosponsored.
The legislation addresses the lack of broadband internet and other emerging information technology resources in rural areas by improving Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.
“Small businesses represent 97% of Louisiana employers, and they need broadband to create and sustain more jobs. It’s time for the House to pass this bill and expand broadband access for Louisiana job creators,” said Kennedy.
The Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would:
- Direct the SBA Office of Investment and Innovation to designate a senior employee to serve as the broadband and emerging information technology (BEIT) coordinator.
- Provide SBA employees with BEIT training to help small businesses use such technologies.
- Report on the SBA’s work related to broadband and other emerging information technologies.
- Require the SBA Chief Counsel for Advocacy to evaluate the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.
- Authorize small business development centers to help businesses access and use BEIT.
The bill text is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $6,888,767 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“This $6.9 million will help Jefferson Parish and Louisiana companies repair infrastructure and recover from damage that Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Ida caused,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $4,384,576 to Claiborne Electric Cooperative, Inc. for repairs related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,205,882 to Claiborne Electric Cooperative, Inc. for repairs related to Hurricane Delta.
- $1,298,311 to Jefferson Parish for permanent work and repairs related to Hurricane Ida.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined his Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee in calling on Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Dir. Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain the search warrant and arrest of pro-life speaker Mark Houck.
“Based on reports and allegations, the actions taken by the FBI reasonably call into question whether they complied with DOJ’s use of force policy. The FBI must explain their justification for their actions on September 23, 2022,” wrote the senators.
According to Houck’s attorneys, he was cooperating with the government, and the Assistant U.S. Attorney recommended a ‘return on own recognizance’ bond, meaning Houck was free to leave without having to post bail. This indicates that the government did not see Houck as a threat to the community. That, in turn, calls into question why heavily armed FBI agents were needed to arrest him in the first place.
“Lastly, we’ve obtained photos of the aftermath of the FBI agents’ raid on the Houck home . . . The photograph shows an agent with a ballistic shield and an assault rifle. Based on allegations, other FBI agents had a battering ram and ballistic shields. The photo and the allegations received by the committee appear to contradict the FBI’s statement that they employed ‘standard practices’ against Mr. Houck,” explained the lawmakers.
“This extraordinary fact pattern requires additional information from the Justice Department and the FBI relating to why Mr. Houck was not allowed to self-report for his arrest and arraignment and whether political considerations were made to approve and execute the search warrant,” they concluded.
Full text of the letter is available here.
Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today questioned the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the nation’s biggest banks, including Charles W. Scharf of Wells Fargo & Company, Brian Thomas Moynihan of Bank of America, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jane Fraser of Citigroup, William H. Rogers Jr. of Truist Financial Corporation, Andy Cecere of U.S. Bancorp and William S. Demchak of PNC Financial Services Group.
Kennedy commended capitalism for bringing people out of poverty and exhorted the banks not to bow to pressure from radical leftists.
“Capitalism works. That’s why America has the strongest economy in all of human history. Capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty than all the social programs put together. The poverty rate in our country is three percent. . . . That money to help our neighbors who are less fortunate than we are did not come from leprechauns. It came from the American people and their generosity, and they have that money because of capitalism,” explained Kennedy.
“You will never win—never—the uber-woke sweepstakes. I understand that the pressure to run that race is fierce. You will never win it. Nothing you do will ever be enough. The uber-woke people in positions of power in this town think America was evil when it was founded and it’s even more evil today. You’re not going to convince them otherwise,” Kennedy continued.
“I believe that you’re not free if you can’t say what you think. I encourage you to do that. I believe that you’re not free if you can’t express yourself. You have your opinion; be candid. Don’t try to win the uber-woke sweepstakes.”
Kennedy also addressed the inflation burdening Louisiana families, saying, “Inflation is gutting the American people like a fish. Now, we know what our Federal Reserve is doing on the monetary side. I want to ask you what you think we should do—‘we’ meaning the federal government—on the fiscal side.”
Fraser with Citigroup replied, “There is a considerable amount of savings still in the system. We don’t believe that we need more additional stimulus being put through into the economy,”
“Yeah, I think a little less fiscal spending would be good because we had 30 percent of GDP spent over a two-year period, which is literally unprecedented,”said Dimon with JPMorgan Chase.
Kennedy then asked whether it would be helpful to get “government off the backs of the American people in terms of regulation.”
Dimon replied, “That would be helpful, I think, particularly for small business. I don’t want to sit here and complain about big companies, but I urge everyone to take ten small businesses out to lunch and ask them what it’s like to live through federal, state and local regulations, even if they have one store. And that could help a lot.”
View the full exchange here.
WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) with strong bipartisan support. The JCPA would support small, local, independent and conservative news publications that struggle to survive under the weight of Big Tech’s market dominance and censorship efforts.
“Tech Goliaths like Facebook and Google are strangling smaller conservative publications by keeping them from making a profit on online platforms. The manipulation is squashing free speech. This bill bars Big Tech firms from throttling, filtering, suppressing or curating online content while providing local news outlets with a fair playing field to negotiate against these censorship giants,” said Kennedy.
The JCPA removes legal obstacles so that small and mid-sized news organizations can negotiate jointly for compensation from digital platforms, including Facebook and Google, that access their content without allowing them to profit from their journalism. The legislation also prohibits Big Tech from censoring these publishers and allows the news outlets to demand arbitration if they reach an impasse in negotiations with digital platforms.
This bill would cover Louisiana’s major newspapers and many conservative outlets, giving them a level playing field in negotiations with Big Tech platforms that often prevent them from making a profit from their work online or sharing their work with broader audiences. It would not cover large legacy media companies like the Washington Post or New York Times.
News outlets in support of the JCPA include The Washington Examiner, National Review, Newsmax, Townhall Media, The Washington Times and others.
Sep 21 2022
WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Congress had previously passed legislation based on Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which requires a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) at the national level.
“Americans should reap the rewards of American innovation. This amendment will give American manufacturers the ability to continue exporting sustainable coolants and the products that depend on them. Not only does this create tens of thousands of jobs here at home, it protects our markets from becoming a dumping ground for China’s outdated products. Today, the Senate defended U.S. innovation and countered the economic rise of China and other bad actors at a time when American workers and consumers need all the commonsense support they can get,” said Kennedy.
HFCs are the coolants that work in America’s homes and refrigerators. American companies have been at the forefront of developing HFC alternatives for years, and the Kigali Amendment helps promote U.S. leadership in the innovation and manufacturing of these products.
The AIM Act became law with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2020 because transitioning away from HFCs drives more investments in American-made technologies that are better for the environment, cheaper for consumers and good for the economy.
The AIM Act and ratification of Kigali is expected to create 150,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs, including 33,000 new manufacturing jobs, in places like Louisiana. This will also help protect the more than 1.3 million jobs in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration sector.
Using these next generation coolants is also expected to save American businesses and consumers billions of dollars in energy costs over the next 10 years. This would cut costs for Americans during historic inflation pressures.
More than 130 countries already ratified the Kigali Amendment, which obliges its signers to gradually phase down their HFC usage in the coming decades. China and India are already subject to this phasedown. Without the U.S. ratification of the Kigali Amendment, the international deal signed by a majority of our trading partners would impose trade restrictions between countries that participate in the HFC phasedown agreement and those that do not.
Failing to ratify the Kigali Amendment would have unnecessarily limited the U.S. to fewer trading partners and given its competitors—and adversaries like China—a leg up at the expense of hardworking Americans.
Formalizing America’s support for the Kigali Amendment will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost U.S. exports, strengthen America’s manufacturing industry, lower consumer prices and create more jobs for U.S. workers.
Kennedy announces $59 million in disaster aid for Allen, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis Parishes, other parts of Louisiana
Sep 21 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced $59,321,853 in disaster aid grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Louisiana.
“Communities across our state are still rebuilding after the damage that Hurricanes Ida, Laura and Katrina did. This $59 million will help recovery efforts in Allen, Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis Parishes and around Louisiana,” said Kennedy.
The grants will fund the following:
- $1,075,234 to the Facility Planning and Control (State of Louisiana) for direct administrative costs as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina.
- $3,189,029 to Allen Parish for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Laura.
- $3,654,302 to Calcasieu Parish School Board for repairs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
- $22,477,433 to Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc. for restoring damaged transmission lines from Manchester to Gibbstown as a result of Hurricane Laura.
- $27,476,452 to the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.
- $1,449,403 in federal funding to Children’s Hospital for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.
Sep 19 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and 30 Republican colleagues in urging U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to extend special counsel protections and authorities to U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss to conduct the Hunter Biden investigation.
“As you know, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware—led by U.S. Attorney Weiss—has been investigating Hunter Biden. There is no way of knowing the entire scope of the investigation, but evidence seems to be mounting that Hunter Biden committed numerous federal crimes, including, but not limited to, tax fraud, money laundering, and foreign-lobbying violations,” the senators wrote.
“Given that the investigation involves the President’s son, we believe it is important to provide U.S. Attorney Weiss with special counsel authorities and protections to allow him to investigate an appropriate scope of potentially criminal conduct, avoid the appearance of impropriety, and provide additional assurances to the American people that the Hunter Biden investigation is free from political influence,” they continued.
“Given the politicization of the DOJ under your watch and the importance of avoiding any appearance of impropriety, the undersigned request that you provide U.S. Attorney Weiss the full protections and authorities of a special counsel. This is one important action that you can take that will go a long way in restoring faith in our governmental institutions,” concluded the lawmakers.
Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), Shelley Moore-Capito (R-W.Va.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also signed the letter.
The full letter can be found here.
WASHINGTON – Pres. Biden signed the Patient Advocate Tracker Act into law that Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) spearheaded in the Senate. The law increases transparency and accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for veterans who report concerns they experience with VA health care services.
“With the Patient Advocate Tracker Act now law, our veterans will get more efficient, better quality health care from the VA,” said Kennedy.
The VA uses the patient advocate tracking system (PATS) to track and report complaints from veterans. The Patient Advocate Tracker Act would allow veterans to access PATS in order to file complaints and view the status of those health care concerns, including interim and final actions that the VA has taken to resolve issues facing individual veterans.
By granting veterans access to PATS, VA employees could more effectively route veterans’ concerns to the appropriate department within the VA, avoiding unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles.