MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and more than 100 other lawmakers in writing to Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Robert Califf to condemn the FDA’s decision to permanently eliminate longstanding patient safeguards associated with the chemical abortion drug mifepristone, and to urge the FDA to rescind this decision.

“Removing the in-person dispensing requirements from the drug’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) and permitting mail-order dispensing of this drug will increase risks to women. This action recklessly ignores the clear data showing the dangers of chemical abortions and abandons FDA’s responsibility for ensuring safety of drugs,” the lawmakers wrote.

“In addition to the loss of the unborn child, chemical abortion drugs present serious risk to the health of the mother, including severe bleeding, infection, the need for surgical intervention, and even death. In fact, chemical abortions are four times more dangerous than surgical abortions. These health risks necessitate, at minimum, in-person screening by a physician,” the lawmakers continued.

Make no mistake: the relaxation of these requirements will hasten a new regime of mail-order abortion, where women ingest these dangerous medications alone without any meaningful oversight from a doctor. Without physician involvement and the associated quick access to care in the case of adverse events, women are likely to face additional complications from these do-it-yourself chemical abortions,” concluded the lawmakers.

The letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and more than 60 other senators in writing to Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to urge the Biden administration to keep supporting the Medicare Advantage program, which primarily benefits seniors.

“As you consider annual updates for plan year 2023, we ask you to ensure that payment or policy changes allow Medicare Advantage plans to continue to provide the patient-centered care that 43 percent of Medicare-eligible Americans rely on every day,” wrote the senators.

“Enrollees in the program benefit from out-of-pocket cost limits and plan options that can include access to telehealth services, in-home care, nutrition services, and transportation benefits to meet seniors’ individual needs,” the senators continued.

“For plan year 2023, we urge the Administration maintain stability within Medicare Advantage, including advancing flexible in-plan benefit offerings and promoting care coordination. We are committed to ensuring that our constituents who rely on Medicare Advantage enjoy the same access to affordable benefits in order to get the care they need, particularly as they navigate the persistent challenges of the pandemic,” the senators concluded.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a resolution to express support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence and condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The resolution passed with support from Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) led the bipartisan effort.

“More than 10,000 Ukrainians have already perished defending their homes and families from Russian aggression. This resolution honors their noble sacrifice and affirms that America stands with Ukraine and will not ignore Russia’s malicious behavior,” said Kennedy.

The resolution points out that the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which started in 2014, has cost the lives of at least 14,000 Ukrainians and displaced millions more. The resolution also praises the courage of the Ukrainian people, reaffirms America’s political, diplomatic and military support for Ukraine and condemns Russia’s past and current aggression against Ukraine.   

Text of the resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate passed a resolution to honor the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization with support from Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), who joined Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) in introducing the resolution.

The resolution designates Feb. 19-26, 2022, as “National FFA Week.”

“Farmers are part of America’s economic and cultural backbone. The National FFA does excellent work equipping the next generation of American farmers, and I’m proud to join Sen. Young in recognizing their work,” said Kennedy.

“Hoosiers agree FFA plays a critical role in the development of students through agricultural education. The lessons, tools, and resources gained through the FFA program equip Indiana’s future leaders with the skills needed to succeed in a variety of fields, including agriculture. I’m glad to introduce this resolution establishing National FFA Week in support of the more than 11,600 FFA members in Indiana,” said Young.

The resolution recognizes the important role that the National FFA plays in developing students’ leadership and career skills through agricultural education. The resolution also celebrates 70 years of the National FFA Organization’s membership magazine, New Horizons.

More than 40 other senators also cosponsored the resolution.

Text of the resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Crucial Communism Teaching Act to help educate students about the history and dangers of communism.  

“Communism is a cancer. Tens of millions of people have lost their lives under this dehumanizing ideology. The next generation of Americans must understand the threat communism poses to liberty and justice for innocent people around the world, and it’s our job to teach them,” said Kennedy.

A poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation shows that most young adults lack understanding of the significance and history of communism. The same poll showed that one in five Millennials, as well as one in three members of Gen Z, views communism favorably.

The Crucial Communism Teaching Act would make educational materials available through the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation to help teach high school students about the dangers of communism and totalitarianism. The bill would also require high schools to teach students the history of communism and how this ideology undermines America’s founding principles of freedom and democracy.

Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) introduced the Crucial Communism Teaching Act in the House.

Text of the Crucial Communism Teaching Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined more than 20 fellow senators in urging Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to support continued exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The letter comes in the wake of Democrat senators’ asking Granholm to limit American LNG exports.

“. . . the Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently reported several power plants that burn fuel oil had to be reactivated in January to help meet demand, due to natural gas pipeline constraints. Obstructing new LNG exports could also have the unintended effect of increasing global LNG prices, which would correlate to increased energy costs for customers in the United States,” wrote the senators.

“Geopolitically, NATO member states and countries such as South Korea and Japan rely on the relative certainty associated with the U.S. LNG regulatory model. . . . We encourage your department to issue non-free trade agreement export licenses in a timely manner to ensure the global market continues to view U.S. LNG as a dependable source of energy and a reliable alternative to strategic competitors like Russia,” the senators continued.

“Increased production and export volumes of U.S. natural gas encourage developing nations to use a cleaner fuel source. Investing in domestic oil and gas production creates U.S. jobs. It lowers domestic and global emissions. It also increases U.S. energy security and makes us essential to the energy security of others. We ask that you please consider these factors in your ongoing efforts to facilitate the supply of energy commodities to our allies and partners, while simultaneously securing clean and reliable energy domestically,” concluded the senators.

The senators also directed the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Louisiana produces more LNG than any other state and accounted for 55 percent of U.S. LNG exports in 2020. That production played a significant part in turning America into the world’s largest LNG exporter.   

The letter is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s Comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today discussed inflation that Americans are suffering under as a result of President Biden’s economic policies. Below are key excerpts from Kennedy’s remarks.

“If many Americans won the lottery tomorrow, the first thing they would do is fill up their gas tank. I’m not sure that President Biden understands that.

“The Biden administration claims that they are for the little gal or the little guy, but they sure don’t seem to like them very much. I can’t imagine a more pernicious tax than inflation. This inflation . . . is a direct result of President Biden’s economic policies.

“President Biden, of course, denies that. . . . I expect President Biden next to say that inflation originated in a bat—but it didn't. It began with the economic policies of the president.

What can we, as members of Congress, do about it? Well, we can’t force the members of the Biden administration to retake Econ 101. But we can do our part by stopping spending like we were drunken sailors.”

Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate Small Business Committee has passed the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) helped introduce in May. The bill would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to more easily access disaster relief in the wake of a natural disaster.

“After a year-and-a-half of hurricanes and floods, Louisiana still needs help rebuilding. They can’t afford bureaucratic hurdles that block that help. The Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act would help rural Louisianians more easily access federal aid to recover from storm and flood damage. The Small Business Committee just took an important step toward making this common-sense bill into law,” said Kennedy, who is a member of the Senate Small Business Committee and voted to advance the legislation.

Under current law, bureaucratic roadblocks prevent small businesses and homeowners in rural communities from accessing Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance following a natural disaster. This legislation creates a waiver at no cost to taxpayers that allows rural communities to more readily access and secure SBA disaster assistance in the wake of presidentially-declared disasters.

Text of the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and more than 40 other senators in urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to respect Special Counsel John Durham’s prosecutorial independence and to support the special counsel’s efforts.

Most recently, Durham’s investigation apparently uncovered that individuals affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign exploited access to non-public data from White House internet servers and other locations in an attempt to fabricate a narrative of ongoing communications with Russia and Russian entities.

“As you are aware, Special Counsel Durham continues to uncover alarming information related to the origins of the FBI investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Those findings include the highly concerning, and potentially criminal, manipulation and exploitation of federal law enforcement resources to target American citizens, including a presidential candidate, based upon fabricated evidence that had been procured and disseminated by individuals closely connected with a rival political campaign,” the senators wrote.

“The fraudulent abuse of the FBI’s investigative powers by those malign actors has left a dark stain on the reputation and credibility of the nation’s premier law enforcement agency. We hope you agree that those responsible for that manipulation and exploitation must be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by Special Counsel Durham. We further expect you will support his important work until all those responsible for the fraud committed upon the American people are brought to justice,” concluded the senators.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and more than 30 other Republican senators in introducing the Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act to provide critical support for Ukraine’s self-defense and to deter Russian aggression, imposing costs on Russia for its ongoing and potential future aggression against Ukraine.  

“What you allow is what will continue, and Russia’s thuggery must end now. This bill would help Ukraine defend itself and punish Putin and his oligarchs for Moscow’s rogue aggression towards Ukraine,” said Kennedy.

“While a ‘military’ invasion has not yet occurred, there are other ways Russia can attack Ukraine that would be debilitating for Ukrainians and European security more generally. Rather than simply restating authorities the president already has, the NYET Act takes immediate action to permanently stop Nord Stream 2, sends a powerful deterrent message, imposes heavy economic and military costs on Russia, strengthens U.S. allies and partners, and supports Ukraine via new authorities, funds, and tools,” said Risch.

The NYET Act, among other measures, would:

  • Sanction Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
  • Sanction Putin’s allies and major Russian banks.
  • Provide $500 million in Foreign Military Financing for Ukraine, including $100 million for emergency lethal assistance for critical capabilities like air defense, anti-armor and anti-ship capabilities.
  • Create a Ukraine Resistance Fund to help Ukraine resist attempts to occupy or subjugate any new territory Russia may seize.
  • Double funding for U.S. military exercises in Europe.
  • Create a new State Department Foreign Military Financing program for Eastern Europe to help European allies strengthen their own defensive capabilities and incentivize greater burden-sharing. 

Text of the NYET Act is available here.