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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and other senators in introducing the Advertising Middlemen Endangering Rigorous Internet Competition Accountability (AMERICA) Act to restore and protect competition in digital advertising. The legislation would eliminate conflicts of interest that have allowed leading Big Tech platforms to manipulate ad auctions and impose monopoly rents on large portions of the U.S. economy.

“Big Tech does not have the right to stack the deck in its favor at the expense of competition. I’m supporting the AMERICA Act to hold Big Tech accountable for anti-competitive behavior and limit its power to manipulate ads that get pushed to unsuspecting consumers,” said Kennedy.

“Companies like Google and Facebook have been able to exploit their unprecedented troves of detailed user data to obtain vice grip-like control over digital advertising, amassing power on every side of the market and using it to block competition and take advantage of their customers. . . . That is why I have introduced this bill, and why I believe it is the first step towards liberating the internet—and therefore much of the 21st century economy—from the grip of Big Tech monopolists,” said Lee.

Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising. Google is the leading or dominant player in every part of the ad tech economy: the ad-buying side, the ad-selling side and the exchange that connects them. 90 percent of large publishers use Google Ad Manager. In the third quarter of 2018, Google Ad Manager served 75 percent of all online display ad impressions.

Google uses its pervasive market power across the digital advertising ecosystem—and exploits numerous conflicts of interest—to extract monopoly rents and stack the deck in its favor. These monopoly rents function as a tax—upwards of 40 percent—on every ad-supported website and every business that advertises online. Collectively, that represents a huge segment of the modern economy.

The AMERICA Act would restore and protect competition in digital advertising in two ways. It would prohibit large digital advertising companies from owning more than one part of the digital ad ecosystem if the company processes more than $20 billion in digital ad transactions. The bill would also require medium-sized and larger digital advertising companies that process more than $5 billion in digital ad transactions to abide by several obligations to protect customers and competition.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced two bills, the Jobs and Opportunities for SNAP Act and the Jobs and Opportunities for Medicaid Act, to bring capable Americans back into the workforce, strengthen the U.S. economy and fight poverty. 

“Ultimately, the best cure for poverty is a job. Taxpayers want to see that their hard-earned dollars are supporting those who can’t work, not bankrolling those who won’t work. Congress can start ending the cycle of poverty by helping able-bodied Americans become upwardly mobile—so they can enjoy the freedom and success that government dependence can’t offer anyone,” said Kennedy.

The Jobs and Opportunities for SNAP Act would reinstate work requirements for able-bodied adults who do not have dependents to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. 

The Jobs and Opportunities for Medicaid Act would require all able-bodied adults to work or volunteer for at least 20 hours per week in order to receive Medicaid benefits.

Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.) is leading both bills in the House of Representatives.

The Jobs and Opportunities for SNAP Act is available here.

The Jobs and Opportunities for Medicaid Act is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in introducing the Ending the Notorious, Aggressive and Remorseless Criminal Organizations and Syndicates (NARCOS) Act of 2023 to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.

The legislation would also create a task force for the purpose of eliminating the threat that cartels and drug trafficking, particularly fentanyl, pose to American citizens.

“Americans are being killed on both sides of the border. And Americans are being addicted, certainly, on our side of the border—killed, too,” said Kennedy.

“We need to dismantle and disincentivize Mexico’s cartels in every way possible. Designating these murderers as foreign terrorist organizations would give U.S. officials more tools to use in putting the cartels and the networks that support them behind bars,” he explained.

“Despite what the President of Mexico says, drug cartels are in control of large parts of Mexico. They are making billions of dollars sending fentanyl and illicit drugs into the United States where it is killing our citizens by the thousands. Designating these cartels as Foreign Terrorist Organizations will be a game-changer. We will put the cartels in our crosshairs and go after those who provide material support to them, including the Chinese entities who send them chemicals to produce these poisons. The designation of Mexican drug cartels as FTOs is a first step in the major policy changes we need to combat this evil,” said Graham.

By designating drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, the U.S. government would have authority to prosecute individuals for drug and human trafficking. America could also use extraterritorial jurisdiction to target and prosecute foreign nationals involved with Mexican cartels or other transnational criminal organizations.

The Ending the NARCOS Act of 2023 would designate the following cartels as foreign terrorist organizations under the Immigration and Nationality Act:

  • The Sinaloa Cartel
  • The Jalisco New Generation Cartel
  • The Gulf Cartel
  • The Los Zetas Cartel
  • The Northeast Cartel
  • The Juarez Cartel
  • The Tijuana Cartel
  • The Beltran-Levya Cartel
  • The La Familia Michoacana, also known as the Knight Templar Cartel

Kennedy’s remarks are here.

The bill text is here.

Watch Kennedy’s speech here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor on behalf of crime victims in New Orleans. He urged the city to allow the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) to use the legal and effective stop-and-frisk practice to prevent crime in the community.

“New Orleans is under attack. People there are being murdered. They are being shot. They are being raped. They are being stabbed. Their stuff is being stolen, and our quality of life is being degraded because of crime—because of crime, a cancer on our city,” said Kennedy.

“Statistically, it is more dangerous to be young and Black in New Orleans than it was to be a Marine in the Battle of Fallujah during the height of the insurgency in Iraq. Those are the numbers. Last year, my city had the highest murder rate in the country, twice the murder rate of Atlanta—twice! . . . Our murder rate was up 141 percent since 2019,” he continued.

Kennedy also pointed out that violent crime in the city is disproportionately harming minority communities. One in 14 African-American youths in New Orleans will be killed before the age of 35, while one in eight young African-American males will be shot. Although 33 percent of Louisianians are African-American, 70 percent of murder victims in New Orleans were African-American in 2022.

“Crime in New Orleans is affecting all of us in our city—residents and visitors, every income level, every part of our city—but no one is hit harder than our low-income communities. That’s true both in terms of public safety, and it’s also true economically,” Kennedy explained.

According to the Biden Justice Department, African Americans and Hispanic Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to be victims of violent crime. A 2013 poll found that two-thirds of African-American New Yorkers supported keeping stop and frisk in some form.

Cops all over America stop and frisk suspects every single day, and they have for 50 years. And you know who endorses it? The United States Supreme Court,” said the senator.

“It is time to allow the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department to use stop and frisk without fear of losing their jobs,” he added.

While more than one million people live in the New Orleans metro area, the NOPD currently has only 913 officers on the force.

The Justice Department began investigating the NOPD in 2010 and entered into a consent decree in 2012. That consent decree does not prohibit the NOPD from employing stop-and-frisk crime prevention practices in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling in Terry v. Ohio. That ruling holds that police officers can stop and frisk individuals who they reasonably suspect are armed and involved in criminal activity.

Under mayors from both political parties, New York City implemented stop and frisk policing and lowered the murder rate from 31 per 100,000 to 3.3 per 100,000.

“I don’t want you to think that we have thousands of previously law-abiding New Orleanians turning to crime. . . . The problem we have is with career criminals, and they’re running rampant, and our cops are spread thin. . . . We need to allow our police officers to stop and frisk. It should be carefully monitored, it should be done legally, but it should be done. We have tried everything else—everything under the sun—to stop the extreme recidivists. Nothing has worked, and maybe this perfectly legal, very effective police policy—stop and frisk—which is used every day across America, will help,” Kennedy concluded.

Kennedy’s full remarks are here.

View Kennedy’s full questioning here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today questioned Michael Barr, Vice Chair for Supervision of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, during a Senate Banking Committee hearing. Kennedy pressed Barr on the Federal Reserve’s failure to stress test Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) prior to its recent collapse.

Key comments from the exchange include:

Kennedy: “You didn't test for Silicon Valley Bank’s problem. I’ve read your report. Your stress test—you stress tested these 34 banks for falling GDP, spike in unemployment, and defaults on commercial real estate. Isn’t that correct?” 

Barr: “Yes, in a typical adverse scenario for banks, we’re testing falling interest rate . . . ”

Kennedy: “But that wasn't our problem in 2022 . . . ”

Barr: “I completely agree with you . . . ”

Kennedy: “ . . . and it’s not our problem today. The problem is inflation, high interest rate and loss of value in government bonds, isn’t it?”

Barr: “I completely agree with you.”

Kennedy: “So, you stress tested in 2022 for the wrong thing.”

Barr: “The stress test is not the primary way that the Federal Reserve or other regulators test for interest rate risk.”

Kennedy: “But you stress tested for the wrong thing.”

Barr: “As I said, Senator, I agree with you that it would be useful to test for higher rising interest rates. . . . These decisions were made before I arrived, but I agree with you that it was better to do that.”

 . . .

Kennedy: “So, all this business about, ‘Well, the amendment to Dodd Frank kept them from stress testing’—the way I see it, you chose not to stress test, and, if you had stress tested Silicon Valley Bank, you wouldn't have caught the problem.”

Barr: “As I said, Senator, I agree with you that the statute requires periodic stress testing. The Federal Reserve made a decision about how to implement that in 2019 that resulted in SVB not being tested . . . ”

Kennedy: “ . . . But you knew, the Federal Reserve knew well in advance, that Silicon Valley Bank had a problem with holding too much of its money in interest-rate-sensitive long government bonds, didn’t you?”

Barr: “I think the investing public and the Federal Reserve, which cited it for interest rate risk problems, knew that it had interest rate risk.”

Kennedy has previously spoken on the Senate floor twice, explaining how SVB’s collapse could have been prevented and how Biden regulators failed to oversee risk at SVB.

View Kennedy’s full exchange with Barr here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary committee, today introduced the Ensuring Fairness for Students Act to codify due process in Title IX proceedings for students who are accused of sexual assault or harassment on school campuses. The bill would require schools to investigate and adjudicate formal complaints.

“The Biden White House wants to roll back fair proceedings on school campuses by making students guilty until proven innocent. That is not justice. Students’ rights don’t end where schools begin, and this bill makes sure that these serious investigations pursue justice without bias,” said Kennedy.

A recent study found that many of the nation’s top colleges and universities fall short of safeguarding due process rights in disciplinary proceedings that involve students. For example, 72 percent of the schools in the study “failed to provide ‘timely and adequate notice of the allegations to students accused of wrongdoing before expecting them to answer questions about the incident.’” At more than 60 percent of these schools, an explicit guarantee of the presumption of innocence “doesn’t extend across all disciplinary policies.” In fact, only 15 percent “guaranteed ‘a meaningful hearing, where each party may see and hear the evidence being presented to fact-finders by the opposing party, before a finding of responsibility.’” 

The Biden administration is working to reverse policies that were established under the last administration and have been improving due process protections at colleges and universities.

The grievance process under the Ensuring Fairness for Students Act would:

  • Provide both parties with a written notice of the allegations, an equal opportunity to select an advisor of each party’s choice and an opportunity to submit evidence throughout the investigation.
  • Require schools to use trained Title IX personnel to evaluate all evidence objectively.
  • Protect parties’ privacy by requiring written consent before using any medical, psychological or other treatment records during a grievance process.
  • Ensure a presumption of innocence so that schools apply evidence correctly and bear the burden of proof.
  • Ensure the decision-maker is distinct from the person investigating the allegation and from the Title IX coordinator.
  • Require a live hearing and allow cross-examination by each party’s advisors, but never by the party himself or herself.
  • Offer both parties an equal opportunity to appeal.
  • Protect any individual, including complainants, respondents and witnesses, from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment or participating, or refusing to participate, in any Title IX grievance process.
  • Require schools to document and keep records of all sexual harassment reports and investigations. 

Background:

  • In June 2022, the Biden administration announced a rule to roll back policies that ensure due process for sexual assault proceedings under Title IX. 
  • The Biden administration’s rule would offer the accused no right to cross-examine witnesses and no right to a public hearing. It would also allow one individual to investigate a case, bring charges in the case and decide the outcome of the case. 

Full text of the legislation is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and more than 30 other Republicans in introducing a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to stop the Biden administration’s Department of Education from implementing a rule to cancel student loan debt for millions of Americans.

“President Biden’s promise to cancel student debt is a woke fairy tale: The federal government doesn’t have the power to magically make debt disappear. The president is forcing Americans who paid off their debt, worked through college, went to a trade school or chose not to go to school to foot the bill for those who haven’t paid back their personal loans. Not only is this plan morally wrong, it will fan the flames of inflation and make necessities even more unaffordable for hardworking Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

The Department of Education’s plan would transfer up to $20,000 per borrower to taxpayers, costing an estimated $400 billion.

The Biden administration announced this policy, which the Government Accountability Office classified as a rule, before the Supreme Court issued a decision on the cases Biden v. Nebraska and Department of Education v. Brown

“President Biden’s student loan scheme does not ‘forgive’ debt, it just transfers the burden from those who willingly took out loans to those who never went to college, or sacrificed to pay their loans off. Where is the relief for the man who skipped college but is paying off his work truck, or the woman who paid off her loans and is now struggling to afford her mortgage? This resolution prevents these Americans, whose debts look different from the favored group the Biden administration has selected, from picking up the bill for this irresponsible and unfair policy,” said Cassidy.

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) introduced the companion CRA resolution in the House of Representatives.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also joined the resolution.

Full text of the CRA resolution is available here.

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Ranking Member Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in seeking further information from the Federal Reserve System, including the Board of Governors, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco about the mismanagement of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and its collapse.

“From publicly available information, it is now well understood that SVB suffered from rampant mismanagement, ultimately resulting in its catastrophic failure. Even more concerning, however, is the apparent failure of SVB’s regulators, including the Federal Reserve, the primary federal regulator responsible for examining and supervising SVB, to ensure that the bank operated in a safe and sound manner,” the senators wrote.

“Rather than effectively directing SVB management to take definitive, corrective action, it is apparent that the Federal Reserve supervisors and examiners neglected to intervene in a meaningful, appropriate way to rectify the bank’s deficiencies, ensure safe and sound operations, and prevent its ultimate failure,” they continued.

The lawmakers are seeking a response regarding their concerns about the collapse of SVB by no later than April 6, 2023.

“The American people deserve transparency and accountability from their government officials, and they are entitled to understand precisely what Federal Reserve officials knew about the apparent risks associated with SVB, when they knew it, and why they failed to act to prevent the bank failure from occurring,” they expressed.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) also signed the letter. 

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) today introduced the bipartisan Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023 to cap the price of insulin for all patients, including those who are uninsured, at $35 for a 30-day supply.  

“While the world waits for a cure to diabetes, I am glad to join Sen. Warnock in offering a bipartisan solution to the rising cost of insulin for Louisianians and Americans living with diabetes. By making preventative care more accessible, this bill would reduce long-term health care costs for individual patients, avoid devastating complications from diabetes and take pressure off the entire health care system,” said Kennedy.

“I’ve long said that making insulin affordable for everyone should be bipartisan, and today we prove that’s not just talk. I’m thrilled to work with my colleague and friend, Senator Kennedy, to finally make insulin affordable for everyone who needs it. Insulin is a 100-year-old drug with a patent that was sold for $1. No one should feel forced to put their health or life in danger because they can’t afford their insulin. We have the momentum—let’s get this done,” said Warnock. 

More than 14% of Louisiana’s adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes, and more than 30% of adult Louisianians are pre-diabetic.

Louisiana alone spends an estimated $5.7 billion a year on direct medical expenses for those who are diagnosed with diabetes. By ensuring that insulin is affordable, the long-term cost of care for patients will decrease over time as more Americans are able to prevent complications including heart disease, kidney disease, strokes and other diagnoses. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diagnosed diabetes total $327 billion yearly, and the American Diabetes Association has asserted that diabetics account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S. 

national study projected that improving access to insulin for uninsured patients could help avoid complications of diabetes and deaths related to the disease. As a result, the health care system could save substantial amounts of money on providing care to uninsured diabetes patients.  

The Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023 would: 

  • Require private group or individual plans to cover one of each insulin dosage form (i.e. vial, pen) and insulin type (i.e. rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting) for no more than $35 per month.
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a program to reimburse qualifying entities for covering any costs that exceed $35 for providing a 30-day supply of insulin to uninsured patients.
  • Be fully paid for by an offset to be determined when the bill is voted on the floor. 

Background:

  • In August of last year, Kennedy introduced an amendment to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to cap insulin costs. 
  • In June 2022, Kennedy penned an op-ed outlining the benefits of making insulin affordable for diabetic Louisianians. 
  • In September 2021, Kennedy introduced the Seniors Saving on Insulin Act and the Vital Medication Affordability Act in an effort to make insulin and epinephrine more affordable.
  • In August of 2021, Kennedy introduced the Ending Pricey Insulin Act to address skyrocketing insulin prices.    

Full bill text is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,157,913 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid grant for Louisiana. 

“I’m thankful this $5.1 million will support the Terrebonne General Medical Center’s recovery so its staff can continue to prioritize the health and safety of Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $5,157,913 to the Terrebonne General Medical Center for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.