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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and 22 colleagues in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen questioning the Biden administration over its proposed $110 billion tax hike on traditional American energy producers.

“We write with grave concern regarding the administration’s continued hostility towards American energy production. Working families and small businesses are facing immense challenges including high energy prices. At the same time, our allies and partners across the globe are asking for reliable American energy resources to escape their dependence on Russian energy and to deal with the energy crisis,” the senators wrote.

“Instead of increasing U.S. energy production, the administration is focused on increasing energy taxes. The administration has once again doubled down on weaponizing the tax code against U.S. energy producers,” they continued.

In its FY 2025 Revenue Proposals “Greenbook,” President Biden’s Treasury Department recommended $5 trillion in new taxes on the American people, including $110 billion in new tax increases on oil, gas and coal production. The Biden administration also proposed eliminating many existing provisions of the IRS code that benefit the American energy sector. 

“When facing a whole-of-government assault, American energy producers cannot continue to make long-term investments, which provide stability and energy security both at home and overseas. These crushing tax proposals, paired with the administration’s heavy-handed regulations and mandates, would threaten American families’ access to affordable and reliable energy, while giving our adversaries the upper-hand in global energy markets,” the senators concluded.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here

WASHINGTON. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $9,443,948 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“Many Louisianians are still recovering from Hurricane Ida’s damage. This $9.4 million will help repair electric lines in south Louisiana and support Lafourche Parish Hospital’s continued recovery,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $6,941,868 to the Dixie Electric Membership Corporation for line and facility repairs as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $2,502,080 to Lafourche Parish Hospital for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to introduce the Protecting Access to Credit for Small Businesses Act, a bill that would prevent the Biden administration from using the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a direct lender for the 7(a) Loan Program.

“Fraud and inefficiency characterize the Small Business Administration’s history in direct lending. The government shouldn’t crowd out private lenders that are already doing a good job getting funds to the small businesses that need them. I’m proud to partner with Sen. Scott to stop the SBA from replacing private lenders and those in our communities with Washington bureaucrats,” said Kennedy. 

“When acting as a direct lender, the SBA has a consistent history of failure and inefficiency when compared to the private sector. The administration’s proposal is just a vehicle for a big government overreach into nearly all aspects of American life and private institutions. There’s simply no reason to use the federal government to funnel tax dollars that will later be loaned back to small businesses,” said Scott. 

The Protecting Access to Credit for Small Businesses Act would block the SBA from issuing direct 7(a) loans and competing with small lenders.

Background:

  • The 7(a) Loan Program provides small businesses with loans of up to $5 million to help job creators grow and maintain their businesses. Today, small business owners work with private lenders in their communities to receive loans through the program.
  • In his 2025 budget request, President Biden proposed a small-dollar lending program that would allow the SBA to issue 7(a) program loans directly, forcing small lenders to compete with the federal government.
  • Democrats attempted to implement a similar direct lending option for the SBA in 2021. Kennedy, Scott and a dozen other Republicans wrote a letter warning that the federal government has a history of developing botched lending programs. The SBA’s Inspector General, for example, estimated that the government-run Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program issued $79 billion in fraudulent loans during the pandemic. Businesses also suffered lengthy delays while waiting for EIDL funding.
  • Private lenders have a far better record of efficiently and safely distributing loans to small businesses. Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), private banks distributed $800 billion in loans to nearly 12 million small businesses. Fraud experts identified fewer than 1% of accounts as potentially fraudulent.

Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Full text of the Protecting Access to Credit for Small Businesses Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today joined Sen. Chris Coons (D-Conn.) in introducing the bipartisan Small Business Contracting Transparency Act to help more businesses that participate in the Small Business Administration (SBA) programs win contracts with federal agencies.

“Louisiana’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they deserve a fair shot at working with the federal government. The Small Business Contracting Transparency Act would require the SBA to tell the public about the contracts it grants so that job creators can take advantage of every opportunity that’s open to them,” said Kennedy.

“When small businesses are able to fulfill federal contracts, everyone wins. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation is a key step toward ensuring the federal government keeps its promises to women, veterans, and underserved communities when awarding federal contracts. This bill will increase oversight of programs that provide valuable opportunities for the hardworking yet underrepresented entrepreneurs and small businesses that are the foundation of our state’s economy,” said Coons.

Federal agencies are supposed to award participants in certain SBA programs—including the Women-Owned Small Business program (WOSB), the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) initiative and the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) program—with a certain percentage of awards. However, since 2000, government agencies have only met their goals twice.

The Small Business Contracting Transparency Act would require the SBA submit reports on:

  • The number of small businesses certified to participate in the WOSB program, the HUBZone program and the SDVOSB program.
  • The total dollar amount and percentage of federal contracts that agencies award to qualifying small businesses in each SBA program. 
  • The number of ineligible businesses in each SBA program that agencies mistakenly awarded a contract. 

Full text of the Small Business Contracting Transparency Act is available here.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in urging the Biden administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) to withdraw its proposed rule to discourage small businesses and non-union shops from taking part in the National Apprenticeship System.

“The new regulation the Biden administration is putting in place effectively attacks good jobs that use apprenticeship programs to train Americans for a variety of careers. By punishing non-union job creators, the Department of Labor is also making it harder for Louisiana job seekers to build a career on their own terms,” said Kennedy.

The Biden administration’s rule would discourage small businesses and other employers from participating in the apprenticeship program by mandating unrealistic union requirements.

“Businesses and other sponsors of apprenticeship programs already face financial and administrative burdens. The proposed rule further discourages employer participation. The DOL is imposing burdensome requirements, hindering flexibility, limiting non-union worker training, and forcing employers to comply with a grave agenda,” the senators wrote. 

“The proposed rule requires all apprenticeship programs to provide a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of classroom training. Employers understand the qualifications and skills a prospective employee needs to be successful. The one-size-fits-all Washington mandate does not take into consideration the various dynamics of apprenticeship programs across localities and industries. The burdensome requirement will also be particularly difficult for small businesses to fulfill as they may lack the flexibility and resources necessary,” they continued. 

“In addition, the Administration is attempting to limit non-union apprenticeships. . . . This rule creates conditions where union membership is all but compulsory and undermines workers’ rights to choose union membership. This is especially pertinent in rural areas where a majority of apprenticeship programs are sponsored by small businesses with no union affiliation or where unionized workforces do not meet their unique needs. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, union membership rate in the private-sector for 2023 was 6 percent throughout the United States,” the senators concluded. 

Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also signed the letter. 

The full letter is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined members of the Louisiana congressional delegation in urging Small Business Association (SBA) Administrator Isabel Guzman to make a disaster declaration so that Louisiana’s crawfish processors, wholesalers, boilers and other related enterprises can receive emergency assistance.

In 2023, Louisiana’s adverse weather hurt the crawfish harvest. The lawmakers gave their support to Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry’s declaration request.

“Many industries throughout Louisiana suffered immensely due to drought, as well as a prolonged saltwater intrusion, which negatively impacted crawfish producers as well as downstream businesses. Crawfish processors, wholesalers, boilers, and other related enterprises are not eligible for agriculture relief programs, but their livelihoods are dependent on a robust crawfish crop. In response we request a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Access to relief programs, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), through the SBA for non-agriculture members of Louisiana’s larger crawfish industry is essential to their survival. According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana’s commercial supply of crawfish has an estimated $300 million impact on the state’s economy,” they continued. 

“We urge the SBA to assist Louisiana’s crawfish aquaculture industry by offering the necessary tools and assistance to navigate the application process ensuring eligible stakeholders have access to critical financial assistance,” they concluded.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also signed the letter along with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Julia Letlow (R-La.), Garret Graves (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.) and Troy Carter (D-La.).

In February, Kennedy introduced the Crawfish Recovery Assistance from Weather Disasters and Droughts (CRAWDAD) Act to expand the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program funding to crawfish farmers. The bill would classify a drought as a weather event that the Secretary of Agriculture could declare as an emergency. 

Full text of the letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and colleagues in claiming victory for U.S. catfish producers after the Biden administration’s Commerce Department reversed its plan to make it easier for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to flood U.S. catfish markets.

“Louisiana is one of the top catfish producing states in the country, and our farmers deserve a level playing field in the seafood market. I am glad to see the Biden administration walk back its plan to give foreign products the upper hand over American catfish,” said Kennedy.

On March 14, the administration published a notice in the Federal Register that it would not follow through with its preliminary decision to reduce the antidumping duties from $2.39/kg to $0.14/kg for all producers that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam controls.

“The Commerce Department actually heeded our warnings and the rescission of this review is a clear victory for the U.S. catfish industry, which is so important to Mississippi and other rural states. It’s also a victory for American consumers, who will not be put at risk from tainted imported catfish,” said Hyde-Smith.

On Jan. 17, the senators urged the Biden administration’s Commerce Department to reverse its preliminary decision. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Katie Britt (R-Ala.) also signed the letter.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $32,204,014 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura left many buildings in the Lake Charles community with severe damage. I’m grateful to see that this $32.2 million will help repair the St. Louis High School and benefit Louisianians in the area,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $21,022,561 to the Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Lake Charles for repairs to the St. Louis High School Main Building as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $7,602,012 to the Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Lake Charles for repairs to facilities at St. Louis High School as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $3,579,441 to the Society of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Lake Charles for the replacement of St. Louis High School old gym as a result of Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $1,009,182 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Ida left many buildings in Lafourche Parish damaged and in danger of collapse. I’m grateful this $1 million will help Louisianians demolish these unsafe buildings,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,009,182 to Lafourche Parish for the demolition of homes that Hurricane Ida severely damaged.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in the Daily Advertiser detailing how activists have pressured parents to allow their children to undergo irreversible gender procedures. Kennedy commended the Louisiana legislature for outlawing the use of these extreme procedures on minors and urged Congress to do more to support parents who wish to protect their children from these harmful treatments.  

This piece also appeared in the Shreveport Times, Houma Today, The Daily Comet, The Town Talk, The News-Star, The Weekly Citizen and Daily World.

Key excerpts of the op-ed are below:

“Those who advocate for minors to be able to change genders believe powerful medications and surgery are the only way to help gender dysphoric children. Most parents in Louisiana, however, believe that irreversible medical procedures could harm these children in the future if they change their minds about changing their sex.”

. . .

“It’s tough to be a kid, and there are many reasons children might question who they are and who they want to be. School is challenging, bullies are mean, and puberty is awkward for most boys and girls.

“We shouldn’t, however, allow children to go through irreversible physical changes to address what, statistically, is likely a temporary season of confusion or anxiety. The Louisiana state legislature was wise to pass a bipartisan bill, H.B. 648, which outlawed these irreversible treatments on Louisiana’s children until they are of the majority age.”

. . .

“In some states, parents can lose custody of their children for refusing to affirm the child’s stated gender preference. Other states allow minors to access puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones without parental consent. Parents shouldn’t be punished for choosing to protect their children from extremists.

“That’s why I’m cosponsoring the Families’ Rights and Responsibilities Act, a bill that would help parents fight back if they are attacked for opposing the transgender agenda. Supporting parents who want to protect their children and help them make the right decision if they are gender confused is the safest, strongest way to lift up our kids and foster healthy families.

“There are too many stories of minors who end up regretting taking puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones or undergoing sex-change surgery, and I fear that many more stories are going to come to light. I’m going to do all I can to allow kids to be kids until they are old enough to decide for themselves.”

Background:

  • The population of transgender children in the United States nearly doubled between 2017 and 2020. In Louisiana, 13-to-17-year-olds are nearly three times more likely to say they identify as transgender than adults aged 25 to 64.
  • Most young children outgrow their gender dysphoria. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, roughly 85% of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria at a young age did not remain dysphoric after adolescence.
  • Many gender-confused children also suffer from mental health issues. Children who identify as transgender are up to 13 times more likely to have ADHD, depression or anxiety than non-transgender children. A study out of the United Kingdom found that 35% of the children who received gender treatment had moderate or severe autism.
  • Still, many activists encourage parents to “affirm” their children’s gender dysphoria no matter how young their children may be. Activists also encourage parents to allow their children to receive “gender-affirming care,” including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries. These drugs and surgeries can inflict irreparable harm on children.
  • Puberty blockers are hormone-based injections or implants given to children as young as 8 years old to delay the onset of puberty. Gonadotropin, the hormone used in puberty blockers, is the same hormone used to chemically castrate sex offenders. It can leave children with diminished bone density and harm their future fertility.
  • Cross-sex hormones begin to transition children to appear more like the other gender. Boys take estrogen, which can cause infertility, blood clots and heart problems. Girls take testosterone, which can also cause infertility, male-pattern baldness and high blood pressure. Adults have given cross-sex hormones to children as young as 13 years old.
  • Sex-reassignment surgeries, including mastectomies, phalloplasty and vaginoplasty, are largely irreversible. They can result in infertility and loss of sexual function. Activists have advocated for 15-year-old girls to access double mastectomies and 17-year-old boys to receive vaginoplasties.
  • Activists claim that “gender reaffirming care” improves the mental health of children with gender confusion. However, a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that there is no significant reduction in mental health issues following hormone treatments or sex-reassignment surgeries.
  • American parents have struggled to protect their children from these radical procedures. Parents in some states can lose custody of their children for refusing to abide by the transgender ideology. In Oregon, children as young as 15 years old can receive Medicaid-funded hormone treatments without their parents’ consent.
  • Kennedy is a co-sponsor of the Families’ Rights and Responsibilities Act, a bill that would help parents defend themselves when radical bureaucrats attack them for refusing to comply with the transgender agenda. 

Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here. Read more about the Families’ Rights and Responsibilities Act here.