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WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement about former St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister:

“Pat was a close friend to Becky and me for many years and a tireless advocate for the people of St. Tammany Parish and Louisiana. Pat’s service was always defined by her humility and ability to inspire those around her. St. Tammany Parish saw incredible economic growth under her leadership. I’m only one of many, many people who feel the loss of Pat as a person and a leader. Becky and I are praying for comfort for the entire Brister family during this sad time.”

“People in rural Louisiana deserve access to quality broadband infrastructure. This grant will allow families to take advantage of this crucial technology to expand their economic and educational opportunities.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $15 million grant from the Department of Agriculture to fund a high-speed broadband infrastructure project for homes and businesses in south Louisiana.

“People in rural Louisiana deserve access to quality broadband infrastructure. This grant will allow families to take advantage of this crucial technology to expand their economic and educational opportunities,” said Kennedy.

The project will develop high-speed internet service for 2,609 rural households, 12 businesses and 16 farms in Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Landry Parishes.

“The real winners here are the American taxpayers who not only own the C-Band, but stand to reap the benefits of 5G. Rather than bailing out foreign satellite companies, money from the auction of this spectrum should go to American priorities. This bill gives us the chance to pay down the national debt, improve public safety and get broadband to rural communities that are still handcuffed to dial-up internet.”

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced the Spectrum Management and Reallocation for Taxpayers (SMART) Act, legislation to ensure billions of dollars in proceeds from the public auction of C-Band spectrum go to the taxpayers who own the spectrum. The SMART Act gives the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to conduct a public auction of C-Band spectrum and uses nearly all proceeds from the auction to bridge the digital divide, enable next generation public safety services and cut the national deficit.

“The real winners here are the American taxpayers who not only own the C-Band, but stand to reap the benefits of 5G. Rather than bailing out foreign satellite companies, money from the auction of this spectrum should go to American priorities. This bill gives us the chance to pay down the national debt, improve public safety and get broadband to rural communities that are still handcuffed to dial-up internet,” said Kennedy.

“Our bipartisan bill will raise billions so that more people can access the internet. As technology accelerates, we need to do more to close the digital divide and help ensure that everyone benefits,” said Schatz.

“We need money for rural broadband and not giveaways for foreign satellite companies. This bill is a good bipartisan step forward,” said Cantwell.

The SMART Act would ensure that the FCC has the authority to expedite the public auction and clearing of the C-Band for 5G while protecting the millions of people currently using the C-Band. Public auction proceeds would be invested in rural broadband deployment, in building Next Generation 9-1-1 networks and in reducing the national debt.

Kennedy previously called for a public auction of C-Band spectrum to ensure taxpayers benefitted from those sales.

“Qassem Soleimani set fires of hatred across the Middle East, and Ahmad Hamzeh ran to take up Soleimani’s mantle. America should answer his threats against our president, service members and embassies with quick, clear consequences. Americans aren’t buying the poison Hamzeh’s selling, and it’s time for the Treasury to tell him so.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting the secretary place an Iranian lawmaker on the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list for threatening President Donald Trump and encouraging attacks on U.S. embassies and military bases.

“Qassem Soleimani set fires of hatred across the Middle East, and Ahmad Hamzeh ran to take up Soleimani’s mantle. America should answer his threats against our president, service members and embassies with quick, clear consequences. Americans aren’t buying the poison Hamzeh’s selling, and it’s time for the Treasury to tell him so,” said Kennedy.

Ahmad Hamzeh represents Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani’s hometown and recently offered a bounty of three million dollars for the assassination of President Trump. Hamzeh made the statement after a U.S. airstrike killed Soleimani earlier this month. Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American military personnel and was considered the second most powerful person in Iran. Hamzeh has also urged Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program.

Read the full letter here.

“The 2016 floods devastated communities in Livingston Parish. I’m glad to see this funding support a flood-control project needed to help protect southeast Louisiana residents from future disasters.”

 WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $1 million FEMA grant to fund the construction of a flood diversion canal in Livingston Parish.

 “The 2016 floods devastated communities in Livingston Parish. I’m glad to see this funding support a flood-control project needed to help protect southeast Louisiana residents from future disasters,” said Kennedy.

 The grant will help build a canal to divert runoff throughout the upper reaches of Beaver Creek in Livingston parish. Expected to be completed by November 2022, the canal would divert roughly one third of the natural Beaver Creek flow into the Amite River during a 100-year flood event.

“I am glad to see the Treasury focus on helping Americans obtain their hard-earned money so they can invest it in their future and their families. There’s more work to do, but the Treasury is making great progress.”

 WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today provided an update on efforts made by the Treasury Department to help Americans redeem $26 billion in unclaimed savings bonds.

“I am glad to see the Treasury focus on helping Americans obtain their hard-earned money so they can invest it in their future and their families. There’s more work to do, but the Treasury is making great progress,” said Kennedy.

The Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service in December conducted market research on how to improve methods and technologies that help digitize matured, unredeemed savings bonds. This research focused on how to make old bonds searchable for 21st-century users. The Fiscal Service also hosted a Retail Securities Services Industry Day to explore technologies that digitize these bonds. 

This December, the Fiscal Service relaunched Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to find information such as whether bonds are no longer earning interest or are owned by deceased family members. According to Fiscal Service, Treasury Hunt has been searched more than 31,000 times.

As chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, Kennedy last year secured $25 million through appropriations for digitizing bond records. Kennedy also introduced the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act (USB Act) to allow states to add names and addresses for the bonds to their unclaimed property databases.

Sen. Kennedy introduces pro-life legislation to protect mothers and unborn children

 WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act of 2020 to protect the health of women and children. 

 “It’s hard to imagine someone more in need of access to quality medical care than an expectant mother and her unborn child. The abortion industry cuts corners at the expense of vulnerable people, and the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act would ensure that women have easy access to vital protective care.

 “I’m thankful to partner with my friend Andy Biggs in this effort to save and improve lives and encourage my colleagues in both chambers of Congress to support this legislation,” said Kennedy.

 To ensure women have access to immediate medical care, the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 15 miles of the medical office where the abortion occurs. The legislation would also require abortion providers to inform patients of where they can receive follow-up care for any complications arising from abortion procedures.

 Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

 “Abortion providers refuse to accept the reality that an abortion is a serious medical procedure that should be treated with the same care and caution as any other surgery or medical treatment. Women deserve to have doctors and medical professionals who can provide quality care and quickly address any complications that may arise. Requiring doctors and abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and to maintain safe and clean clinics should be common sense measures that face little opposition,” said Biggs.

 “I am grateful to Senator Kennedy for his partnership in introducing this important legislation.”

 March for Life and the Family Research Council support the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act.

 “The March for Life applauds Representative Biggs and Senator Kennedy for standing up for both women and children. Abortion facilities harm women and are always dangerous and medically substandard. Abortionists are more concerned with their profits than with women’s health and safety—we thank the elected officials who are willing to hold these abortionists responsible,” said Tom McClusky, President of March for Life Action.

 “Excluding abortion facilities from following standard health procedures is no way to promote women’s health care. We’re grateful to Senator Kennedy for introducing legislation to ensure that our laws protect the health and safety of both the mother and her child,” said Travis Weber, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs at Family Research Council.

 In addition to authoring the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act, Kennedy introduced the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act of 2019 (PRENDA) earlier this Congress. At present, only nine states have outlawed abortion based on an unborn person’s sex. PRENDA would protect unborn children in the 41 remaining states from being aborted because of their gender or sex.

 Support for PRENDA includes the Invisible Girl Project, All Girls Allowed, National Right to Life, Concerned Women for America, March for Life Action, Susan B. Anthony List, Eagle Forum, Americans United for Life, Family Research Council, Alliance for Life, Students for Life and Live Action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON — Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Bear Protection Act to protect bears from poaching and torture. 

 

“For years, legal loopholes have allowed the abuse and trade of wild bears to continue. I’m proud to partner with my friend Senator Booker to help prevent the slaughter and sale of innocent creatures through a commonsense solution,” said Kennedy.

 

“North American black bears are under threat from poachers and smugglers who supply the global trade in bear parts and products,” Senator Booker said. “This bipartisan legislation will help to conserve bears, deter bear poaching, and facilitate prosecution of illegal bear traders.”

 

Bears are often targeted for their bile and gallbladders, which some believe have medicinal value. The bill would impose criminal penalties on anyone who imports or exports bear viscera or products said to contain bear viscera. The legislation would not otherwise affect the state regulation of bear populations or the lawful hunting of bears under state law.

 

The bill would also direct the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative to continue discussions with certain countries in order to protect bears. These countries include those that are party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora as well as other countries that are leading importers, exporters or consumers of bear viscera.

 

“We shouldn’t be killing rhinos for their horns, elephants for their tusks, or bears for their bladders,” said Wayne Pacelle, founder of Animal Wellness Action. “Wildlife trafficking is one of the greatest threats to rare species throughout the world, and the Bear Protection Act is a lever to protect several species of bears from reckless and unwarranted commerce in their parts. We are immensely grateful to Senators Kennedy and Booker for leading this legislative initiative.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today attended the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony for former New Orleans Saints star Steve Gleason. 

 

“I am so honored to see Steve Gleason receive the Congressional Gold Medal for his tireless work advocating for ALS patients. He holds a special place in the heart of every Louisianians, not only for his on-field heroics, but for his work raising support and assistance for those battling ALS. Steve is an inspiration to millions of Americans, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves this honor more.” said Kennedy.

 

After being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2011, Gleason became a prominent advocate for people living with ALS and helped raise almost $10 million to provide assistance for ALS patients. In addition, Gleason helped gather support for the Steve Gleason Act of 2015 and the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017, which are now helping equip ALS patients with speech-generating devices.

 

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress. It requires the approval of two-thirds of both the House and Senate and the signature of the President. To date, only 163 institutions, people, or events have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

 

Alongside Sens. Cassidy, Cantwell, and Murray, Sen. Kennedy was an original cosponsor of the Stephen Michael Gleason Congressional Gold Medal Act last Congress. The bill was officially signed into law by President Trump on January 3, 2019.

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai requesting that the chairman update him on any progress made on FCC auction plans and compensation proposals for satellite companies operating within the C-Band.

 

“As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) works to clear C-Band Spectrum through a public auction, I write to request that you keep me apprised of any and all developments in respect to the FCC’s auction plans and subsequent auction schedule. Additionally, I also ask that I be given notice of any proposal the FCC considers in regards to compensation for the satellite companies currently operating within the C-Band,” said Kennedy.

 

At present, foreign satellite companies are operating within the C-Band, a part of the spectrum that the FCC is attempting to set aside for future 5G wireless use. Spectrum refers to electromagnetic waves that wireless devices use to deliver voice, text, video and other wireless communications. C-Band represents a portion of the spectrum that cable operators and broadcasters use for satellite reception of network programming. C-Band, however, is necessary for building a robust 5G network.

 

The FCC recently considered allowing foreign satellite companies to sell the spectrum within the C-Band. Those private sales could have deprived the American taxpayers of information and revenue from such sales.

 

Read the full letter here.