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“Louisiana’s railroads represent a critical part of our state’s economic success. While this funding will improve railroad safety, it will also stimulate the economy and create jobs in New Orleans and the surrounding region.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced an $8,262,391 grant from the Department of Transportation to support safety improvements to the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway Company’s Belle Chasse and Westwego subdivisions.

“Louisiana’s railroads represent a critical part of our state’s economic success. While this funding will improve railroad safety, it will also stimulate the economy and create jobs in New Orleans and the surrounding region,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy in June sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration expressing support for the New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway Company’s grant application.

The project will improve approximately 24 miles of the Belle Chasse subdivision and eight miles of the Westwego subdivision along the Mississippi River.

“Between a pandemic and historic hurricane, small businesses in Louisiana are facing incredible challenges. Helping them access broadband and put new technology to use is a smart way to protect jobs. Small businesses represent 97% of Louisiana employers, I’m glad to help introduce a bill that serves these job creators.”

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today joined Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to prioritize broadband access for small businesses. The Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would improve Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to address the lack of broadband internet and other emerging information technology resources available in rural areas. 

The bill would help small businesses access and adopt these 21st-century tools. Access to broadband services in rural areas throughout Louisiana and around the country has become a top concern during the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses and workers continue working remotely.

“Between a pandemic and historic hurricane, small businesses in Louisiana are facing incredible challenges. Helping them access broadband and put new technology to use is a smart way to protect jobs. Small businesses represent 97% of Louisiana employers, I’m glad to help introduce a bill that serves these job creators,” said Kennedy.

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated existing problems that for too long have hurt small businesses, particularly those in rural areas where access to broadband is limited. This bill will improve SBA programs to help them meet these challenges. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will prioritize broadband access at the federal level. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort,” said Shaheen. 

Specifically, the Small Business Broadband and Emerging Information Technology Enhancement Act would make the following improvements to the SBA’s approach to broadband:

  • 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; and
  • Authorize small business development centers to help businesses access and use BEIT.

The bill text is available here

“When Hurricane Laura destroyed homes and businesses across Louisiana, it displaced many of our state’s workers. This grant will help rebuild communities and create jobs for those unemployed as a result of the storm.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $4,000,000 dislocated worker grant from the Department of Labor to create disaster relief jobs in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Laura.

“When Hurricane Laura destroyed homes and businesses across Louisiana, it displaced many of our state’s workers. This grant will help rebuild communities and create jobs for those unemployed as a result of the storm,” said Kennedy.

These jobs will focus on debris cleanup and humanitarian assistance for individuals affected by Hurricane Laura in all 64 Louisiana parishes.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“America weeps, but what an extraordinary life Justice Ginsburg led. Becky and I mourn with Justice Ginsburg’s family and the American people.”

Hurricane Laura has put a lot of Louisiana jobs at risk. I introduced this bill to give job creators a crucial lifeline. Small businesses needed cash flow to survive the coronavirus crisis, and now they need those loans forgiven as they rebuild from savage hurricanes.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government and member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today introduced the Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act of 2020. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is an original cosponsor of the bill, which would forgive small business loans made under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

“About 40 percent of small businesses that close down for even one day in the wake of a natural disaster will end up shutting their doors forever. Hurricane Laura has put a lot of Louisiana jobs at risk. I introduced this bill to give job creators a crucial lifeline. Small businesses needed cash flow to survive the coronavirus crisis, and now they need those loans forgiven as they rebuild from savage hurricanes,” said Kennedy.

“As folks across South Alabama begin the work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sally, I believe Congress should be assisting them in any way we can. That’s why I’m joining Senator Kennedy, from our neighbor Louisiana, to introduce bipartisan legislation that ensures small businesses impacted by Hurricanes Sally and Laura can benefit from loan forgiveness for COVID-19 relief programs. Alabama’s Main Street businesses have struggled already during the pandemic, and Hurricane Sally is yet another devastating hit. This legislation will cut through government red tape and allow forgiveness of business loans received as part of our CARES legislation as they continue to re-open and re-build. It is one way we can help them survive these compounding disasters and continue to serve our communities and create jobs,” said Jones.

Louisiana’s small businesses represent 97% of all employers in the state and employ nearly 1 million Louisianians.

The Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act establishes an easy process for businesses in parishes or counties with major disaster declarations from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Sally to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

In order to receive loan forgiveness, impacted businesses must provide their lenders with an attestation form stating that the business used the loans as intended. To prevent fraud and ensure transparency, the Small Business Administration Administrator would have the authority to review and audit forgiven loans.

Background:

On August 28, 2020, President Donald Trump granted a major disaster declaration for Louisiana. That declaration triggered the release of federal funds to help communities recover from Hurricane Laura.

 

“This hurricane season has demonstrated why it’s crucial for Louisiana to protect properties from flood damage. This funding will help communities prepare for future storms in Lafayette and Jefferson Parishes.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,380,065 in FEMA grant funding to support the mitigation of 28 flood-prone structures in Lafayette and Jefferson Parishes.

“This hurricane season has demonstrated why it’s crucial for Louisiana to protect properties from flood damage. This funding will help communities prepare for future storms in Lafayette and Jefferson Parishes,” said Kennedy.

This funding is authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $2,735,054 to mitigate 15 flood-prone structures in Jefferson Parish.

  • $2,645,011 to mitigate 13 flood-prone structures in Lafayette Parish.

“First responders are on the front lines of protecting communities and saving lives. Protestors who block these heroes from the people who need them may think their actions are political, but, in reality, they’re criminal.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act to make obstructing emergency vehicles and personnel a federal crime. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are original cosponsors of the bill.

“First responders are on the front lines of protecting communities and saving lives. Protestors who block these heroes from the people who need them may think their actions are political, but, in reality, they’re criminal. Ideally, local politicians wouldn’t stand by like knots on a log when protestors stop emergency care from getting to private citizens and community law enforcement. Unfortunately, though, it’s fallen to federal authorities to fill this leadership void through the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act,” said Kennedy.

“Like millions of Americans, I was outraged to learn last weekend that protestors in Los Angeles had blocked the entrance to the emergency room and chanted ‘we hope they die’ as first responders transported two sheriff deputies who were ambushed and shot. I never would have imagined we would have to introduce legislation making it a federal penalty to block access to emergency rooms, but it must be made clear that actions like these will be punished. The Senate should quickly take up this commonsense legislation and send it to President Trump to be signed into law,” said Tillis.

“The fact that anarchists and rioters blocked first responders racing to save the lives of two Los Angeles police officers is un-American, and must be met with appropriate penalties. Tennesseans hold our law enforcement officials in the highest regard, and expect us to provide support for them when needed. It’s unfortunate that the state of our public discourse has led us to this point,” said Blackburn.

“Our first responders are our nation’s heroes. We shouldn’t need federal authorities to tell local leaders that it’s a crime to prevent first responders from doing their job; but here we are. Iowans won’t stand for this, and that’s why we need this commonsense bill to ensure our medical professionals can continue to provide life-saving care to folks in-need and hold accountable anyone who blocks someone from receiving essential services and medical attention,” said Ernst.

“South Dakotans know that it’s not just the law, but it’s common courtesy to move your vehicle out of the way of an ambulance or first responder vehicle. As riots rage in cities across the country, violent mobs are blocking passage for ambulances to get to injured victims. This is wrong. Emergency first responders have a duty to save lives. They are being physically blocked from doing their job by rioters, and local leaders refuse to step up. Our bill would make knowingly blocking an emergency transport vehicle a federal offense,” said Rounds.

“Over the weekend in Los Angeles we saw someone unprovoked approach two innocent police officers in their vehicle, pull out a gun, and open fire at point-blank range. As an ambulance rushed these sheriff’s deputies to the hospital, violent protestors — exploiting a movement which bills itself as a voice for life – blocked the entrance and yelled, ‘we hope they die.’ That is evil and pure hypocrisy. Our bill establishes proper consequences for people trying to kill police officers or any injured person by blocking access to life-saving care,” said Cramer.

“Everyone should be praying for the two Los Angeles Sheriffs who were shot in an ambush, and everyone should be condemning the act of terror committed by protestors who chanted ‘we hope they die’ as they blocked emergency entrances to the hospital. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that would make it a federal crime to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or other emergency vehicles or personnel from responding to an emergency,” said Rubio.

The Stop Blocking Hospitals Act would make it a federal offense to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle or emergency personnel from responding to an emergency. Penalties for such obstruction would include imprisonment of one to five years, a fine or both.

The National Association of Police Organizations has endorsed the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act.

Background:

As unrest increases across the country, rioters are blocking first responders’ access to emergencies. Such intentional obstruction of police, fire and ambulance vehicles and personnel have put public safety—and individual lives—at risk.

In June, in Seattle's Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, a violent crowd prevented first responders from reaching a shooting victim, who eventually died. Though first responders were stationed less than two blocks away, twenty minutes passed before emergency personnel gained access to the site.

Less than a week ago, a gunman shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in their patrol vehicle. Those officers were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, where protestors blocked the emergency entrance to the hospital.

“People who abuse innocent animals often turn their violence on innocent people. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would help better prevent and prosecute animal cruelty.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) in introducing the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act, which would establish an Animal Cruelty Crimes Section within the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“People who abuse innocent animals often turn their violence on innocent people. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would help better prevent and prosecute animal cruelty, and I’m proud to partner with Sen. Braun and my colleagues to keep our communities safe from sick people who target helpless creatures,” said Kennedy.

“America has recently taken big steps to crack down on animal cruelty with new laws to protect animals from torture and abuse, but we need further action to ensure these laws are being enforced across the country and track our progress in eradicating animal cruelty. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would create a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Section at the Department of Justice to help bring those who abuse animals to justice and includes reporting measures to track our progress,” said Braun.

The Animal Cruelty Crimes Section would enforce federal laws prohibiting animal cruelty under the jurisdiction of the DOJ. The ACE Act would also require the DOJ to report to Congress annually on the number of animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions of animal cruelty it conducts.

We have a solemn duty to protect all lives, especially the most innocent and vulnerable among us. The Susan B. Anthony List is one of the most distinguished pro-life organizations in the country, and I’m proud to stand with the millions of Americans who fight every day for unborn children.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today received an “A” rating on the Susan B. Anthony List National Pro-Life Scorecard.

We have a solemn duty to protect all lives, especially the most innocent and vulnerable among us. The Susan B. Anthony List is one of the most distinguished pro-life organizations in the country, and I’m proud to stand with the millions of Americans who fight every day for unborn children,” said Kennedy.

This January, Kennedy introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act to ensure women have access to immediate health care by requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 15 miles of the abortion facility.

Kennedy led the amicus brief in the June Medical Services v. Russo case, which focused on the Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. The brief had a record 207 signers from the House and Senate. In March, he also delivered remarks ahead of the Supreme Court's oral arguments in that case.

Kennedy’s record of pro-life legislative work is available here.

“The PUPS Act will help keep pets and people safe and together during public health emergencies. I hope my compassionate colleagues move this bill forward before bureaucracy tears any more dogs or cats away from their owners.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Permanently Uniting Pets Stateside (PUPS) Act to ensure that American pet owners returning from abroad during a public health emergency are not unnecessarily separated from their pets. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is an original cosponsor of the PUPS Act.

“Earlier this summer, Socrates reminded everyone that pets must be allowed to come home with their owners whenever possible. The PUPS Act will help keep pets and people safe and together during public health emergencies. I hope my compassionate colleagues move this bill forward before bureaucracy tears any more dogs or cats away from their owners,” said Kennedy.

The PUPS Act would allow an animal arriving with a U.S. citizen or resident to enter the country without regard to the Centers for Disease Control or U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements concerning pets if the owner agrees to comply with those requirements as soon as practicable. 

The PUPS Act is crucial to help pet-lovers navigate public health emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic and has support from Animal Wellness Action and the Animal Wellness Foundation.

"We applaud Senator Kennedy for his work to put common sense and compassion ahead of bureaucracy and ensuring that people are not separated from their beloved pets during times of crisis. This bill would ensure that what happened to Socrates won’t happen to another rescued dog coming to the U.S. to join a loving family,” said Holly Gann, Director of Federal Affairs for the Animal Wellness Foundation.

Kennedy is a proud dog owner to Jack and Charlie.