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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the Livingston Parish School Board received a $13 million grant from FEMA to fund the repair or replacement of six academic buildings at Southside Elementary School.


“The post-flooding recovery process is still ongoing in south Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Grants like this from FEMA help speed up the process, and it will help get kids back into permanent academic buildings at Southside Elementary School.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today, announced the passage of his and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones’s (D-Ala.) legislation, S.2765 - RBIC Advisers Relief Act of 2018.  This bill bolsters Rural Business Investment Companies (RBICs) by removing unnecessary compliance costs that distract from their important mission to provide capital to rural communities.

“Our rural businesses and entrepreneurs play an essential role in Louisiana’s economy.  To ensure long-term stability for those job creators, we have to make sure they have access to capital,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “That’s why the RBIC Advisers Relief Act of 2018 is so important.  This bill reduces unnecessary compliance costs that hinder RBICs from accomplishing their mission.”

RBICs are licensed under the Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP), a venture capital program created as a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Small Business Administration.  The RBIP was designed to promote economic development and job creation in rural communities by investing in companies involved in the production, processing and supply of food and agriculture-related products.

An unintended consequence of Dodd-Frank forced investment advisors to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission if they advised both an RBIC and a venture capital fund. Congress already fixed this burden for Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) in 2015. This bill offers the same crucial relief to RBICs.

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WASHINGTON D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) issued statements today after the U.S. Senate confirmed Michael Juneau as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

“Mr. Juneau is a well-respected member of the legal community in Louisiana.  He has ample experience and expertise in serving the citizens of Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I want to congratulate Mr. Juneau on his confirmation, and I wish him the best of luck in his new position.  He will serve the public well.”

“Michael is an extremely smart attorney who is eminently qualified to serve the people of the Western District,” said Sen. Cassidy.  “I congratulate Michael and his family and look forward to seeing him get right to work.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) bipartisan Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, S. 2679, passed favorably out of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee.  The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act aims to help veteran-owned small businesses cut costs and grow by giving them access to surplus federal property.

Surplus federal property includes office furniture, computers and other office supplies.  Minority-owned and women-owned small businesses already have access to the federal surplus property program, and this bill will ensure that veteran-owned small businesses receive the same assistance.

“Small business owners are the backbone of our country, and we wouldn’t even have a country if it weren’t for veterans. Our veterans sacrificed so much for our country, and the least we can do is support them,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This federal surplus property program is already in place, so it only seems right that we should allow veterans to qualify for the program.  ”

In addition to the Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, Sen. Kennedy’s bill to extend the effective date of the sunset for collateral requirements for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans,  S. 3554, also passed through the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee today.  This bill will extend a provision of the Recovery Improvements for Small Entities After Disaster Act of 2015 (RISE Act) that allowed SBA to increase the unsecured loan limit for physical damage loans under an SBA Agency declaration from $14,000 to $25,000 for one year. This legislation will provide relief to people recovering from disasters by getting them more money to begin the recovery process more quickly.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) secured Louisiana priorities in S.3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which passed the U.S. Senate today.  This legislation authorizes the first steps toward reducing flooding and deepening navigation channels across Louisiana.

“As we saw with the 2016 floods that affected nearly every parish in Louisiana, flooding is devastating.  It ruins homes and disrupts lives.  The best thing we can do to help Louisiana families is to prevent flooding from happening,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This legislation will help us work toward putting strong flood control measures in place.  Next, Congress needs to finally reform the National Flood Insurance Program so it’s affordable and sustainable.

Highlights from the bill include:

  • J. Bennett Johnston Waterway 12’ Channel deepening study authorization
    • At issue is whether to deepen the channel in order to allow barges to carry bigger loads. 
  • Northshore flood risk reduction study authorization
    • Project to protect St. Tammany Parish. 
  • Ouachita-Black Rivers navigation study authorization
    • At issue is a channel between Jonesville and Arkansas.
  • Expedite completion of the following authorized channel deepening studies and flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration:
    • Baptiste Collette Bayou Study (Plaquemines Parish)
    • Houma Navigation Canal Study (Terrebonne Parish)
    • Bayou Lafourche Study (Lafourche Parish)
    • Project for flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana
  • Expedite completion of the following authorized flood protection projects:
    • Morganza to the Gulf
      • Project to protect the Houma area from hurricanes.
  • Louisiana Coastal Area
    • A number of projects, including Convent/Blind River and Plaquemines Parish.
  • Louisiana Coastal Area - Barataria Basin Barrier
    • Project to improve areas of Lafourche Parish.
  • West Shore Lake Pontchartrain
    • Levee to protect the parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. James and St. Charles from hurricanes.
  • Southwest Coastal Louisiana
    • Project to protect parishes of Calcasieu, Cameron and Vermilion and restore ecosystems.
  • Expedite completion of flood and hurricane protection projects in disaster areas:
    • Minimize and manage flood risk in Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today congratulated Monroe native, Mason Andrews, for setting a new world record as the youngest solo pilot to complete a circumnavigation of the globe.  

Andrews set out on his circumnavigation to raise awareness and funds for MedCamps, which is a free summer camp for children with disabilities or illnesses.  Andrews departed from Monroe on July 22 and returned to Monroe Saturday.

“Mason’s journey is a noble and adventurous feat!” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am happy to hear Mason returned back to Monroe safely.  His courage and dedication earned him a new world record and helped raise over $25,000 for Louisiana Medcamps.  This is an incredible accomplishment.” 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after voting to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court:

“After months of deliberation, hearings and investigations, today I voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to be the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” said Sen. Kennedy. “He’s whip-smart.  He believes that the role of a judge is to determine what the law is and not what the law ought to be.  However, no matter which way you look at it, there were no winners in this process.  Washington turned into dysfunction junction.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after Citigroup accused him of trying to politicize the competitive process through his legislation, the No Red and Blue Banks Act

The bill, which was introduced this week, would ensure that banks like Citigroup and Bank of America, which enacted policies infringing on the Second Amendment rights of businesses, will not be awarded lucrative federal government contracts.  Citi told news media: “It is disappointing that some are attempting to politicize the competitive process through which we bid to provide critical financial services to the government as a result.”

“Citigroup and Bank of America’s copy of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t include the Second Amendment, and they’re trying to force that version down the American people’s throats. These banks would be dead broke if it weren’t for the American taxpayers bailing them out,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We don’t need red banks.  We don’t need blue banks.  We need financially stable banks.  Citigroup and Bank of America need to stop playing politics and focus on their balance sheets.”

Background:

  • On March 22, Citigroup issued a press release detailing how it will penalize banking clients who follow federal, state and local laws.  Citigroup’s new policy tells businesses what kind of firearms and accessories they can stock in their stores, and who they can sell them to. 
  • On April 10, Bank of America announced that it will no longer loan money to businesses that manufacture semi-automatic rifles. 
  • Sen. Kennedy has previously made remarks on the Senate floor about this important issue. 
  • On October 2, Sen. Kennedy filed legislation to prohibit the federal government from giving contracts to banks that discriminate against lawful businesses based solely on social policy considerations.
  • Citigroup responded to the legislation with the following statement: “(Citigroup) adopted this policy because we believe it is a positive and balanced step to promote gun safety without undermining free markets or Second Amendment rights.  It is disappointing that some are attempting to politicize the competitive process through which we bid to provide critical financial services to the government as a result.”

 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter to President Donald J. Trump, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) warned against hurting Louisiana refinery jobs by relaxing the standard, summer-time prohibition on the sale of gasoline with more than 10% ethanol. 

“Louisiana is the second largest oil refining state in the U.S., and we need to protect those jobs.  Generations of Louisiana families have worked for the oil and gas industry” said Sen. Kennedy.  “For years, we’ve avoided selling gasoline with higher amounts of ethanol during the summer months because of ozone level concerns.  We need to keep the status quo and protect refinery jobs and the environment.”

The letter was signed by Senators Jim Inhofe, Ben Cardin, John Cornyn, Bob Menendez, John Barrasso, Tom Udall, Shelley Moore Capito, Joe Manchin, Orrin Hatch, Susan Collins, Mike Enzi, Johnny Isakson, Roger Wicker, John Boozman, Pat Toomey, Bill Cassidy, James Lankford, Steve Daines and Cindy Hyde-Smith.

A copy of the letter is below.

 

October 4, 2018

 

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

In recent months, media outlets reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering regulatory action to expand the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol by volume (E15) year-round by waiving certain Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements related to Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). However, a one-sided approach to addressing concerns related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that favors only one industry stakeholder is misguided. We are concerned that doing so would do nothing to address the policies impacting refinery jobs, could hurt millions of consumers whose vehicles and equipment are not compatible with higher ethanol blended gasoline, and risk worsening air quality. We write to express our strong opposition to this approach.

As you know, in an effort to address evaporative emissions from motor vehicles and off-road equipment, as part of the 1990 CAA amendments, Congress established a maximum RVP for gasoline of 9.0 psi for the high ozone season, often referred to as the summertime driving season.[1] Recognizing that gasoline’s volatility (or tendency to evaporate) increases with the blending of ethanol, the 1990 CAA amendments also provided an RVP limitation for fuel blends containing gasoline and 10 percent ethanol of 1.0 psi higher.[2] This “one pound waiver” applies only to fuel containing gasoline and 10 percent ethanol.

In 2010 and 2011, the EPA issued two partial CAA waivers permitting the use of E15 for model year 2001 and newer light duty motor vehicles.[3] The research to support the Agency’s decisions was based on the impact of E15 on emissions control systems, and those results were inappropriately assumed to determine the impact on engine and fuel system durability. Subsequent research revealed that millions of vehicles approved to use E15 by the EPA are susceptible to engine and fuel system damage from E15 fuel.[4] Automobile manufacturers have cautioned consumers not to use the fuel in vehicles not designed to use it. Additionally, consumers, using lawn equipment, motorcycles, boats, and other small engines not approved by EPA to use E15, do not have the benefit of a robust misfueling prevention system.

Significantly, the EPA premised the original E15 waiver on retaining the existing CAA RVP limits, as the Agency had previously determined it lacked the legal authority to grant an RVP waiver to gasoline ethanol blends beyond 10 percent ethanol, noting the “significant potential” for higher blends to increased emissions and risk compliance with air quality standards:

Additionally, as explained in the misfueling mitigation measures proposed rule, EPA interprets the 1.0 psi waiver in CAA section 211(h) as being limited to gasoline-ethanol blends that contain 10 vol% ethanol. Therefore, given the significant potential for increased evaporative emissions at higher gasoline volatility levels, and the lack of data to resolve how this would impact compliance with the emissions standards, today’s waiver is limited to E15 with a summertime RVP no higher than 9.0 psi.[5]

The Agency reinforced this determination eight months later when it declared “the text of section 211(h)(4) and this legislative history supports EPA’s interpretation, adopted in the 1991 rulemaking, that the 1 psi waiver only applies to gasoline blends containing 9–10 vol% ethanol.”[6]

In conclusion, a decision to grant such a waiver goes against the Agency’s long standing interpretation as well as a plain reading of the CAA. We urge you to engage in a collaborative and transparent process with robust engagement on any RFS reform efforts. 

We look forward to working with you to address these issues to the benefit of all stakeholders and consumers.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

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[1] 42 U.S.C. Section 7545(h)(1).

[2] 42 U.S.C. Section 7545(h)(4).

[3] 75 Fed. Reg. 68094 (November 4, 2010); 75 Fed. Reg. 4662 (January 26, 2011).

[4] https://crcao.org/reports/recentstudies2013/CRC%20664%20%5bAVFL-15a%5d/AVFL%2015a%20%5bCRC%20664%5d%20Final%20Report%20only.pdf

[5] 75 Fed. Reg. 68094, 68096 (November 4, 2010).

[6] Fed. Reg. 44406, 44434 (July 25, 2011).

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson this week asking him to waive regulations that threaten to severely limit the impact of the duplications of benefits’ fix just passed by Congress.

More than 10,000 people received disaster loans from the Small Business Administration following the 2016 flooding in Louisiana.  Because of low-to-moderate income criteria in the state’s disaster recovery plan, HUD expects only 22% of homeowners to be freed from duplication of benefits’ regulations that prevent them from using federal grants to repay their SBA loans.

“We fixed part of the problem.  Now we need HUD’s help in fixing the rest of the problem,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Secretary Carson came to Louisiana and saw the devastation that the 2016 flooding caused.  I’m confident that he can help us overcome the limitations put in place by the state’s plan.  Every single homeowner impacted by the flooding deserves this assistance to recover and rebuild.”

 

 

October 3, 2018

 

The Honorable Benjamin Carson

Office of the Secretary

Department of Housing and Urban Development

451 7th St. SW

Washington, D.C. 20410

 

Dear Secretary Carson:

 

            I write to you today regarding the ongoing recovery from the historic flooding that devastated Louisiana in 2016 and urge you to waive low-to-moderate income (LMI) criteria associated with Congress’ recently-passed lifting of duplication of benefits policy for disaster recovery.

As you are aware, Congress passed legislation to eliminate federal duplication of benefits restrictions directly affecting homeowners approved for or having drawn down SBA disaster loans as they seek to rebuild. Soon, this legislation will be signed into law by President Trump. Once signed, this legislation will permit homeowners who qualified for SBA loans but were prohibited from seeking Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to either repay their SBA disaster loans with a grant or use it to supplement assistance for recovery purposes. 

The Small Businesses Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance has confirmed that there are 10,947 active disaster loans in Louisiana.  I am concerned that applying LMI rules through the State of Louisiana’s plan will significantly limit the number of loans eligible to receive CDBG-DR funds. Furthermore, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officials estimate that only 22% of all active loans, or about 2,408 Louisianians, will be eligible for additional assistance under the duplication of benefits fix.  Waiving the LMI criteria would ensure that more Louisiana families qualify and receive relief under the new provisions. I believe, through the generosity of the American taxpayer, the Restore Louisiana program has more than enough funding to help everyone adversely impacted by duplication of benefits policy in the state.    

 

I am reassured that after nearly two years of work on this particular issue with you and the Trump Administration, we are close to finally cutting this bureaucratic red-tape that has plagued the recovery efforts of families and communities in Louisiana.  Thank you for all of your leadership and continued work on important issues affecting the United States of America.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

John Kennedy

United States Senator

 

 

 

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