Jul 13 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in introducing the No Emergency Crude Oil to Foreign Adversaries Act. The legislation would prevent future strategic petroleum reserve (SPR) sales from going to China, Russia, North Korea or Iran.
“America’s strategic petroleum reserve protects our country during national emergencies. Selling off American oil to countries that hate us undermines the security that the oil reserve is supposed to deliver, and we can’t let it happen again,” said Kennedy.
“At a time of skyrocketing inflation and record gas prices, and with SPR drained to its lowest level since 1986, it is reckless and inexplicable that President Biden would allow oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be exported to China. This practice poses a direct threat to American national security, not least of all because the Chinese Communist Party is currently stockpiling oil for strategic use, and the Biden administration is aiding their effort,” said Cruz.
The bill comes after Pres. Biden siphoned off more than 260 million barrels of oil from America’s SPR in recent months. Reports indicate that roughly 5 million barrels from these SPR sales were sent abroad, with China’s Communist-owned, state-run oil and gas company refining more than 1 million of those barrels.
The No Emergency Crude Oil to Foreign Adversaries Act would:
- Prohibit China, Russia, North Korea and Iran from receiving future SPR exports unless the Secretary of Energy produces a waiver for one of the countries. The Secretary of Energy would only produce a waiver if it was determined that SPR sales abroad would serve America’s national security interests.
- Require the Department of Energy to issue a report to Congress within 180 days after this bill becomes law outlining SPR sales made after Nov. 23, 2021. This report would detail the route oil sales took to their country of destination, who refined the oil and the who owns those refinement facilities.
The text of the bill is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the Senate floor to explain how Pres. Biden’s assault on American fossil fuels is driving up prices in nearly every sector of industry.
Below are key excerpts from his remarks:
“Deeply, profoundly stupid. That is the only way I know how to describe one of the worst decisions behind an administration that has become famous for bad decisions. I am talking about Pres. Biden’s assault on sustainable, affordable energy.”
. . .
“What seems to be underappreciated, Mr. President, however, is how Pres. Biden’s agenda is driving up the price, not just of oil, but of all kinds of necessities that American and Louisiana families need every day. It’s not just about oil and gas—it’s about everything. Not only do most goods get to our homes after riding in trucks, and planes, and cars and ships powered by gas or diesel, but a lot of our plastics and other products—if you think about it—they’re also made from petroleum.”
. . .
“The truth is, that American ingenuity—and I’m referring to fossil fuels—has made the most out of one of the most versatile resources that the world has ever known. But, the Biden White House is determined to punish us for that innovation—just determined to punish us—by making every single part of the American Dream more expensive.”
. . .
“Now, high oil prices are also waterboarding our farmers which contributes to these high food prices. Did you know that we make industrial fertilizer with fossil fuels? And when natural gas costs more, so does fertilizing a field of wheat or corn or soybeans. Some of our herbicides right now are twice as expensive as they were—if farmers can find them.
“Tractors drink diesel, duh. So do some irrigation systems. A gallon of diesel—one gallon—a year ago: Do you know what it was? $3.23. Do you know what it is today? $5.20.
“Now, what does that mean for Louisiana rice farmers and other growers? For every extra dime farmers spend on a gallon of diesel—every extra dime—a grower will spend about $4.50 more for an acre of rice, $2.30 more for an acre of cotton, and an extra $1.74 for an acre of corn. Corn growers—I mentioned corn growers—they also depend on nitrogen fertilizer, which we make with methane.
“And then corn—I mentioned corn—goes into cereal, goes into sweetened drinks, peanut butter, baby food, ketchup and salad dressing. You know, I don’t mean to be ugly, but this administration’s energy policy is deeply, profoundly stupid.”
. . .
“For the sake of Americans’ economic futures and for the sake of our national security, Mr. President, we cannot continue to rely on foreign oil imports—we can’t—while pretending to run this country using wind, solar and wishful thinking. Because that’s what the president’s new policy is on energy. It’s wind. It’s solar. It’s wishful thinking. Wishful thinking doesn’t fill gas tanks or grocery carts.”
View Kennedy’s complete remarks here.
Jul 12 2022
Watch Kennedy’s exchange here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today recognized journalist Kim Holden’s 34-year career at New Orleans’ FOX 8 on the Senate floor.
Below are key excerpts from his remarks:
“Kim . . . is Louisiana through and through. She is what most of us would call a star-spangled professional.”
. . .
“It’s a very unique thing, as you know Mr. President, in television to work your entire career in one place—particularly in your hometown. Most journalists move from city to city. Not Kim. She loves New Orleans, and New Orleans loves her back.”
. . .
“Throughout her career at Fox 8 news . . . Kim has covered everything from the COVID-19 pandemic, to hurricanes—including Hurricane Katrina—to the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl.”
. . .
“I just wanted to recognize Kim Holden today, and to thank her for giving so much to the profession of journalism, and to thank her for giving so much to my state, Louisiana. And I wish her the best in her next chapter.”
View Kennedy’s complete remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed for the Ouachita Citizen focused on legislative solutions that would lower the cost of insulin for northeast Louisiana families.
Below are key excerpts:
“Twelve percent of Louisiana adults already live with diabetes, and an estimated 30,000 Louisianians receive this diagnosis every year. Unfortunately, patients with diabetes face annual health care costs that are twice as high as non-diabetics face, in part because insulin can be expensive.”
“Insulin costs put many northeast Louisiana families in a financial bind. . . . The median household income in Ouachita Parish is $44,059, and a family of four faces annual health care costs of $10,128. Families in Concordia Parish spend more than 30 percent of their income to cover health care costs. With inflation surging to a 40-year high, the Ending Pricey Insulin Act would improve health care for many Louisiana communities.
“The bill would also help Louisiana’s economy. When diabetes goes untreated, the cost of caring for sufferers takes an even heavier financial toll on our state: Diabetes and prediabetes cost Louisianians roughly $5.7 billion every year in direct medical expenses, taxpayer dollars, and lost productivity.
“Louisianians don’t just rely on insulin. Many adults and children also depend on epinephrine to treat allergic reactions that could turn deadly. That’s why I’m also working to make sure that Federally Qualified Health Centers—which serve poor, uninsured, and rural Americans—help Louisianians get the medicine they need at prices they can bear.”
“Historic inflation has made gas, food, and other necessities harder for Louisiana families to afford. Congress must help make insulin cheaper and more accessible—both for diabetics and for the taxpayers who take on additional health care costs when the disease goes untreated.”
The op-ed is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $30,403,845 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“Louisiana families are still recovering from Hurricane Ida. This $30.4 million will help our parishes and cities rebuild where Ida struck,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $2,263,196 to the city of Kenner for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,715,163 to the city of Covington for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
- $2,032,328 to St. Bernard Parish for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $3,158,058 to St. Helena Parish for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
- $21,235,100 to Terrebonne Parish for debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced $7,566,909 in disaster aid grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Louisiana.
“I’m glad to see this $7.6 million going towards the costs of recovery efforts after Ida and Laura hit our state hard,” said Kennedy.
The grants will fund the following:
- $6,436,724 to the city of Sulphur for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Laura.
- $1,130,185 to the LA Department of Public Safety (State Police) for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“Despite attempts to intimidate the justices, they did their work. Roe v. Wade has misrepresented the Constitution since the ruling was rendered, and today’s decision to return the issue of abortion to the American people and the states corrects a legal and moral error. Louisianians have worked for a long time to have this freedom that is rightly and constitutionally theirs. I am very pleased with today’s decision,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy, bicameral group issue statement calling on Biden administration to reverse its plan to circumvent U.S. law and create an unofficial U.S. Consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem
Jun 23 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and more than 80 members of Congress in releasing a joint bicameral statement in support of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.
The lawmakers call on the Biden administration not to move the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) out of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel’s reporting chain of command and not to rename the PAU the “U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs” or allow it to serve as an unofficial U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The full statement is below:
“It is alarming that the Biden Administration has opened what amounts to be a separate U.S. diplomatic office to the Palestinians in Israel’s capital. This decision is wholly inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that Congress passed into law and has repeatedly reaffirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support over the years. We strongly supported the Trump Administration’s decision to fully and faithfully implement the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel, by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and by closing the U.S. Consulate General for the Palestinians in Jerusalem and merging its functions into the U.S. Embassy’s ‘Palestinian Affairs Unit’ within one diplomatic mission under the authority the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. The Biden Administration’s disregard for that law, however, undermines our nation’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and signals support for dividing Jerusalem.
“Let there be no misunderstanding: this unprecedented arrangement—to turn the Palestinian Affairs Unit into a ‘U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs’ that will no longer report to the U.S. Ambassador to Israel but instead report directly to the State Department in Washington, D.C., and to appoint a Special Envoy to the Palestinians—is an effort to open an unofficial and de facto U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. In fact, the Biden Administration admits this decision is one step closer to opening an official U.S. consulate, a plan it refuses to stop pushing despite the Government of Israel’s adamant opposition and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon’s admission to Congress in October 2021 that the United States, under international law, would ‘need to get the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility.’
“The Biden Administration’s decision is wrong and not how America should treat Israel, one of our closest allies in the world. As sponsors of the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 to withhold funding for a U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Israel’s capital, we unequivocally oppose the Biden Administration’s decision and will use every tool at our disposal to stop it in the 117th Congress and afterward
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today questioned David Maurstad, the Senior Executive of the National Flood Insurance Program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on the algorithm FEMA uses to set new, higher flood insurance rates.
Below are key excerpts from the exchange.
Kennedy: “I believe that FEMA and the Biden administration have made their decision with respect to flood insurance. I regret that, but I believe that’s a fact. And most of my people in Louisiana understand at this juncture that the only place they’re going to find lower food prices, cheaper gas, a cleaner, safer environment and affordable insurance is in the voting booth. Because my people, most of them, and I think most Americans, have concluded that Republicans aren't perfect but the other side is crazy.
“Now, about 500,000 people in my state have flood insurance. And despite what some people say, these are not multimillionaires in multimillionaire homes on the beach. These are working people. And there are people in the United States Congress who claim to be for the little guy, but they don't really like him or her very much.”
. . .
Kennedy: “Why won't FEMA share its algorithm with the American people?”
Maurstad: “Thank you, sir. And, you know, we look forward to continuing to work with you. We've shared the algorithm. We've put forward on the on our website, the methodology—”
Kennedy: “No, you haven’t. No, you haven’t, Mr. Administrator.”
. . .
Kennedy: “Well, if I sent you a [public information] request, and I said, ‘Look, I want the algorithm so I can hire somebody to review this algorithm to see what clairvoyant people are telling us about climate change and what's going to happen in America over the next 150 years,’ would you give me that algorithm?”
Maurstad: “As I said, we already have, and we responded to a letter—”
Kennedy: “No, you haven’t. I want the algorithm so I can hire some experts to look at it and either say ‘This thing is watertight,’ or, ‘It’s grossly political,’ or somewhere in between.”
Video of the full exchange is here.
WASHINGTON – An amendment modeled on Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)’s Unclaimed Savings Bond Act today passed the Senate Finance Committee. The amendment would help Americans claim more than $29 billion in unredeemed savings bonds, including $337 million that belong to the people of Louisiana.
“The heart of the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act is finally heading to the Senate floor so that we can make sure states have what they need to get billions of dollars to the rightful owners. The Treasury has sat on money that should be in Americans’ pockets for too long—including more than $300 million that belong to Louisianians. Louisianians pay their taxes faithfully, and Washington needs to pay out these savings bonds,” said Kennedy.
The Treasury Department is currently holding more than $29 billion in matured, unredeemed U.S. savings bonds, most of which the Treasury deems lost, stolen, destroyed or “unclaimed.” Many of these bonds were issued more than 70 years ago and have matured—meaning they no longer earn interest for bondholders.
In cases in which bonds are not physically possessed by their rightful holders, only the Treasury has the names and addresses of the original bond owners. The Treasury also has the serial numbers needed to claim the bond proceeds.
The Treasury has not taken any significant actions to proactively reunite bonds with their rightful owners despite its relaunch of Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to locate bond information, at Kennedy’s request. Individual states, however, conduct programs that reconnect their citizens with unclaimed property.
Kennedy’s legislation would require the Treasury to provide states information about matured and unclaimed bonds so these states can use unclaimed property programs to help find the original owners (or heirs of those original owners) of these bonds.
Text of the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act is available here.