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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today urged homeowners impacted by the 2016 Louisiana flooding to submit applications for recovery assistance by the end of the month. 

More than 4,000 homeowners submitted initial paperwork but neglected to turn in completed applications.  They risk losing the opportunity for recovery assistance through the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program unless their applications are submitted by Oct. 1.

To reach Restore Louisiana, visit http://restore.la.gov/.

“The flooding devastated homeowners across Louisiana.  It touched nearly every parish,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I don’t want you to lose the opportunity for help to recover and rebuild.  If you flooded, then you need to apply for assistance.  Apply even if you think you don’t meet the qualifications.  These funds exist to help you.”

 

Dear Senator John Kennedy:

Thank you for your ongoing efforts and service in helping survivors rebuild and recover from the devastating floods of 2016. We are reaching out to inform you that the Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program has set a deadline of October 1, 2018 for homeowners to submit an application for flood recovery assistance. This deadline only applies to just under 4,100 qualified homeowners who have submitted the initial program survey, were invited to apply and have not yet submitted their formal application.

At this time, I am requesting your assistance in ensuring the eligible homeowners in your district who were impacted by the March and/or August floods of 2016 are aware of the approaching application deadline. Our records indicate that there are 4045 homeowners in the state who qualify and have not yet completed their application. Because the Program will be unable to consider homeowners for future assistance who have not submitted an application by the October 1 deadline, regardless of any future change in policy, we are urging them to act soon.  We are also underway with outreach efforts including emails, text messages, phone calls, and mailers to this targeted set of qualified homeowners. 

If your office is willing to contact these homeowners who are potentially eligible for the Program, please contact us to request the list of names and we will facilitate your efforts for outreach.

Since 2016, our state has made great strides as we moved from immediate response efforts to long-term recovery, but we still have a long way to go. We’ve already processed 92% of all applications and anticipate that we will process all applications by the end of the year. To date, the Restore Homeowner Assistance Program has offered over $473 million in grant funds to more than 13,900 homeowners to repair or reconstruct their flood-damaged homes. We’ve successfully provided funds to homeowners faster than any other homeowner recovery program in the nation and we continue to increase our speed and efficiency in getting much-needed dollars in the hands of those still working to recover.

Furthermore, Governor John Bel Edwards has been working steadfastly with Louisiana’s Congressional Delegation, the Restore Louisiana Task Force, and the Office of Community Development to change the federal policies related to the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that have created a duplication of benefits (DOB) penalty preventing roughly 10,000 flood-impacted Louisianans from participating in the Restore  Program whether they accepted all, some, or none of the loans. We continue to closely track all legislation related to potential changes in how SBA loans are considered a DOB and currently await further clarification and guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to understand how language passed in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 or future legislation may affect the program.

 

Thank you in advance for helping to make your constituents aware of the upcoming deadline. We appreciate your efforts to provide safer, stronger, and more resilient communities for the people of Louisiana.

Sincerely,

Pat Forbes

Executive Director

Office of Community Development

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee resumed its questioning of U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.  U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, asked Judge Kavanaugh more questions today about past precedent, judicial opinions and Judge Kavanaugh’s commitment to diversity in law clerk hiring.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy question Judge Kavanaugh:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, the nominee to be the next associate justice for the U.S. Supreme Court, in the Senate Judiciary Committee this evening. 

“You have been nominated for the most powerful, un-elected position in the most powerful country in all of human history,” Sen. Kennedy told Judge Kavanaugh.  “There is no margin for error.  We’ve gotta get this right.”

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy question Judge Kavanaugh:

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“I want someone who is willing to protect the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and understands that the Bill of Rights is not an a la carte menu.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, in the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) delivered his opening statement on Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full remarks:

What Sen. Kennedy is seeking in a Supreme Court justice: I want a judge. I don’t want a politician. I am not looking for an ideologue.  I’m not looking for a hater.  What I am looking for is somebody who is whip-smart, who is intellectually curious, who writes cleanly and crisply, who knows what a semicolon is for and who is willing to protect the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and understands that the Bill of Rights is not an a la carte menu. 

Anger is dividing this country: We’ve been divided before and we’ll be divided again.  We will survive this, but I confess that the division in our country today seems to be especially sharp.  And what concerns me so much about the division is the basis for it.  It’s not honest disagreement.  So much of it is anger.

Judges aren’t there to bypass the ballot: It’s not the United States Supreme Court that’s supposed to fix this country culturally, economically, socially, spiritually.  It’s almost become cliché, but the role of a judge is - or at least should be – to determine what the law is and not what the law ought to be.  Judges are not put there to try to bypass the ballot.  Courts should not try to fix problems that are within the province of the United States Congress.

Leave politics out of it: So many Americans believe that the law, which I think all of us revere, has just become politics pursued in another way.  That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.  That’s not what I’m looking for.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Peter Strasser for U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  

“Peter has an impressive resume and the trial experience needed to lead this office,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “He is a seasoned prosecutor who will smoothly transition into the job.  I congratulate him on his confirmation.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) applauded the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Barry Ashe for U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  

“Barry is well-qualified to serve as a U.S. District Judge in Louisiana, and I know he’s ready to get to work,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I congratulate Barry on his confirmation.  He brings an impressive amount of legal experience to the bench.  I know he will serve well.”

“Mr. Ashe’s qualifications and professionalism made him an obvious choice for this position,” said Dr. Cassidy. “I want to congratulate Barry and his family, and I’m certain he will do well in his new role.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the death of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):

“I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said every man is born an original, but, sadly, most men die copies.  John McCain was born an original and died an original.  He was frank.  He was passionate.  He was tough as a boot.  He loved his family, his country and the U.S. Senate.  I will never forget his many kindnesses to me when I first joined the Senate.  America has lost a favorite son.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) bill, S.2896 the Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act, also known as the JACK Act, passed the U.S. Senate today.  The JACK Act requires lobbyists to disclose if they have ever been convicted of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion or money laundering in their lobbying disclosure and registration forms. 

The bill’s title refers to Jack Abramoff, who didn’t have to disclose his prison sentence for public bribery and other crimes when he re-registered as a lobbyist last year.  The JACK Act will ensure that members of the public know who is representing them in Washington.

“This idea is simple: If you have been convicted of a felony like bribery, extortion, embezzlement or tax evasion, you should have to disclose that when registering to become a lobbyist.  Corrupt lobbyists need to be brought into the sunlight, especially if they’re wearing $6,000 suits purchased with the money from prior misdeeds,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Political leaders and businesses need to know the backgrounds of those who are trying to influence public policy.  These corrupt lobbyists are the worst kind of swamp creatures, and they need a one-way ticket out of Washington.”

“I was proud to work with my dear friend Sen. Kennedy on this bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will ensure businesses know who is representing them in Washington, D.C.  Currently, lobbyists don’t need to disclose if they have been convicted of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, illegal kickbacks, tax evasion or money laundering when they register to become a lobbyist, or to the businesses they could be representing and the Congressional offices they could be meeting with.  That’s absurd.  This legislation will ensure that felons have to be upfront about their past,” Sen. Manchin said. 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that the Livingston Parish School Board will receive $11,019,050.42 from FEMA to help build a new Denham Springs Elementary School.  The previous school was damaged beyond repair by the 2016 flooding.

“Livingston Parish was ground zero for the 2016 flooding,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Grants like these will help us rebuild our communities and help us become more resilient than ever before.” 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that four of his amendments were adopted into H.R.6157, the Minibus Appropriations bill, which cleared the Senate.  The amendments tackle the waste of taxpayer dollars by forcing the Department of Labor to address the increased number of improper payments and by halting the award of defense contracts to companies with delinquent tax bills.

The minibus includes funding for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.  The Senate has now passed nine of 12 spending bills, containing 90% of discretionary spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.

“This package is one of the many reasons why I joined my colleagues earlier this year in calling for the cancelation of August recess.  We need to help American taxpayers thrive,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We can reduce the deficit simply by spending taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars wisely.  We need to have a zero tolerance policy on improper payments, and we need to stop rewarding contractors who refuse to pay their taxes.”

Sen. Kennedy Amendments:

  • Stopping fraud and waste
    • Department of Labor programs have a growing problem of paying workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits to people who shouldn’t receive them.
    • In Fiscal Year 2017, the Department of Labor made $4.1 billion in improper payments.
    • Some of these payments are simply because government employees goofed and paid people too much.
    • We need to get a handle on this escalating problem.
    • This amendment will force the Department of Labor to develop a plan to reduce these overpayments.
  • Not rewarding contractors who fail to pay their taxes
    • Companies are winning federal contracts even though they’re not paying their IRS bills.
    • DTM Corporation received $137 million in contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense despite owing $5.2 million in taxes.
    • Next year’s deficit is projected to top $1 trillion.
    • We cannot afford to reward contractors with big contracts when they’re not paying their taxes.
    • This amendment will prohibit defense contractors who are delinquent on their taxes from receiving federal contracts.
  • Withholding taxpayer dollars from Iran
    • Iran is allowing terrorism to flourish, endangering America’s long-term national security.
    • Iran sent weapons to conflicts in Yemen and Syria in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
    • We should not financially support Iran.
    • This amendment prohibits any Department of Defense funds from being used to aid Iran.
  • Preventing suicides
    • The Senate agreed to increase funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from $7.198 million to $10 million.
    • Suicide rates in Louisiana have increased nearly 30% since 1999.
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential help 24 hours a day.
    • The Senate voted 95-0 Tuesday in favor of this amendment.

 

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