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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and staff from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship met in Youngsville, LA., today to identify issues that are impeding the economic growth of farmers, shrimpers and small business owners in Acadiana.

Sen. Kennedy heard from Bill Dore, vice president of Supreme Rice, Michael Comb, general manager for Louisiana Sugar Cane Cooperative, Angela Portier, owner and operator of Faith Family Shrimp, Heidi Melancon, director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Joseph A. Laroski, senior adviser of policy in the Office of the Under Secretary for International Trade at the International Trade Administration.

“I want to thank Chairman Jim Risch and ranking member Jeanne Shaheen for allowing me to take the committee on the road to Youngsville,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Louisiana was founded by farmers and fishermen.  Today, there are 28,000 farms and a $2.4 billion seafood industry in Louisiana.  We want to know what challenges they are facing so that we can eliminate them and help families prosper.”

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy at the Small Business Field Hearing in Youngsville, La.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced a $26,114,094 grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation that will help fund a new terminal at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport. Efforts are under way to update and improve the airport.

“This money will help New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport move forward to meet the demands of tourists as well as residents,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “As Louisiana’s tourism industry continues to grow, it is essential that we have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the increased number of visitors to our state.  We also need to help residents get to destinations across the globe.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the total amount of the grant is $26,114,094.  These funds are to be used to help construct the new terminal’s apron.  This will fund the final phase of the apron construction.  The apron is the area of concrete in between the runway and the physical terminal.

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BATON ROUGE- U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) toured flood recovery efforts in the Baton Rouge area today with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.  Sec. Carson was invited to Louisiana by Sen. Kennedy to visit areas of Louisiana that were impacted by the historic flooding a year ago.

“I would like to thank Sec. Carson and his wife, Candy, for accepting my invitation to come down to Louisiana to tour the flood damage and witness firsthand the efforts being made by local, state, and federal officials to recover, fully, from the devastating flood last year,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It is imperative that we continue to work together, both at the local and national level, to make sure our communities have every avenue available to rebuild stronger than ever.”

Sen. Kennedy pictured with Sec. Carson, his wife Candy, and Rep. Garret Graves at FEMA’s regional recovery office.

 

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today about the anniversary of the devastating floods that hit Louisiana a year ago:

“The August 2016 floods were unprecedented and catastrophic.  Many people fled the floodwaters with just the clothes on their back.  They lost everything, from their homes to their family photo albums,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The entire Louisiana delegation has worked hard to help our homeowners and business owners rebuild.  I know that there continue to be struggles, but I am hopeful that we are well on the road to recovery.”

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today asked East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome for further details on how federal tax dollars addressed violence among juveniles in Baton Rouge’s most crime-ridden zip codes.  His letter was in response to a report that the mayor-president released on the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) program.

“Only 63 youths in Baton Rouge appear to have benefitted from $2 million in BRAVE expenditures between 2012 and 2016, according to media reports,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We could have bought each kid a car with that much money.  Where did the money go?  How was each kid’s life improved?  These are serious questions that need to be addressed, especially considering that part of the money was spent on a public relations consultant and a cosmetology expert.”

 

Text of the letter:

 

August 9, 2017

The Honorable Sharon Weston Broome

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President

222 Saint Louis St.

3rd Floor

Baton Rouge, LA. 70802

 

Dear Mayor-President Broome:

I recently wrote to you about the expenditure of federal taxpayer money in the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination (BRAVE) program.  After reading the report you just released, I remain concerned.

 

BRAVE funds are supposed to be used to address violent juvenile crime in the 70805 and 70802 zip codes of Baton Rouge.  Only 63 youths in Baton Rouge appear to have benefitted from $2 million in BRAVE expenditures between 2012 and 2016, according to media reports.

 

By my math, that’s more than $30,000 per youth.  Please explain in detail how this money was spent, how the City-Parish is measuring the degree to which these kids were helped and the status of each juvenile today.   

 

I also continue to have concerns about the “expedited” contracts entered into in order to hurriedly spend some of the remaining grant money.  I believe there needs to be a complete accounting.  Who selected these consultants?  What process did your administration use to select them?  Were other competing proposals and consultants considered?  Did you use a competitive selection process?  How was each consulting contract amount determined?  What formal process is in place to measure the results of these consultants?  What metrics were part of that process?  Why does the program need a public relations consultant?  Why does the program need a cosmetology expert given the short amount of time remaining before the grant expired? 

 

Crime is an ever-growing problem in Baton Rouge, and our young people are caught in the crosshairs of it.  Our law enforcement need every resource we can give them to fight crime and to help our young people.  Our community officials and our taxpayers deserve answers on how the $2 million of BRAVE money was spent while helping only 63 of our kids.

 

Thank you in advance for your prompt response.

 

                                                                        Sincerely,

 

 

                                                                        John Kennedy

                                                                        U.S. Senator

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Targeting Child Predators Act.  Sen. Kennedy introduced this bill with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) and John Cornyn (R-Tx.).  This bill was originally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ron DeSantis (Fl.-06) and was passed by the House on May 22.

“I am proud to introduce the Targeting Child Predators Act in the Senate.  This bill makes a simple, common sense change to our law that will give law enforcement officials more time to catch and stop child predators,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It is imperative that we give law enforcement every tool available to hunt these criminals down before more children are hurt, abused, and exploited.” 

“I applaud Senators Kennedy, Hatch and Cornyn for standing up for vulnerable children by introducing the Targeting Child Predators Act in the Senate.  This bill will give law enforcement the tools they need to find and prosecute child predators.  The House has already passed the Targeting Child Predators Act, and I hope the Senate will similarly act swiftly,” said Rep. DeSantis. 

Under current law, law enforcement often obtain the IP address of a suspected child predator and then subpoena Internet Service Providers (ISP) for the user information attached to the IP address.  The ISP can then inform the suspected child predator of law enforcement’s request for their information.  Once the suspect knows about the law enforcement inquiry, they often wipe their accounts clean and disappear.  This bill amends current law to allow law enforcement to require that the ISP’s not tell the suspected child predator that their information was requested for a limited period of 180 days.  This will enable law enforcement to more effectively prosecute criminals who take advantage of children.  

 

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that he has co-sponsored the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.  This bill invests in the long-term educational success of our nation’s veterans by eliminating the 15-year period a veteran has to use the G.I. Bill, giving them more time to use their benefits in their professional career.  It also provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists undergoing medical care and full G.I. benefits for Purple Heart recipients regardless of their length of service.

“This bill invests in members of our military who have made countless sacrifices for our country by allowing a long term commitment for the education and well-being of our veterans,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Our veterans deserve the best experience they can get after their service, and I believe that eliminating the 15-year period in the original G.I. Bill from 1944 is essential in getting our veterans back into the workforce.”

For more information on the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 please click the following link here.  If signed into law, the elimination of the 15-year limit on G.I. Bill usage would apply to members of the military whose separation date is January 1, 2013 or after.  Separation dates before January 1, 2013 would still be subject to the 15-year delimiting date.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement after the latest vote on Obamacare repeal:

“The vote last night is not a loss for the Republican Party.  It’s a loss for the American people.  Obamacare has not worked.  I made a promise to the people of Louisiana, and I kept that promise last night when I voted to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Forty-eight other Republicans stood with me, and I want you to know I will not quit until all Louisianans and all Americans have access to affordable health insurance through a health care delivery system that looks like somebody designed it on purpose.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) is now a co-sponsor of The Wounded Officers Recovery Act, S. 1608.  This bill will allow Capitol Police officers injured in the line of duty to receive benefits from the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.  Under the current rules, only families of officers who are killed can access that fund.

“The U.S. Capitol Police are critical to the safety of everyone who visits and works at the U.S. Capitol.  They risk their lives simply by showing up for work,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This past June it was a godsend that they were there when a gunman decided to open fire on my friend and colleague Congressman Steve Scalise and others.  Without those brave officers, a massacre would have occurred.  We need to do everything we can for brave police officers, including Crystal Griner and David Bailey who stepped into the pathway of flying bullets that day.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted today in favor of a bill that adequately funds law enforcement, NASA and fisheries management while saving taxpayers more than $3 billion.  The bill includes important provisions for Louisiana’s recreational fishing industries, the enforcement of immigration laws and southeast Louisiana’s role in space exploration.

The Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act is $3.2 billion less than current spending levels.

“Nothing is more important to me than setting priorities and ending the government spending sprees,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This bill focuses on what is important, including strengthening our border security, investing in our fisheries and preserving Louisiana jobs vital to helping us delve into the pockets of deep space.”

Bill Highlights:

  • $5 million for a multi-state partnership with the National Marine Fisheries Service to examine red snapper fisheries management in the Gulf of Mexico.  Louisiana plays an important role in this partnership.
  • Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve red snapper stock assessments and increase recreational catch limits for recreational anglers. While all sectors have faced challenges in the Gulf, red snapper fisheries and recreational anglers have been especially impacted.
  • Healthy funding for NASA that prioritizes important programs that support jobs in Louisiana.  NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans will continue to work on the core stage of the rocket for the Space Launch Systems, as well as Orion, the crew capsule for the next generation of space flight.  Michoud is integral to the broader mission of eventually sending astronauts to Mars.
  • Puts an additional 65 immigration judges on the bench in order to cut through the backlog in pending cases due to heightened border enforcement efforts.
  • Increases funding, by $5 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.  Local law enforcement officers are essential to ensuring the safety of the public and play a critical role in preventing and responding to terrorist threats.
  • Includes a provision that requires all current and potential recipients of grant funding through the Department of Justice to be compliant with all federal laws, which include adhering to our nation’s immigration laws.
  • Includes a provision to give Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the first opportunity to take into custody and remove criminal illegal aliens.  This will ensure that these dangerous individuals are not improperly released into our communities.  
  • $48.34 million to investigate and prosecute the sexual exploitation of children across the U.S.
  • An additional $2 million to investigate trade law violations that are hurting American businesses. 

 

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