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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate this afternoon to talk about the rising costs of health insurance.  Full video of his remarks are below.

“Obamacare was sold as something that would solve America’s health care problems.  Instead, we’ve seen costs soar more than 25%, and fewer and fewer insurance options available in the marketplace,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “It is now clearer than ever that Obamacare has failed to live up to its promises.  Americans should not be forced to buy insurance they don’t like at prices they can’t afford. We need more choice, more competition, less fraud, and a health care delivery system that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not Washington politicians and bureaucrats.  Americans deserve better than Obamacare.” 

Click the photo below to watch the floor speech:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed a series of amendments today to the Senate health care bill.  Sen. Kennedy released the following statement along with a brief summary of the amendments.

“The American people need a health care system that looks like someone designed it on purpose,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The Senate health care bill as it stands today is far from perfect.  However, it is better than the unmitigated disaster that is Obamacare.  I submitted a series of amendments to the health care bill that will help provide better, more affordable and accessible care to all Americans.”

Senator Kennedy filed the following amendments:

  • An amendment that reflects the spirit of the Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017 by requiring all states to implement a work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents who receive Medicaid funds. Exemptions from the work requirement include:
    • pregnant women
    • an individual who is under 19 years of age
    • an individual who is a regular participant in a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program
    • an individual who is the sole parent or caretaker for a child under the age of 6 or a disabled child.
    • an individual who is married or a head of household and has not attained 20 years of age and who
      • (i) maintains satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or the equivalent; or
      • (ii) participates in a job training program.
  • An amendment to require emergency room doctors to be in the same network as their hospital so that patients do not wind up with unexpected, exorbitant medical bills.
  • An amendment to require a better explanation in writing of the medical services that a patient received.  Making the process more transparent will help patients verify the accuracy of their bills.
  • An amendment to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a national strategy for reducing fraud, waste, abuse, and other improper payments in the Medicaid program.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted on a key procedural vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  Sen. Kennedy released the following statement about his vote:

“Obamacare is a dismal failure.  In the past eight years under the ‘Affordable’ Care Act, we have seen premiums around the country skyrocket.  In Louisiana alone we have seen premiums increase 123%.  Obamacare as we know it is not sustainable, it is not accessible, and it is nowhere near affordable.  I made a promise to the people of Louisiana that I would repeal Obamacare given the chance.  Today, I worked to fulfill that promise,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver a health care system to the American people that looks like it was designed on purpose.”

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that Louisiana will receive more than $6.8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for cancer prevention and control programs as well as maternal and child health services.  

“I want to thank the U .S. Department of Health and Human Services for these funds,” said Sen. Kennedy.   “This money plays a vital role in ensuring that doctors and health care providers have access to necessary tools to both prevent and treat cancer in Louisiana.  I am also grateful for the funds directed towards medical programs that help mothers and children across our state.”

The grants are as followed:

  • Louisianan State University HSC: $2,994,553.00
    • Cancer Prevention and Control Programs for State, Territorial and Tribal Organizations
  • Louisiana Departments of Health and Hospitals: $3,887,393.00
    • Maternal and Child Health Services

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA.) announced today that the FY2018 agriculture appropriations bill saves American taxpayers $7.9 billion while still funding critical programs, including helping Louisiana fight an epidemic that is rapidly eroding the state’s coastline.

Discretionary and mandatory funding in the Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill is more than $7 billion below current funding levels.

The bill directs federal agencies to develop a plan for eradicating the Roseau cane mealy bug that is threatening Louisiana’s coast.  The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the bill today

“I cannot stress enough the importance of destroying this bug.  It is gobbling up our marshes faster than Pac-Man, and I’m not being flippant.  This little bug is decimating all the progress we’ve made on slowing coastal erosion,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Anyone who lives in Louisiana knows that we have been in a battle to save our disappearing coastline.  This bug threatens every single advancement we’ve made.”

Sen. Kennedy also voted in favor of an amendment that forbids the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using taxpayer funds to inspect horse slaughter factories.  This amendment will curtail the horrific slaughter of horses.  Louisiana is home to wild horses in the Kisatchie National Forest and other areas of central Louisiana.

Bill Highlights:

Agricultural Research –$2.55 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Cottonseed - Language is included to make cottonseed eligible for Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage payments beginning with the 2018 crop year and the Dairy Margin Protection Program would receive adjusted production margins.

  • Cottonseed is a valuable commodity for Louisiana cotton farmers, and now it will be eligible for loss coverage.  This will help our Louisiana farming families from devastating losses.

National Finance Center – Language directing Congressional support of the recovery efforts related to the tornado that destroyed the National Finance Center located in New Orleans, which displaced nearly 1,300 USDA employees.  It also reassures our commitment to keeping those jobs in New Orleans by restricting the USDA from relocating the National Finance Center without congressional approval.

  • This Louisiana-based center is an important part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  It handles payroll and human resources for employees across more than 100 federal agencies.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – $953.2 million to continue programs that control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases threatening U.S. agriculture production.

  • An estimated 225,000 acres of wetlands in the Mississippi River’s Delta region along the Gulf of Mexico have been impacted by an invasive bug that is destroying marshland.  The Committee has agreed to direct work to begin on the development of an integrated management program for control of the Roseau cane scale insect pest infestation. 

Farm Service Agency (FSA) – $1.521 billion for FSA for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs important to the nation’s farmers and ranchers.  It prohibits the closure of FSA county offices, and provides resources for personnel and physical security programs across county offices.

  • The Farm Service Agency has an office in Alexandria, LA.  This agency granted nearly $500 million in assistance to our Louisiana farmers and ranchers in Fiscal Year 2016.

Rural Development – $675.3 million for Rural Development salaries and expenses, the same level as FY2017. Louisiana is a major recipient of these funds each year from various accounts within the Rural Development program.

  • Business and Industry Loans – The legislation supports $1 billion in grants and loans for rural business and industry programs that promote small business growth in rural areas.  The bill includes funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative to improve access to affordable, healthy foods in underserved areas.
  • Rural Utilities – $1.25 billion for rural water and waste program loans, the same as the FY2017 enacted level; $394 million for water and waste grants, and $18 million for the Circuit Rider program.  The bill also provides $6.94 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans and $30 million for broadband grants.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – $2.8 billion in discretionary funding for the FDA, $1 million over the FY2017 enacted level.  Overall, total FDA funding, including user fee revenues, is $5.2 billion, which is $491 million above FY2017.  The bill does not support new user fees or the associated cuts to budget authority as proposed in the budget request.  Food safety activities are fully supported, and the bill provides $60 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act. 

 

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved record funding for the Army Corps of Engineers.  This funding package will allow the Corps to tackle critical programs and projects, including important flood control and dredging work in Louisiana.

The Fiscal Year 2018 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill contains $6.2 billion in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers. 

“As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, I have fought to secure funding that is vital to Louisiana families and businesses,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Waterways are to Louisiana what the oil wells are to Texas and the orange groves are to California.  They are our lifeblood, but they also must be safeguarded and maintained.  This bill accomplishes that.  I will work with Lt. Gen. Semonite to ensure that Louisiana’s priorities are met.  My work on behalf of Louisiana isn’t over.”

Sen. Kennedy’s priorities going forward include:

  • Finishing the Comite River Diversion Canal.
  • Dredging Louisiana’s shipping channels, from Calcasieu to the Atchafalaya, to the Mississippi River to the Red River all the way down to the Houma Navigational Canal.
  • Ensuring that homes and businesses across Louisiana are better protected from devastating flooding.
  • Investing in and maintaining water-centered commerce and infrastructure.

Bill Highlights:

Army Corps of Engineers- Provides record funding of $6.2 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers.  Included in the funding is the following:

  • Provides $1.7 billion for their construction account.
    • The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project can compete for funding from a $20 million pool in order to continue construction in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes.
  • Provides $3.48 billion for the Corps Operation and Maintenance account.
    • At least $160 million will be dedicated to levee protection, dredging, river bed cleanup and debris removal in Louisiana.
  • Provides $375 million for the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MRT) account.
    • The operation and maintenance of the Tensas Basin, the Atchafalaya Basin, the Baton Rouge Harbor, Bayou Cocodrie, Bonnet Care and other tributaries will benefit.
  •  Provides $1.34 billion the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF).  This represents a $40 million increase from last year.

Delta Regional Authority- The bill provided $25 million, which includes $10 million set aside for flood control, basic public infrastructure development and transportation improvements for the eight states of the Delta region, which include Louisiana.

  • To date, the Delta Regional Authority has invested in more than 200 projects providing more than $28 million in projects in Louisiana.

Department of Energy- This bill also provides stable funding for the Department of Energy.  The bill prioritizes and increases funding for energy programs that encourage U.S. economic competitiveness and that will advance an “all-of-the-above” solution to U.S. energy independence. 

  • Includes $4 million to support the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence. This program was created after the passage of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014.

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that Denham Springs, the East Baton Rouge School Board, and Baton Rouge will receive more than $6 million from FEMA for public assistance after the August floods.

“The August floods damaged thousands of homes, schools, and businesses across the Capital Region.  Many Louisianans are still struggling to rebuild almost a year after the disaster,” said Sen. Kennedy.   “I want to thank FEMA for helping our communities rebuild.”

According to FEMA, the grants are:

  • Denham Springs: $1,467,847.21
  • The award provides federal funding to Denham Springs, for the replacement of gas meters damaged as a result of the 2016 August Floods.
  • East Baton Rouge School Boards: $1,646,402
  • The award provides federal funding to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board for remediation activities at Glen Oaks Park High School as a result of the 2016 August Floods.
  • Baton Rouge: $2,910,406.39
  • The award provides federal funding to East Baton Rouge Parish for work associated with replacing Baton Rouge Police Department vehicles which were damaged beyond repair as a result of the 2016 August Floods.

 

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will allocate a total of $326,930 in funds to help Louisiana fight the opioid epidemic.  This is in addition to the $8.1 million Sen. Kennedy helped secure for Louisiana in April.

“Opioid addiction is a dire problem in our state, and we must work together to help our Louisiana families who are battling this epidemic,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am grateful for these funds that will allow us to continue to fight against opioid related deaths and prevent families from being torn apart.”

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted this week in favor of record-shattering funding for U.S. troops, veterans and their families and critical infrastructure projects on military bases.

“I’m as fiscally conservative as they come, but I will not skimp on funding for our troops and our veterans,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I want to ensure that our troops and our veterans receive top notch medical care and that we maintain Barksdale Air Force Base, Fort Polk and the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans in Belle Chasse by investing in important infrastructure projects critical to their mission.”

The FY2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill was the first appropriations bill to come before the Senate Committee on Appropriations.  It was unanimously approved.  The highlights of the bill include:

  • $70.1 billion for VA medical care, including treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, women veterans and traumatic brain injury patients.
  • $9.5 billion for military construction projects on bases in the U.S. and around the world.  This is a $1.8 billion increase from FY2017.
  • $1.4 billion for military family housing.
  • $556 million for medical facilities that care for 9.8 million people as well as injured troops abroad.

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WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Economic Development Administration will spend nearly $1 million to resolve a flooding problem that is impacting 47 businesses at West Monroe Industrial Park.

“This money will be used to build a storm water and drainage system at the Industrial Park,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “A number of businesses are experiencing flooding problems that threaten their economic viability.  When business suffers, jobs suffer.”

To learn more about the EDA’s funding process, please visit www.eda.gov.

 

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