U.S. Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Secures Key Provisions in Fiscally Conservative Agriculture Appropriations Bill To Protect Louisiana Coast
Jul 20 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that FEMA will invest $7.7 million in funds for the elevation and reconstruction of 83 additional properties in Jefferson Parish, specifically in and around Lafitte. The elevation and reconstruction of these structures will improve flood-resistant housing and significantly reduce the potential of those structures to sustain flood damage.
“This is a smart use of money through FEMA,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Lafitte has experienced 14 tropical storms in the last 25 years. These people have experienced a lot of damage and it’s about time they see some relief so they’re not fearful every time it rains.”
“It’s a wonderful thing what Sen. Kennedy and the rest of the delegation has done to help Lafitte,” said Mayor Kerner. “With all of the important things that are going on around the world, it means a lot that Lafitte is still a top priority.”
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.
Jul 14 2017
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.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Dr. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) announced today that the latest version of the health care bill corrects a funding issue that would have treated Louisiana unfairly compared to other states.
“This unfair treatment would have cost Louisiana $2 billion in health care funding. This was a legitimate issue that needed to be fixed, and I’m pleased to say it has been,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Now we can focus on creating a health care system that actually works.”
“The problem with Obamacare is that it picks winners and losers. As we repeal and replace Obamacare we need to do so with something that is fair to all Americans. This draft resolves a Louisiana specific issue and I look forward to working to ensure it meets all of President Trump’s goals,” said Sen. Cassidy.
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Secures Promise From FBI Director Nominee, Christopher Wray, That He Will Help NOLA Crime Epidemic
Jul 12 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), while questioning the nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray, today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, secured a promise that the potential FBI director will help New Orleans’ growing crime problem.
“We have an extraordinary crime problem in New Orleans. The city is rapidly becoming the murder and armed robbery capital of the western hemisphere. Something needs to change before New Orleans becomes the next Detroit,” said Sen. Kennedy. “That’s why I asked Mr. Wray if I could count on him to give the city of New Orleans advice and help with our growing crime problem. Because right now the city of New Orleans is losing its fight against crime.”
Mr. Wray responded to the Senator’s request saying: “Sen. (Kennedy), you can count on me to take a hard look and figure out how we can be more effective in New Orleans.”
To watch Sen. Kennedy’s questioning of Christopher Wray, click below:
Jul 12 2017
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that Louisiana will benefit from more than $45 million in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for coastal projects.
The funding includes:
- $28,785,121 to restore 380 acres of coastal marsh habitat and protect the marsh from damaging wind-generated waves. This project is located in Cameron Parish.
- $16.7 million to protect fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The funding will focus on the sustainability of Bluefin tuna, blue crabs, oysters and other species found in the Gulf. LSU will receive $2 million of the overall funding to assess how marshes are influenced by river diversions.
“Our coastal marsh habitats and the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem are the bread and butter of many Louisiana families, and they have been for generations,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Future generations are depending on us to sustain this way of life through science and research.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate leadership have granted a request by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sens. Perdue, Daines, Strange, Tillis, Ernst, Lankford, Rounds, Sullivan and Lee to work during the August recess.
“I’m pleased Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate leadership have agreed to delay the August recess for two weeks. I would prefer to stay the entire month of August, but I will take what I can get. This delay of recess is not just about health care, it’s about tax reform, infrastructure, the debt ceiling, the budget, and the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I am ready to work in order to deliver meaningful results to the American people.”
Click the photo below to watch the Senator’s comments on the delay of August recess on Fox News: