WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today authored an amendment to the upcoming federal government funding bill that would deliver $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana.
Housing aid for Hurricanes Laura and Delta would total $600 million, with $1.4 billion in housing aid for Hurricane Ida recovery. The amendment would also provide $500 million in funding to rebuild vital ports that the storms damaged.
“Our state took gut punches from a string of storms, and our people still need help. This $2.5 billion would address major housing needs in southwest Louisiana and communities across the state. Louisianians are hardworking, but they’re hurting. They shouldn’t face rebuilding after these historic hurricanes alone. The White House knows that and has failed to act,” said Kennedy.
The White House has failed to send Congress a formal request for disaster aid, without which Senate Democrats are not expected to approve additional disaster funding.
Kennedy fought for nearly $600 million in disaster relief to be included in the short-term funding bill that became law after passing the Senate on Sept. 30, 2021. The legislation also extended the National Flood Insurance Program without raising the debt limit. This law provided $595 million to Louisiana.
He also spoke on the Senate floor ahead of the most recent funding extension to urge Congress not to forget Louisianians’ need for disaster relief aid in the upcoming government funding deal.
Kennedy is the only member of the Louisiana delegation who sits on an appropriations committee.
On Aug. 2, 2021, Kennedy offered an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill providing $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. The Senate blocked the amendment.
Text of today’s amendment is available here.
- On Feb. 18, Kennedy joined the Louisiana congressional delegation in urging leaders on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to dedicate additional disaster recovery funds for Louisiana.
- On Feb. 16, the Senate Small Business Committee passed the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to access disaster relief more easily in the wake of a natural disaster. Kennedy helped introduce the bill.
- On Oct. 19, 2021, the Senate passed the State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Fiscal Recovery, Infrastructure and Disaster Relief Flexibility Act, which Kennedy helped introduce. The bill would allow state governments to use unspent pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to provide relief for natural disaster victims and to invest in infrastructure needs. The bill is waiting for a vote in the House.
- On July 21, 2021, Kennedy joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief.
- On July 15, 2021, Kennedy introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from historic storms. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage.
- On May 18, 2021, Kennedy urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana.
- On Sept. 4, 2020, Kennedy wrote to Senate leadership, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), to request that the Senate consider emergency supplemental aid to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricane Laura.
Kennedy leads Louisiana delegation in urging Biden to speed disaster relief to Louisiana by resolving HUD, FEMA red tape
Mar 10 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging President Joe Biden to expedite disaster relief for Louisiana by removing a bureaucratic hurdle that has kept disaster aid that Congress set aside for Louisiana from reaching the state.
“The people of Louisiana were hit by 18 months of unprecedented disasters. . . . Congress responded by providing $5 billion in disaster relief aid through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (HUD),” the lawmakers wrote.
“It is our understanding that nearly $3 billion of the $5 billion set aside for disaster relief for natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, including Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Ida, is sitting untouched at HUD. The delay in allocating these funds is attributed to an expired data-sharing agreement between HUD and FEMA that significantly impairs FEMA’s ability to share damage assessments with HUD,” they continued.
“Unfortunately, without a solution in sight, Louisiana families are left paying the price for bureaucratic red tape. These funds are the lifeline our people need to get back on their feet and address the dire housing situation caused by these storms. We humbly request that you direct HUD and FEMA to quickly forge a data-sharing agreement between the two agencies,” they concluded.
The lawmakers also directed the letter to Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell.
The letter is available here.
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced his opposition to the government funding bill, which totals $1.5 trillion but provides no disaster relief to Louisiana. Kennedy introduced an amendment to provide $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana, but the Senate blocked the amendment.
“In 2020, Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana. Then Hurricane Marco hit us. Then Hurricane Delta hit us. Then Hurricane Zeta. Then Hurricane Ida, all in a period of two years. Those storms caused $150 billion in damage. My amendment, and Sen. Cassidy’s amendment, would appropriate $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana. That would include $600 million for housing aid for Hurricanes Laura and Delta, $1.4 billion in housing aid for Hurricane Ida. The amendment would also provide for $500 million in funding to rebuild Louisiana ports.
“I’m mindful of the fact, Madame President, that we should make sure this aid is paid for. I would remind everyone that, through the heroic efforts of Sen. Schatz and Sen. Cantwell, in which I played a small part, that we forced our FCC not to give away the C-Band to our telecommunications industry, and instead auctioned it out, in which case it brought in $81 billion. And I think we can spare a little bit of that for people who lost their homes and businesses through no fault of their own,” said Kennedy.
The funding bill’s misguided provisions and spending include, but are not limited to:
- $286 million for Planned Parenthood and up to $200 million to promote abortions abroad.
- $3.2 billion in subsidies for green energy and $78.3 million for green initiatives at the Department of Agriculture.
- $172 million for disaster relief for other countries.
- $9.5 million to support “diversity, equity and inclusion” at the United States Agency for International Development and $4 million to establish an Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the State Department.
- $220 million for the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery of Art.
- $45 million for great apes living in central Africa and Indonesia.
- No provisions to halt implementation of Risk Rating 2.0, a Federal Emergency Management Agency plan that raises flood insurance premiums on Louisianians.
The White House has failed to send Congress a formal request for Louisiana disaster aid, without which Senate Democrats are not expected to approve additional disaster funding.
In response, Kennedy introduced an amendment to this FY2022 funding bill that would deliver $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana.
Kennedy also fought for nearly $600 million in disaster relief to be included in the short-term funding bill that became law after passing the Senate on Sept. 30, 2021. This law provided $595 million to Louisiana.
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
Mar 09 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the statement below following a meeting with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to replace Judge Stephen Breyer as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet with Judge Jackson today, and I look forward to hearing more from her in the upcoming Judiciary Committee hearing,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy, Senate Banking Republicans urge Yellen to halt regulations that could hurt U.S. energy security
Mar 08 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Senate Banking Committee Republicans in calling on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to halt the Treasury Department and all Biden administration efforts to develop regulations that could limit American energy producers’ access to credit and capital.
“We write to express concern about the potential damaging effects to national security from the unprecedented efforts of federal financial agencies to develop regulations that some intend to use for limiting U.S. energy producers’ access to credit and capital. Such actions would begin to curtail the supply of domestic energy, leading to higher costs for American households and making our country and allies more vulnerable to the consequences of Russian aggression. The economic toll, as well as the destruction, casualties, and instability from Russia’s energy-based warfare are so significant that we urge you to immediately pause the development of all climate- and energy-related regulations within the Treasury Department and to urge all other federal financial regulators to follow suit,” the senators wrote.
The senators pointed out that, in the last several decades, the U.S. has gone from an importer to an exporter of energy while under one of the strictest environmental regulatory regimes in the world. Despite this success, senior officials from numerous federal financial regulators have indicated that they are working to implement policies that could curtail energy production.
“Most importantly, these efforts by financial regulators, coupled with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, jeopardize the need for energy security, both domestically and for our allies and trading partners. Accordingly, we call on you and President Biden to instruct the federal financial regulatory agencies, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to delay any regulatory initiatives on climate change and sustainability until the development of a detailed, comprehensive plan by the administration on energy security that takes into account the threat to global energy supplies from Russia and similar repressive regimes,” concluded the senators.
The senators also directed the letter to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the National Economic Council Director, the Federal Reserve Chair, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Acting Chair, the Securities and Exchange Commission Chair, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair, the National Credit Union Administration Chairman and the Acting Comptroller of the Currency.
The letter is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement following a phone call this morning with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“I just got off a conference call with President Zelenskyy. He has pilots, but he needs planes. His pilots aren’t trained to fly American planes, but European countries have planes that Ukrainian pilots can fly.
“President Zelenskyy said these European countries are waiting on the okay from the United States to loan him the planes. I made sure that President Zelenskyy knew he had my support, but I think they are all waiting to hear from the Biden administration. We need to help Ukraine now with the planes it needs, for God’s sake. This will not involve U.S. planes, pilots or troops.”
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7,501,483 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for southeast Louisiana in drainage and infrastructure improvements.
“These improvements to roads and drainage will help protect homes, businesses and school buildings in southeast Louisiana,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $3,331,783 for infrastructure improvements to combat erosion around Southern University.
- $3,033,100 for drainage improvements around West Colyell Creek and Buddy Ellis Road in Livingston Parish.
- $1,136,600 for storm system improvements around Groom Road in Baker, La.
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) explained the need to target Russia’s oil and gas industry following the Russian president’s invasion of Ukraine and condemned President Biden’s attack on America’s oil and gas industry.
Below are key excerpts from Kennedy’s remarks.
“There’s one thing I don’t get. We’re all in agreement that we need to kick Putin and Russia out of the international community, and the West is in agreement that we need to kick Putin and Russia out of the international marketplace. How do you do that without attacking his oil? How do you do that without attacking his natural gas?
“As I read the president’s sanctions, he hasn’t sanctioned all Russian banks, and he hasn’t thrown all Russian banks out of SWIFT. And why has he not done that? Because he wants to continue to allow Putin to sell his oil and natural gas.”
. . .
“I think that both Putin and Xi are taking advantage of the West’s—including but not limited to the United States’—frontal assault on oil and gas. If Europe stops purchasing oil and gas from Russia tomorrow—which is the only way you’re going to cut off his cash flow—then there’s going to be a deficit, and America’s got to fill it.
“And we can’t do that as long as the Biden administration is shutting down drilling in the Gulf, shutting down drilling in ANWAR, refusing to open the Keystone Pipeline, instructs FERC to hang all over the backs of every pipeline company in America, and I could go on and on and on.
“So, we can’t have it both ways, and that’s the issue that the president needs to address straight up with the American people. How are we going to win this struggle with Russia without attacking their oil and gas?
“Final point: I know Americans are really tired of foreign entanglement, but we’ve got to respond to this threat. Because, if we don’t, we’re going to wake up, and we’re going to see Russia dominant in central and eastern Europe, we’re going to see Iran dominant in the Middle East, and we’re going to see China dominant in East Asia, and it’s not going to be a safe place for America.”
. . .
“Name two countries who don’t give a damn about reducing CO2 emissions: Russia and China. Name other people in parts of the world that do care about reducing CO2 emissions: The West, Europe, the United States of America, John Kennedy—I care.
“The reduction of CO2 emissions is an important policy. So is national security. And what Russia and China have done here—they have taken advantage of the effort to reduce CO2 emissions, which, to the Biden administration, means a frontal assault on oil and gas.”
. . .
“I need you to ask my friend Secretary Yellen a question. We just gave Putin $18 billion in special drawing rights. Secretary Yellen said, ‘Oh, we’ve got to issue these special drawing rights—make the IMF do it—these gift cards.’ . . . She didn’t bother to explain that most of these gift cards, these special drawing rights, are going to the wealthiest countries. The small countries get the little end of nothing, and she just handed Vladimir Putin $18 billion, and we didn’t hear a word from her. And we didn’t hear a word from the IMF. You couldn’t have found them with a search party. You couldn’t have found them with Google. They just turned the money over. I’d be a little curious about that.”
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
Kennedy implored the Biden administration and Treasury Secretary Yellen not to approve tens of billions of U.S. dollars to fund dictators, including Putin and Xi Jinping, last year. Nevertheless, the Biden administration approved a $650 billion IMF allocation without Congressional approval.
Kennedy’s bill, the No Dollars for Dictators Act, would have prevented that $18 billion from flowing to Putin.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) in writing to Senate leaders Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to oppose more supplemental COVID relief funding. The senators pointed out that unused funds still exist from previous funding packages and that continuing to overspend will contribute to rising inflation.
Kennedy has also made it clear to Senate leadership that Congress has no business directing additional money to COVID spending when Washington Democrats refuse to pass disaster aid that states like Louisiana desperately need.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Congress has spent almost $6 trillion over two years through the enactment of six supplemental spending packages. While there was a need for an initial COVID response, billions in current unobligated COVID funds, 40-year high inflation, and the downward trends in COVID’s impact on our nation’s health and economic stability, make it clear that additional spending at this time is not warranted or appropriate,” the senators wrote.
“According to the latest information provided by the Congressional Budget Office, as of the end of January of this year, over $811 billion in COVID relief funds remain either unobligated or unspent. Given these balances, it is clear that additional funding is not needed at this time. For example, the Biden Administration has plans in place to send out one billion COVID tests and 400 million N95 masks, neither of which have any way to track their use. The Biden Administration acts as if they want new ways to spend money, not as if they are strapped for cash, as their recent $30 billion request may appear,” continued the senators.
“Dumping trillions of dollars into an American economy that was already on the rise has had crippling effects on this nation. Compared to January of 2021, food and grocery costs are up 7 percent, home heating costs are up over 46 percent, and used car prices are up over 40 percent. The federal government cannot continue to spend without regard to the impact on prices, the economy, and our constituents at home. It is clear that throwing even more money at COVID is unsustainable and irresponsible,” the senators concluded.
Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and other members of the Senate Banking Committee in writing to President Biden to express concern over his nomination of Sarah Raskin as Vice-Chair of Supervision on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
“As you are aware, members of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Banking) were compelled to deny a quorum for the markup scheduled for February 15, 2022, due to the simple fact that Ms. Raskin has continually failed to produce forthright answers to questions posed by committee members,” wrote the senators.
“. . . our actions to deny a quorum were not the result of Ms. Raskin’s radical public comments and beliefs about using federal financial supervisory powers to advance climate change policy. Rather, it was the continual evasion and lack of candor about her time on the board of Reserve Trust, a fintech trust company, where Ms. Raskin was a director from 2017 to 2019,” the senators continued.
“. . . Ms. Raskin has continually provided vague or nonresponsive answers to committee questions regarding her past use of the ‘revolving door.’ Her lack of candor raises the question of whether Ms. Raskin leveraged her past experience and relationships within the Federal Reserve System to obtain preferential treatment for Reserve Trust. Specifically, Reserve Trust had its first application for a Federal Reserve Master Account denied, but subsequently approved following a phone call from Ms. Raskin to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City,” continued the senators.
The senators listed several of Raskin’s obfuscations, including her failure to list her time and compensation at Reserve Trust on her committee questionnaire and her failure to answer repeated questions in her nomination hearing and in questions for the record about potential activities she undertook while at Reserve Trust to help the company obtain a Federal Reserve Master Account.
The senators asked Biden to direct Raskin to provide proper answers to certain questions about her past and to provide additional information on the process the Biden administration used to investigate Raskin’s background when nominating her.
“We share the same goal of honesty and transparency in government, especially among those nominated to the highest positions of your administration. However, without greater insight into Ms. Raskin’s past activities, we cannot, in good faith, support the advancement of her nomination process,” the senators concluded.
The letter is available here.