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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) urged his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to pass S. 1256, the Ghost Army Soldier Bill.  This bill would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 23rd Special Headquarters Troops and the 3133rd Signal Service Company from World War II.  Six of the members who served in these units are from Louisiana.  Sadly, only one of the six Louisiana heroes is alive today: Anderson B. Wilson of Slidell.  Sen. Kennedy called Mr. Wilson this morning to thank him for his service to our country.

“I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Ghost Army Soldier Bill.  This long overdue legislation will award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 23rd Special Headquarters Troops and the 3133rd Signal Service Company.  Without their dedication and fearless perseverance, Allied successes at the Battle of the Bulge and the final battles in Po Valley, Italy, would not have been possible,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Because of their bravery, up to 30,000 American soldiers were able to return home alive.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) returned Sunday from an official overseas trip to Belgium, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and France with members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

During the trip, Sen. Kennedy met with the heads of state, including presidents and defense ministers, in several countries to emphasize the importance of all members of NATO committing to an adequate level of defense spending given the global terrorism climate and heightened tensions with Russia and North Korea.  He also used the trip as an opportunity to promote Louisiana as an economic development leader.

“Louisiana is blessed with an abundance of natural resources.  In addition to being a leader in oil and natural gas production, our state produces high-quality agriculture and manufactured products.  As such, during this trip I focused specifically on selling Louisiana and our products to the countries that we visited,” said Sen. Kennedy.   “It's more important than ever to maintain strong economic ties with our allies overseas; that's why part of our mission for the trip was to discuss trade with the various heads of state with whom we met.”

Sen. Kennedy met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Lithuanian Minister of Defense Raimundas Karoblis, Speaker of the Seimas Viktoras Pranckietis, Estonian Minister of Defense Margus Tsahkna, Republic of Finland President Sauli Niinisto, Finnish Minister of Defense Jussi Niinisto and Finnish Speaker of Parliament Maria Lohela as well as NATO officials during the seven-day trip.  The visit followed President Trump's meeting in Belgium with members of NATO.

“The fight against terrorism is a collective fight.  The September 11 attacks awakened us to the monsters we are facing, and incidents like the bombing in Manchester and the attack in London shows that the monsters continue to seep into our communities,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The U.S. is a tremendous supporter of NATO, but the members of NATO need to do their part by committing to robust spending on defense.”

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Senator Kennedy and the Congressional delegation in Estonia meeting with Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, Defense Minister Hannes Hanso, and members of the United States military stationed in Estonia

Sen. Kennedy – along with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pension Committee; Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee; Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; and Reps. Steny Hoyer, (D-Md.), the House Minority Whip; and Dr. Phil Roe, (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs – asked leaders to comply with the 2014 Wales Summit Declaration.  This declaration encouraged NATO members to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.  Many NATO members are failing to meet this threshold and are years away from achieving the 2%.

“This was a productive trip as we were able to have serious conversations with presidents and defense ministers about the need to enhance defense spending,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Defense spending by NATO members totals $918 billion, and the U.S. is paying $664 billion of that.  That's completely unfair to American taxpayers and families.  As a delegation, we stressed President Trump's message that it is of the utmost importance that members of NATO pay their fair share as we continue our fight against global, radical terrorism.”

The delegation began the trip in Brussels with a meeting at the NATO headquarters.  The next stop was in Lithuania and Estonia, where the delegation met top officials, including the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania Anne Hall and Estonian Parliamentarians. More meetings with high-level leaders followed in Finland and France.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has signed on to a bill that will support small local breweries across Louisiana.  The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 will help this budding industry, which includes 28 breweries in Louisiana, by cutting their costs.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 (S.236) seeks to grow jobs and our economy by creating a fair, equitable and comprehensive tax structure for small and independent brewers.  Through the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017, the beer industry will be able to create an additional $320 million in economic growth.  It is estimated by industry officials that more than 5,200 breweries in the United States would benefit from the passage of this bill and nearly 9,000 jobs would be added in the first 12-18 months.

“My primary focus as a U.S. senator is to retain and create jobs in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Louisiana has a unique culinary culture, and craft breweries are part of that from Mudbug Brewery in Thibodaux to Great Raft Brewing in Shreveport.  We need to do everything possible to help our small businesses grow and thrive.  As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I see the enormous, positive impact that small businesses have on our economy.”

“We are very grateful that Sen. Kennedy supports legislation to reduce the burdensome excise taxes that our brewery has to pay to the federal government.  Just the federal excise tax we pay annually amounts to almost $200,000 for my small business and that large tax expense simply limits our growth rate, no question about it,” said Andrew Godley with Parish Brewing Co.  “We already pay one of the top 10 excise tax rates in the nation here in Louisiana.   By supporting the reduction of federal excise tax on small brewers, Sen. Kennedy is supporting small, local manufacturing businesses and helping our industry grow and contribute economically to the state.”

“We've just gone through a bit of an expansion here at Bayou Teche Brewing, and, when this tax reform passes, we'll be able to afford to hire a few more folks to take full advantage of that new equipment we have just installed in our brewery,” said Karlos Knott with Bayou Teche Brewing.  “It will also help other Louisiana breweries and will help Louisiana continue to be the vibrant and fun place that both locals and tourists frequent.”

This bill reforms the federal excise tax structure on small breweries by: 

  • Reducing the federal excise tax to $3.50 per  barrel on the first 60,000 barrels and reducing the tax to $16 per barrel for production that exceeds 60,000 and capped off at 2 million.       
  • Reducing the federal excise tax to $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers.

Sen. Kennedy is a member of the Senate Bipartisan Small Brewers Caucus.  Earlier this year, he recognized Red River Brewing Company as the Small Business of the Day for National Small Business Week.  Red River began in a garage and became Shreveport's first brewery in more than 100 years.  Sen. Kennedy also publicly opposed state legislation that would have ended marketing agreements between public universities and breweries.  These agreements are financially beneficial to Louisiana's universities.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the proposed budget's impact on the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA):

“It's vital for Louisiana and other states along the Gulf of Mexico to continue to get a share of the federal revenue from offshore drilling.  That's why GOMESA exists; this money is used for critical coastal and wetlands restoration and preservation.  I fully support GOMESA and, after talking to many of my Senate colleagues, I'm confident that GOMESA will be preserved and will not be repealed.

“However, I want to be clear: I support Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's goals of spending less, eliminating waste, reducing the deficit and paying off the national debt.  This proposed budget is the first step in crafting a final spending plan, and undoubtedly there will be changes to it.  Reasonable people can disagree, and obviously we disagree about the essentialness of GOMESA to Gulf states.  However, we agree that the federal government needs to curtail its spending.

“The truth is that the federal government wastes an enormous amount of taxpayer money and it needs to stop now.  The federal government is borrowing $4 billion a day to maintain its current spending levels.  My family would not survive if we just charged more and more each month to our credit card with no end in sight, and neither will this great country.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on Vice President Pence's trip to Louisiana:

“I am thrilled that Vice President Pence is taking the opportunity to visit Louisiana and see firsthand the negative impact of Obamacare on businesses,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Unfortunately, I was not able to accompany him because of important votes in Washington on behalf of our people in Louisiana.  I want to thank Vice President Pence for his invitation and wish him a warm welcome on behalf of all Louisianans.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today about his bill the “Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017.”  This legislation would require adults between the ages of 18 and 55, who have no dependents and are not disabled, to spend 20 hours a week working in a job, going to school or doing community service in order to continue to receive free health care through Medicaid.

“I'm filing a bill entitled the 'Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017.'  My bill will create a work requirement for Medicaid.  My reason for introducing this bill is simple.   I want Americans to prosper.  I don't want our people to remain mired in poverty.  I want to break poverty's back by creating a system that doesn't force the American people to subsist on government handouts.  And the best way to do that is to provide an incentive for able-bodied Americans to know the dignity of work.  Because a person without a job is neither happy nor free,” said Sen. Kennedy.

Click the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy's full floor speech:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) honored Louisiana and national law enforcement officers this week to mark the beginning of National Police Week. 

“Law enforcement officers deserve our nation's respect and admiration,” said Sen. Kennedy. “To honor the start of National Police Week, I signed on to the National Police Week Senate Resolution, Thin Blue Line Act, and American Law Enforcement Heroes Act.  These pieces of legislation honor the sacrifices and hard work that our police make every day to keep our families safe.”

Sen. Kennedy spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate earlier this year to honor fallen Louisiana police officers

Sen. Kennedy signed on to legislation to honor law enforcement officers and veterans. He is a cosponsor of:

  • National Police Week 2017 Senate Resolution: This resolution designates the week of May 15-21 as National Police Week and recognizes those who gave their lives in the line of duty last year.
  • Thin Blue Line Act: This bill makes the murder of a state or local law enforcement, prosecutor, or firefighter an aggravating factor
  • American Law Enforcement Heroes Act: The bill gives preference for grants to law enforcement that prioritize the hiring and training of veterans. 

“Please join me in saying a prayer for the families of Louisiana law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty this past year.  They were men and women who sacrificed their lives so we could sleep a little bit better at night.  We must pray for an end to the violence.  We have buried enough of our brave law enforcement officers,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Let us also pray for a safe and speedy recovery for East Baton Rouge Deputy Nick Tullier who was severely injured last July when he was shot in the head and abdomen after receiving a call to take down an active shooter who was targeting police.”

Below are members of Louisiana law enforcement who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2016:

  • Shannon Brown
  • David Elahi
  • Bradford Garafola, Sr.
  • Matthew Gerald
  • Natasha Hunter
  • Montrell Jackson
  • Jude Lewis
  • David Michel, Jr.
  • Derrick Mingo

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate about his bill, the National Flood Insurance Program Consultant Accountability Act.  Sen. Kennedy's bill gives the FEMA Administrator the authority to fire consultants and contractors who engage with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  This includes consultants, contractors, law firms, engineering firms, or any third-party company that receives NFIP contracts.  The bill also includes an appeals process to ensure that good companies are not penalized for being falsely accused.

Click here to view the video or on the image below.

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National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Consultant Accountability Act: “My bill gives the FEMA Administrator the authority to fire any consultant, contractor, lawyer, or engineer, who engages in conduct that is detrimental to the mission of the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The bill will be fair.  It will also have an appeals process to ensure that there are not false accusations against innocent parties.  This is a simple, commonsense reform that frankly should have been put in place years ago.”

Recertification of the National Flood Insurance Program: “Congress has repeatedly and consistently mangled the reauthorization of this essential federal program.  In 2010, the NFIP expired four times – not once, not twice, but four times for a total of 53 days, which injected uncertainty through a fragile housing market that had been devastated just two years prior,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I believe it is crucial we avoid this type of congressionally imposed delay.  Congress should extend the National Flood Insurance Program for a multi-year reauthorization before the Sept. 30 deadline this year.”

Local Contributions to NFIP:  “The National Flood Insurance Program has to do a better job of giving our locals a seat at the table.  Our local levee boards and levee districts – along with the families who have lived on the land being insured for generations – know every ditch and drainage canal from St. Tammany to Lafourche Parish,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The bureaucrats ought to be asking them for guidance when rewriting flood maps and flood policy, not the other way around.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) welcomed Nicholls State University undergraduate student Brooke Mazac to Capitol Hill this week and announced that she is Louisiana's only winner in the prestigious 2017 Posters on the Hill contest.  This national competition gives students the opportunity to showcase their research to congressional members, meet with their representatives, and learn about advocacy for undergraduate research.

“I would like to extend a sincere congratulations to one of Louisiana's brightest young minds, Brooke Mazac.  Brooke, who is an education major at Nicholls State University, was selected out of hundreds of applicants as a winner of the Council on Undergraduate Research's competition, Posters on the Hill, and was the only college student from Louisiana selected,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am proud of the work Brooke and her mentor Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur are accomplishing at Nicholls State University.”

Brooke's project - entitled “Examining the Construct of Time-on-Task in an iPad Assisted Reading Intervention for At-Risk Students” - explores how the presence of technology in educations impacts a student's learning.  Specifically, Brooke wanted to discover if the use of iPads during teaching affected the percentage of time the student was on task.  The results of the study were that in five out of the six trials students spent more time-on-task with an iPad than they did without an iPad.  Brooke's research is an extension of a project and research of Dr. Vavasseur funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents.  To learn more about Brooke's study visit this website.

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Sen. Kennedy meeting with Brooke Mazac and her mentor Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today about his legislation S.923, the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act.  This important bill will exempt community banks and credit unions with assets of less than $10 billion from Dodd-Frank and allow them to thrive instead of being punished for Wall Street's failures.

 

“Every reasonable person with a passing knowledge of our banking system knows the destabilizing effect that Dodd-Frank has had on local economies, community banks, and credit unions.  That is why I introduced S.923, the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My bill exempts financial institutions, specifically banks and credit unions, with assets of less than $10 billion from having to comply with the loan-killing, anti-jobs disaster commonly known as Dodd-Frank.  America's smaller lending institutions need relief from the destabilizing consequences of Dodd-Frank.  The Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act is a step in that direction.”

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