Apr 18 2022
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to grant assistance to Louisiana crawfish farmers recovering from natural disaster damage.
The lawmakers point out that, in early 2021, Louisiana experienced a historic deep freeze that caused six deaths, damaged infrastructure and hit Louisiana’s crawfish industry.
“Crawfish require warm temperatures in order to flourish and grow. In fact, even a day or two of severe cold weather can significantly stunt their growth. As we saw, this historic winter freeze did not kill the crawfish, but instead substantially slowed down their growth, crippling supply at the beginning of the season. Later that year, while crawfish farmers were still recovering from losses, Hurricane Ida ripped through Louisiana causing tens of billions in property damage,” the lawmakers wrote.
“As you know, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or other loss conditions. In May 2021, we were relieved food fish and other aquatic species were granted eligibility to request ELAP assistance. While we’re encouraged to learn that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) began delivering this much needed assistance to our crawfish farmers just two weeks ago, we’ve since received several concerns from farmers whose applications have been denied due to the failure to report their acreage prior to the September deadline,” continued the lawmakers.
“We understand that acreage reporting is a normal practice for FSA programs, and traditional crop farmers are aware of the process, requirements, and deadlines. However, it is essential to note that crawfish farming is a unique, niche practice to which some producers’ first time engaging with FSA was for this purpose. . . . We urge you and the FSA Administrator to review this time-sensitive request and grant much needed assistance to our Louisiana crawfish farmers,” they concluded.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Reps. Clay Higgins (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Julia Letlow (R-La.) and Steve Scalise (R-La.) also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.
Kennedy, Judiciary Republicans push for hearing on Title 42 public health order, impact on border crisis
Apr 14 2022
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and the other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to call for a Committee hearing about the potential consequences at the southern border of the Biden administration’s decision to rescind the Title 42 public health order.
“Termination of the Title 42 order will likely result in a large influx of migrants at the southern border–larger than the already record levels of illegal immigrant crossings currently taking place along the border. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz recently stated that there are already approximately 7,000 encounters per day with illegal immigrants crossing the border, and that the number of encounters is likely to pass the 1 million mark for the first 6 months of FY2022 alone,” the senators wrote.
“Given this reality, it is imperative that DHS have an effective and detailed plan in place to deal with such an influx before Title 42 is terminated. This is not a partisan issue, and senators of both parties have raised concerns about the Administration’s recent announcement that it will rescind the Title 42 order in May,” continued the senators.
“. . . we believe it is important that DHS develop an effective contingency plan, share the details of the plan with Congress, and come before the Judiciary Committee to discuss the plan and answer any questions committee members of both parties may have,” the senators concluded.
The letter is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has been awarded the title of “True Blue” member by Family Research Council Action (FRC Action). Kennedy scored 100 percent for his voting record in both 2020 and 2021, earning him two “True Blue” awards for his unwavering support of faith, family and freedom.
“I am proud to fight for Louisiana families and their values, and I’ll never stop defending life and our core freedoms,” said Kennedy.
Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins praised Kennedy’s record.
“We thank Sen. Kennedy for defending faith, family, and freedom. He has voted to reject the radical gender ideology that would overhaul our federal civil rights framework to mandate special privileges for sexual orientation and gender identity. He voted to protect women, the military, homeless shelters, and public restrooms from this harmful ideology. He has voted to protect the sanctity of human life for unborn babies, end taxpayer funding of abortion, and prevent additional taxpayer funding of abortion both domestically and overseas. He also voted to expand protections for conscience rights, reject the increasing acceptance of marijuana use, and reject pro-abortion, anti-family, judicial and executive appointments.
“Louisianans should be encouraged to know that they have a champion like Sen. Kennedy in Congress who, despite relentless attacks from the Left and the media, is standing strong for faith, family, and freedom,” concluded Perkins.
Apr 11 2022
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today led 13 other senators in urging President Joe Biden not to remove the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian terrorist group responsible for hundreds of American deaths.
“Not only would this removal be wildly misguided, but it would betray our partners and allies in the region—particularly Israel and the Gulf states. These allies and partners already hold concerns that the United States is reducing its regional presence. The enactment of such a deal would provide the Iranian regime access to funds that it would use to destabilize the region through terrorist proxies,” wrote the senators.
“When it comes to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the realities are grim. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is actively trying to kill U.S. politicians and public servants on U.S. soil—most notably, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is responsible for the deaths of more than 600 American troops in Iraq through the provision of lethal aid and improvised explosive devices to Iran-backed Shia militia groups. . . . The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has shown no meaningful change in conduct and is actively engaging in terrorist activities,” continued the senators.
The senators asked Biden several questions, including whether he believes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps no longer engages in terrorist activity or threatens U.S. security.
“We humbly request that you meet this test of resolve and conscience by publicly and categorically rejecting any discussion of delisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the senators concluded.
Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) also signed the letter.
The senators also directed the letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The letter is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $51,781,894 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“Louisianians are still feeling the devastation from Hurricanes Laura and Ida. This $51 million will help our state recover and ensure our communities are free from debris and other storm material,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $11,047,518 to Lake Charles, La. for debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
- $10,228,210 to Terrebonne Parish for right of way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
- $8,334,973 to Grant Parish for debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
- $6,781,304 to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for alternate procedures debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
- $4,498,007 to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $3,373,305 to Plaquemines Parish for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $2,715,239 to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $2,607,697 to Slidell, La. for right of way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,116,669 to the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,078,972 to Welsh, La. for substation electrical repairs related to Hurricane Laura.
Apr 06 2022
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, today highlighted taxpayer interests at a subcommittee hearing focused on the Army Corps of Engineers.
“Hurricane Katrina, as we all know, was a Cat Five hurricane. It hit New Orleans, August 29th, 2005—not just New Orleans, it hit all of south Louisiana. . . . It caused unprecedented losses. We had 1800 fatalities, $125 billion in damage. There was a 28-foot storm surge, 85-foot waves.”
. . .
“The Corps improved approximately 70 miles of interior risk reduction structures within the levee that encircles the New Orleans metropolitan region. Among the Corps’ technically advanced engineering solutions, HSDRRS [Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System] now includes a surge barrier wall that’s 1.8 miles long. It’s an engineering marvel. It’s the largest design build Civil Works project in your history, one of the—maybe the largest in America’s history.
“HSDRRS also includes the largest drainage pump station in the world. HSDRRS works and has already spared lives and property, saved taxpayers millions of dollars in my area from expensive storm recovery. Last year, Hurricane Ida hit us. Category Four storm. It hit southeast Louisiana. Its surge would have overtopped our levees before your good work.”
Kennedy also had the following exchange with Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellmon, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
Kennedy: “With the exception of a really small number of projects, less than one percent, is it not true that Congress doesn’t authorize construction of proposed Corps projects without a comprehensive study that can take up to years to complete, to determine if the project’s economically justified? Is that accurate?”
Spellmon: “Yes, sir.”
Kennedy: “That study’s also got to show that the project’s environmentally sound, right?”
Spellmon: “Yes, sir, that’s correct.”
Kennedy: “Technically feasible, is that correct?”
Spellmon: “Yes, Senator.”
Kennedy: “So, somebody just can’t call you folks up at the Corps and say, ‘I’ve got a project, and I want it done, and you better get it done.’ It doesn’t work that way, does it?”
Spellmon: “That’s correct, Senator. It does not.”
Kennedy: “Alright. And, in your years at the Corps, what percentage of all Corps projects have been authorized for congressional—by Congress—for construction without meeting this three-part test?”
Spellmon: “Sir, I’ve been with the Corps six-and-a-half years. I’m not aware of any.”
Kennedy: “Any? Every project has had to be economically justified, environmentally sound, and technically feasible, based on any objective study?”
Spellmon: “Senator, that’s correct.”
Kennedy: “Not by politicians?”
Spellmon: “That’s correct.”
. . .
Kennedy: “Ok. And, not to put too fine a point on it, but one of the things that the Corps looks at in this study, which can take years, is whether the taxpayers are getting a return on their investment. In other words, the benefits have to substantially outweigh the costs. Is that right?”
Spellmon: “Yes sir, that’s correct.”
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
Apr 06 2022
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) today urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to send the “Kigali Amendment” to the full Senate for ratification.
The Kigali Amendment would include a global phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are greenhouse gases.
“Ratification of the Kigali Amendment will further open up global markets to American-made products and will allow the federal government to further prevent illegal Chinese dumping of HFCs in the United States, which hurts U.S. businesses,” the senators wrote.
“Similarly, to the AIM Act, ratification of the Kigali Amendment is broadly supported across industry and environmental stakeholders, because these groups know ratification will be good for our economy, our planet, and our communities,” they continued.
Background on the Kigali Amendment
- In 2016, more than 170 countries agreed to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which requires an 85 percent phase down in HFCs over the next 15 years.
- HFCs have thousands of times more heat-trapping potential than carbon dioxide, and the Kigali Amendment is widely seen as crucial to limiting global temperature rises in the coming decades.
- Beginning in 2033, the amendment will restrict trade between countries that have joined the agreement and those that have not.
- The Kigali Amendment has strong support from the U.S. business community and non-governmental organizations.
- China and India ratified the Kigali Amendment in the summer of 2021, and China is the world’s largest consumer and exporter of HFC products.
- U.S. ratification of the amendment would advance American interests by helping the U.S. remain a leader in the development and deployment of HFC alternatives.
- U.S. ratification will help generate 33,000 new American manufacturing jobs, increase America’s overall share of the global export market, and improve America’s balance of trade annually by $12.5 billion.
Background on the AIM Act
- Kennedy authored the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which became law in December 2020. The AIM Act gave American businesses a 15-year timeline for the phasedown of HFCs, which are commonly used in products such as refrigerators and air conditioners.
- The AIM Act defends jobs in the state of Louisiana and adds new ones by helping businesses and chemical plants in Geismar, Baton Rouge and St. Gabriel to transition to the use of safer coolants.
- The international heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration market is expected to more than double over the next decade. The AIM Act allows Louisiana to stay relevant in the global market for manufacturing jobs.
Read more about how the AIM Act benefits the environment and Louisiana jobs here.
The letter is available here.
Apr 06 2022
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today cautioned against the Biden administration’s moves to throttle the production of American oil and gas, especially as Louisianians are suffering under historic inflation and rising gas prices.
Below are Kennedy’s remarks.
“As I have said before, the problem is that the oil is in Louisiana, and Texas, and Oklahoma, and Kansas, and North Dakota, and Alaska and in many other states, but the dipsticks are in Washington, DC.
“This is a problem of simple economics, and, in my opinion, the Biden administration will continue to kick its own ass politically and do what may be irreparable damage to the American people’s pocketbooks and standard of living—and to America’s national security—until the president transitions to an all-of-the-above energy policy.”
“Take national security: We know that it will be very difficult—if impossible—to defeat Putin until we cut off his cash flow. You can’t cut off his cash flow until you cut off his oil and gas exports. You can’t cut off his oil and gas sales, his exports—much of which go to Europe—until Europe has a way to replace the fossil fuels.
“America has a way to help Europe replace those fossil fuels. Except for one problem: The Biden administration has put its boot on the neck of the oil and gas industry, and, until the Biden administration takes it off, the American people and the Western world will continue to suffer.”
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today joined Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and more than 15 other senators in urging Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler to withdraw a proposed rule that would require publicly-traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other information related to climate change.
“The SEC is not tasked with environmental regulation, nor has Congress amended the SEC’s regulatory authority to pursue the proposed climate disclosures. Further, there are serious questions about whether the SEC has the technical expertise to assess climate models and underlying assumptions used in companies’ metrics and disclosures. Without such technical expertise, the SEC will likely review submissions arbitrarily, leading to uneven or unfair application,” the senators wrote.
“After failed attempts to enact radical climate policy via legislation, this rule is yet another example of the Biden Administration’s efforts to have unelected bureaucrats implement its preferred agenda through regulation. To make matters worse, the SEC is limiting the public’s input on this proposed rule by restricting the comment period to only 60 days, which is insufficient for such an enormously complex and consequential rule,” they continued.
The senators point out that the SEC’s proposed rule would impose billions of dollars in new compliance costs on public companies, harm investors who would face reduced shareholder returns and discourage companies from going public.
“This anti-energy rhetoric and policy coming from the Biden Administration is having a chilling effect on markets and long-term investments, starving the American oil, gas, and mining industries of access to the credit and capital they need to grow production while reducing their GHG emissions. This proposed rule will only further allocate capital away from domestic fossil fuel producers, increase the costs of energy for everyday Americans, and transfer investment to dirtier sources of energy overseas,” concluded the senators.
The letter is also directed to SEC Commissioners Hester M. Peirce, Allison Herren Lee and Caroline A. Crenshaw.
The letter is available here.
Kennedy joins banking Republicans in rolling out capital formation legislation to mark 10th anniversary of JOBS Act
Apr 04 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee in unveiling a draft package of bills that would accelerate America’s economic growth. The draft’s working title is the JOBS Act 4.0.
“The American economy is the greatest in all of human history because of free markets, and the JOBS Act 4.0 will make it even stronger by promoting a healthy market for investors and companies alike. This package will help companies to trade more easily, improve their access to private capital and make meaningful reforms to the SEC,” said Kennedy.
“The JOBS Act helped to revitalize interest in the public markets and spur economic growth, but it is clear significant work remains to be done to give retail investors access to higher returns and ensure American markets remain the deepest and most liquid in the world. The discussion draft we’re releasing today incorporates ideas from entrepreneurs, retail investors, and others, and includes numerous provisions with strong bipartisan support. I look forward to continue working with both Republican and Democrat colleagues on a final product that accelerates economic growth and spurs new job creation across the U.S,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), ranking member of the Banking Committee.
The discussion draft of the JOBS Act 4.0 takes into account stakeholder feedback and represents the collective efforts of Senate Republicans to introduce 24 bills, four of which currently have bipartisan support. Kennedy authored six of those 24 bills.
The JOBS Act 4.0 would:
- Encourage companies to be publicly-traded: includes eight initiatives to encourage companies to become publicly-traded, particularly during earlier growth stages, when investors have the chance to earn the highest returns.
- Improve the market for private capital: includes six initiatives to reduce costs associated with seeking capital by appropriately tailoring regulations for small businesses.
- Enhance retail investor access to investment opportunities: includes seven initiatives to prevent retail investors from being excluded from certain investment opportunities.
- Improve regulatory oversight: includes seven initiatives to enhance investor protection and privacy and to update outdated statutory and regulatory provisions.
Kennedy has introduced six bills in this package, including:
- The Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act would examine problems that small businesses in rural areas face when they attempt to access capital. The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation to submit an annual report on the unique challenges small businesses in rural areas face when trying to secure capital.
- The Main Street Growth Act would expand small companies’ access to capital markets through dedicated exchanges known as “venture exchanges” for trading stocks. The bill would give investors more access to the potential growth opportunities that small companies offer.
- The Tracking Bad Actors Act of 2022 would protect the public from financial crime and abuse by creating a public database of people who have committed financial crimes or have civil liability for financial misdeeds.
- The Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act would protect information that could reveal the identity of American investors by prohibiting the SEC from requiring brokers to submit investors’ personally identifiable information to its Consolidated Audit Trail.
- The Intelligent Tick Study Act would require the SEC to look at the economic impact that trading increments—called ticks—of over and under one penny has on the stock market. The bill would help small companies be traded more efficiently by allowing the SEC, through rulemaking, to determine appropriate tick sizes for small companies that are publicly traded.
- The Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2021 would help small business owners access the services of small business merger and acquisition (M&A) brokers. The bill would allow small business M&A brokers to organize sales and purchases of ownership and control of private companies without registering as “broker-dealers” with the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This would remove bureaucratic roadblocks, making their services more affordable and accessible to small business owners who need help buying or selling companies.
The discussion draft of this legislation is available here.
A fact sheet on the JOBS Act 4.0 is available here.
A section-by-section summary of the package is available here.