Media

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) will invest $1.5 million in funds for the construction of road infrastructure to support the expansion of Venable Lane from US Highway 165 to the new entrance linking CenturyLink Village at the IBM Building. 

“This money is critical for commercial as well as industrial development for Northeast Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This money will create 80 jobs and preserve 94 jobs.  Private industry is contributing $20 million, making this a true public-private partnership.”

###

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will invest $83.5 million in federal funding towards ongoing recovery efforts across Louisiana.

“This money is crucial to disaster recovery efforts in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “FEMA is providing funding to homeowners, schools, a food bank, parishes, cities and law enforcement, among others.  This is money that is needed to recover and rebuild.”

According to FEMA, the grants are:

Recovery School District-$49M

  • This award provides $49,077,383.61 in federal funding for the Recovery School District for an adjustment of the scope of work and project costs.

Governor’s Office Homeland Security & Emergency Management-$23.9M

  • This award provides an additional $23,994,873.93 in federal funding for homeowners.

Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank-$1M

  • This award provides $1,032,101.20 in federal funding to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for their distribution facility.

East Baton Rouge Parish School Board-$5.8M

  • This award will provide $2,930,976.66 in federal funding to East Baton Rouge School Board (EBRSB) for Emergency Protective Measures.
  • The award provides $1,698,012.21 in funding to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, to provide funding associated with remediation activities at Brookstown Magnet Middle School.
  • The award provides $1,211,377.76 in funding to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, to provide funding associated with remediation activities at Glen Oaks Park Elementary School.

Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Statewide Generator Project-$1.9M

  • This grant will fund generators for critical facilities and key state-owned facilities throughout the State of Louisiana. 
  • Funding will be utilized to harden facilities with the installation of permanent generators, portable generators and automatic transfer switches to remain operational and functional during and after disasters.
  • This request includes the following parishes and cities: St. Tammany, Jefferson, St. Charles and Lincoln parishes and cities of New Orleans and Thibodaux. 

LA Dept. Of Public Safety (State Police)-$1.6M

  • This award provides $1,667,951.83 in federal funding to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety (State Police) for Emergency Protective Measures.

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) hosted a meeting in New Orleans today for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) officials and Louisiana bank leaders.

“FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg was gracious in coming to Louisiana in order to meet with our community bank leaders.  I know he has a busy schedule so I appreciate his time,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Our community banks have a powerful story to tell, and it’s one that the FDIC needs to hear. This meeting is a signal of transparency to our communities that are hurting from the collapse of First NBC.”

Sen. Kennedy hosted a roundtable discussion for FDIC officials and bank representatives.  The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a question-and-answer session between the FDIC and local banks about the failure of First NBC. 

“I would like to thank Sen. Kennedy for the opportunity to meet with local business people and bankers in New Orleans and explain the FDIC’s processes to respond to issues arising from bank failures,” said FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Sen. Kennedy has fought for community banks in Louisiana and has introduced legislation to strengthen Louisiana’s community financial institutions.   

Sen. Kennedy with FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg

Sen. Kennedy with FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg

###

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that FEMA has awarded $8.6 million to help Louisiana recover from the August 2016 floods.

FEMA awarded:

  • $5.9 million to Ascension Parish.
  • $2.7 million to Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School

“This money is vital to parishes that were devastated by the August 2016 floods,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Ascension Parish sustained heavy flooding and incurred expensive cleanup work.  Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School took over a historic Baton Rouge campus only to be relocated by the flooding a week after starting classes.  This money will help them recover and rebuild.”

The flooding created extensive debris that Ascension Parish had to remove.  Cristo Rey was forced to relocate to a temporary location after losing its campus to the flood.

“Sen. Kennedy has worked hard to secure the flood recovery funding we need, and I appreciate his efforts,” said Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa. “Every penny counts in our mission to rebuild Ascension Parish and make our community whole again.”

“The August flooding forced us to relocate last year from the former Redemptorist High School campus just a week after starting classes.  Every single building on that historic campus was lost,” said Brian Moscona, principal of Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High.  “This funding will allow us to return to a campus that has been part of the north Baton Rouge community for more than 65 years.  I want to thank Sen. Kennedy for working with us to secure the funding that we need to recover.”

###

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that FEMA will spend $13.1 million in the parishes of Lafourche, Jefferson, St. Tammany and Livingston to protect property owners from future floods.

“This is a smart use of money through the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “In fact, I’ve offered legislation to reauthorize the program and to put a bigger focus on mitigation efforts.  No one wants to flood.  People lose their homes and businesses, and the federal government ends up spending a lot of money to help them rebuild.  What we need to do is ensure that you don’t flood in the first place through elevation, the purchase of flood-prone properties and other mitigation work.”

According to FEMA, the grants are:

Lafourche (residential elevations) - $1.2M

  • This grant will fund the elevation of eight properties.  The elevated properties will exceed base flood elevation ordinance levels, reducing the impact of large and small flood events.  This activity reduces damages to residential structures in flood events, thereby reducing long-term costs to NFIP, the homeowners, reduces impact to emergency response personnel, and breaks the repeat-claim cycle. The cost share is 93% and comprised of three-severe repetitive loss properties and five-repetitive loss properties.  This award is pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act.

Jefferson Parish - 2016 Reconstruction of Flood Prone Structures - $4.6M

  • This grant will fund mitigation reconstruction of 24 properties in Jefferson Parish.  The reconstructed properties will exceed base flood elevation with an additional two-feet of elevation to meet local ordinance levels, reducing the impact of large and small flood events.  This activity reduces damages to residential structures in flood events, thereby reducing long-term costs to the National Flood Insurance Program and the homeowners, reduces impact to emergency response personnel, and breaks the repeat-claim cycle. The cost share is 100% federal because the properties are severe repetitive loss.  This award is pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act.

St. Tammany Parish – FMA 2016 Elevation Application II - $5.2M

  • This grant will fund the elevation of 23 properties.  The elevated properties will exceed base flood elevation ordinance levels, reducing the impact of large and small flood events.  The cost share is 94% federal because the project is comprised of 10 severe repetitive loss properties, 11 repetitive loss properties, and two insured properties.  This award is pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act.

Livingston Parish 2016 FMA - $2.1M

  • This grant will fund the elevation of four properties and the voluntary acquisition of nine properties.  The elevation properties will exceed base flood elevation ordinance levels, reducing the impact of large and small flood events.  The acquisition and elevation activities will reduce or eliminate damages to residential structures. The cost share is 99% federal due to the composition of two repetitive loss and 11 severe repetitive loss properties.  This award is pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act. 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and nearly a dozen colleagues sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Friday requesting the cancellation of the August state work period so the Senate can focus on delivering important and necessary reforms to the American people.

The senators emphasized that little time remains in the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. 

“We need to focus on passing meaningful reforms for health care and taxes.  We also need to pass all 12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government and extend the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We don’t have time to go on vacation when there’s work that remains to be done for the American people.  You wouldn’t put a cake in the oven and then leave to go on vacation before it has finished baking.  I am ready to work nights, weekends and holidays.”

The senators wrote: “Our current Senate calendar shows only 33 potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year.  This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention.  Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work.

“Delivering meaningful results was never assumed to be easy, but the millions of Americans who placed their confidence in our leadership expect our full and best effort.”

View the full text of the letter below:

 

Dear Leader McConnell:

 

We are united in our belief that we must work with a sense of urgency to deliver conservative solutions for pressing legislative issues on behalf of the American people. Our current Senate calendar shows only 33 potential working days remaining before the end of the fiscal year. This does not appear to give us enough time to adequately address the issues that demand immediate attention. Therefore, we respectfully request that you consider truncating, if not completely foregoing, the scheduled August state work period, allowing us more time to complete our work.

There are five imperatives which must be accomplished this year. We must complete the first phase of Obamacare repeal and replace. Next, we have to pass a budget that serves as a reconciliation vehicle for reforming our outdated tax code. Before September 30th, we must agree on an appropriation that responsibly funds the government. Also, we must deal with our debt limit before that approximate date. If we successfully navigate those priorities, we can finally get to our once in a generation opportunity on tax reform. Growing the economy, repairing our infrastructure, and rebuilding our military are all dependent on accomplishing the tasks before us.

Each of these issues is challenging in its own right. For example, the passage of a budget and all twelve appropriations bills before September 30th is a rarity, occurring only 4 times in the last 43 years. However, the stakes are much higher this year. We simply cannot afford to lose any additional time in resolving these issues when tax reform is hanging in the balance. Robust change to our tax code is our single most important economic growth tool, and there is already growing anticipation for us to act. Failure to deliver could have devastating economic consequences.

We appreciate your leadership, both in advancing our agenda and by moving a package of bills this year to roll back regulations. This effort has already helped deliver much needed relief and advance economic growth. Further, we have been encouraged by your work to date to help us stay on track. However, there is much to be done.

Please be assured that our request is fully backed by our commitment to thoughtfully and diligently work through these issues. We simply recognize that making America great again requires a certain time commitment. Delivering meaningful results was never assumed to be easy, but the millions of Americans who placed their confidence in our leadership expect our full and best effort.

 

Sincerely,

  

______________________________                        ______________________________

John Kennedy                                                             David Perdue

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

 

______________________________                        ______________________________

Joni Ernst                                                                    Dan Sullivan

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

 

 

_____________________________                          _____________________________ 

Mike Rounds                                                               Thom Tillis                             

United States Senator                                                United States Senator

           

                      

______________________________                        ______________________________

James Lankford                                                           Mike Lee

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

 

 

______________________________                        ______________________________

Steve Daines                                                               Luther Strange

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

                        

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after Secretary of the Department of Energy Rick Perry approved two long-term applications to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project:

“I am pleased to announce the approval of two applications to export additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Lake Charles LNG Liquefaction Project in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “LNG has generated economic growth throughout Louisiana, and the approval of these two long-term applications will help grow our economy, create thousands of jobs and move our nation towards energy independence.”

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has been continuing efforts to fight for more funding and resources for the Comite River Diversion Project in the greater Baton Rouge region. Sen. Kennedy released the following statement on efforts today:

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Energy and Water, I have been leaning on the Army Corp of Engineers to dispense the promised funds for the Comite River Diversion Project.  We need these funds now to start putting shovels in the ground as quickly as possible,” said Sen. Kennedy.

At the end of May, the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was setting aside $6.7 million for the Comite project. Senator Kennedy is prodding the Corps on when they can begin using the money towards the project. 

“I have been pressing the Corps relentlessly trying to get a date nailed down on when we can get this project moving.  That’s why yesterday I met with Lt. General Todd Semonite and acting Assistant Secretary Lamont to discuss the urgency of this project.  I will continue to use every avenue and channel available to me to get this project pushed through and out of the mud as fast as possible.”

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement after meeting with President Trump, Vice President Pence, Reince Priebus, and Republican Senators at the White House to discuss health care reform this afternoon:

“I had a productive meeting at the White House this afternoon with President Trump, Vice President Pence, my colleagues in the Senate, and Trump administration Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about finding viable solutions for our broken health care system.  As premiums continue to rise, insurers drop out of exchanges, and states continue to suffocate under the rising cost of Medicaid, it is more important than ever to come together and stop the unmitigated disaster that is Obamacare,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I will continue to work towards a better, more sensible health care system that benefits all Americans.”

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to President Donald Trump today ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to Washington D.C.  The letter implores President Trump to use his meeting with the prime minister as an opportunity to discuss India’s discriminatory policies against foreign religious and humanitarian organizations. 

Sens. Blunt, Crapo, Lankford, and Klobuchar signed on to Sen. Kennedy’s letter encouraging the president to make it clear to Prime Minister Modi that human rights and religious liberty remain a top priority.

“Over the past few years, the Indian government has made it difficult – if not impossible - for religious and humanitarian organizations to get funding to their charitable operations in India.  Many of these organizations are simply trying to meet the basic needs of the citizens of India.  Compassion International even had to leave India.  This humanitarian aid organization had helped feed and provide health care to children in India for nearly 50 years.  Now thousands of innocent children will be left without this critical support,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Discriminating against foreign organizations that help the citizens of India is counterproductive, and it needs to change.  I ask that President Trump address this serious issue with Prime Minister Modi during his upcoming trip to Washington.”

Below is the text of the letter.

June 23, 2017

 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your commitment to protecting and advancing religious liberty around the world. You have made it clear that protecting religious freedom deserves our constant vigilance. We agree that our support for democracy requires persistent efforts to support and advocate for religious liberty around the world.

We are particularly concerned about violations of religious liberty in India.  India is the world’s largest democracy and therefore holds a position of importance on the world stage, making the ongoing violations even more disturbing. Despite India’s size and religious diversity, violations of religious liberty have existed for years. 

Every year, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) releases a report outlining the state of religious freedom across the world.  India has consistently remained a “Tier 2” country, meaning that USCIRF believes it requires close monitoring based on evidence of violations of religious freedom.  These include violence, discrimination, and forced conversions, as well as harassment and intimidation.

Of significant concern is India’s recent use of its Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) to target humanitarian and religious organizations.  Any foreign religious organizations, including missionaries, working in India must comply with this law.  In 2011, the Indian Parliament amended FCRA to allow the government to block funds for foreign organizations that conduct any “activities detrimental to the national interest.”

The Indian government has since used this broad provision to target foreign humanitarian and religious organizations that serve the Indian people, such as Compassion International that was forced to leave India and the 145,000 Indian children it served. Other organizations that have come under scrutiny include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace. Other evangelical Christian organizations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, have also faced discrimination of various kinds. The number of organizations that have lost their licenses has exceeded 10,000 since Prime Minister Modi took office.

Based on these troubling developments, we ask that you make religious liberty a top priority when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the United States this month.  We request that you use the United States’ strong, longstanding relationship with India to encourage Prime Minister Modi to alleviate the discrimination against these organizations, particularly religious-based aid groups, and to take steps to advance religious liberty for all of India’s citizens.

The United States has served as an example of religious liberty for the entire world ever since its founding.  These principles underlie the essence of what it means to be American.  Even more importantly, the freedom to practice one’s own religious beliefs underlies the essence of what it means to be human and live in a democracy.  We encourage you to bring these violations to Prime Minister Modi’s attention and continue to work to protect religious liberty across the globe.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

______________________________                        ______________________________

John Kennedy                                                             Roy Blunt

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

 

 

______________________________                        ______________________________

Mike Crapo                                                                 James Lankford

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

 

 

______________________________           

Amy Klobuchar                                                         

United States Senator                                                

                                               

###