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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), along with a bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers, introduced the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act. This legislation would reform the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) to lift a current revenue cap that unfairly penalizes Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

The RISEE Act would secure more shared resources among Gulf states, the federal government and conservation programs from the revenue generated by offshore oil, gas and wind leases. Specifically, this proposed legislation would ensure that a larger cut of Gulf states’ offshore energy profits would fund coastal protection and restoration as well as other environmental priorities in Louisiana.

“GOMESA’s current cap unfairly targets our state. Louisianians work hard to provide America with reliable, affordable energy, and they deserve their fair share from that energy production. Our communities depend on these resources to defend our coastlines against hurricanes and other natural disasters, so amending the GOMESA cap is crucial to protecting Louisiana lives and livelihoods. There’s still more to be done, but this bill is a welcome step forward,” said Kennedy.

“With strong bipartisan support and movement through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year, we look forward to advancing the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act this Congress. Louisiana has learned to use money from offshore energy production to rebuild our coastline and protect our communities. This bill takes the lessons that Louisiana has learned, adds more funding, and serves as a model for other coastal states,” said Cassidy. 

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee previously passed the RISEE Act in the 117th Congress. 

Kennedy also formerly introduced similar legislation, the Offshore Cap Parity Act, to eliminate the GOMESA cap.

Background:

GOMESA divides federal revenues from the offshore energy production of Gulf states into three portions. The federal government returns 37.5 percent of this revenue to Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. The Land and Water Conservation Fund receives 12.5 percent of offshore revenue, which largely invests in the needs of landlocked states. The final 50 percent of Gulf energy revenue goes to the U.S. Treasury.

The GOMESA cap limits the dollar value of Gulf states’ 37.5 percent revenue share to $375 million, meaning those states receive no benefit when the energy sector peaks and revenues surpass the cap. Conversely, the Mineral Leasing Act ensures that states with onshore drilling operations receive 50 percent of their revenues, and there is no cap on how much money that share can include.

States with onshore energy production typically aren’t required to spend that revenue on environmental priorities. Louisianians, however, have previously voted in favor of dedicating their state’s share of offshore energy revenue to coastal conservation and restoration projects. Such projects may include updating levee systems and shoring up silt to bolster Louisiana’s coastal defenses. These investments mitigate damage to communities, local wildlife and other natural resources.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $56,784,219 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster aid grant for Louisiana.

“I’m grateful to see that this $57 million will help Louisianians in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Evangeline, Jefferson Davis, Vernon and Rapides Parishes repair critical infrastructure that Hurricane Laura so severely damaged,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following: 

  • $56,784,219 to the Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. for repairs related to Hurricane Laura.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enforcing a rule that would set higher standards for emissions from trucks and buses, which would cost truckers and bus drivers thousands of dollars to make their vehicles compliant with such regulations.

“Truckers support the backbone of our economy. Congress must stop Pres. Biden’s green-at-any-cost agenda before it crushes America’s trucking industry and magnifies supply chain problems. Louisiana families can’t afford more woke ‘help’ from the Biden administration,” said Kennedy.

“The Biden Administration is saddling the trucking industry with an onerous regulation that would jack up vehicle costs and hurt good paying jobs. This aggressive EPA rule—which will hit mom and pop truck operations the hardest—is also ineffective because it incentivizes operators to keep using older, higher-emitting trucks for longer. During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers. I am proud to be leading a large coalition of my colleagues to push back against the Biden Administration’s obsession with excessive climate regulations,” said Fischer.

Background:

  • The EPA finalized its rule on new emission standards for heavy duty vehicles on December 20, 2022. The rule will go into effect on March 27, 2023.
  • The rule’s new standards cover nitrogen oxides and other air pollutants including particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. The rule also would change requirements for emission control systems and emission-related warranties.
  • The EPA estimated the technology required to meet the new rule’s standards will cost between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle. Existing regulations on trucks have already resulted in a decrease in nitrogen oxide emissions between 98% and 99% compared to models from the late 1990s.

Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also cosponsored the resolution.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and a bipartisan group of senators today introduced the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act to help eliminate hurdles small businesses in rural areas disproportionately face when they try to access capital.

“Small businesses are vital to job creation in Louisiana’s rural communities. This bill would help these business owners and entrepreneurs get the capital they need to get their businesses off the ground, and that serves their local economies,” said Kennedy.

“Access to capital is essential to the economic health and growth of rural communities in Minnesota and across the country. Rural small businesses often face disproportionate obstacles when trying to secure capital to develop and grow their businesses. This legislation would help rural small businesses overcome these hurdles and strengthen our rural economies,” said Smith. 

This legislation would expand access to capital for small businesses in rural communities by amending the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It would require the Securities and Exchange Commission for Small Business Capital Formation to submit an annual report on the unique challenges rural businesses face when trying to secure investments. Congress could, in turn, use these annual reports to weigh legislative action to expand small businesses’ access to capital.

Kennedy previously introduced the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act in the 117th Congress. Starting and expanding many businesses hinges on accessing funding, and growing businesses expands the job market throughout rural America. 

Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Bill text is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $12,312,207 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“The folks in East Baton Rouge Parish have worked hard to recover from the blow that Hurricane Ida dealt them. This $12 million will help make the community whole and cover the costs for moving debris after the storm,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $12,312,207 to East Baton Rouge Parish for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, joined Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Fair Access to Banking Act to prevent banks from denying services to law-abiding businesses for political purposes.  

Law-abiding Americans should have access to financial services without threat from woke political posturing. The Fair Access to Banking Act would ensure that banks rely on impartial risk assessments—rather than politicized discrimination—when providing their services. This bill would stop banks from becoming advocacy groups that ignore their clients constitutional protections and business interests,” said Kennedy.

“There is no place in our society for discrimination, and big banks and financial institutions are no exception. The Biden administration and their liberal base are weaponizing the financial system to defund, debank, or discredit industries they do not like. It is fundamentally unfair. Our bill imposes serious consequences for discriminatory decisions or de facto bans of legal industries,” said Cramer. 

Background:

  • The Fair Access to Banking Act would protect Americans in the wake of major banks’ move to discriminate against legal businesses. Some of the largest U.S. banks have blocked businesses and consumers from accessing financial services based on political ideology. 
  • In 2020, five of the country’s largest banks announced they will not provide loans or credit to support oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge even though Congress explicitly authorized it.
  • In 2021, JPMorgan Chase declared it would refuse financial services to coal producers, and Bank of America began a politically-motivated effort to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its financing activities by 2050, an effort directly targeting producers of reliable American energy. 
  • Similary discrimination has also targeted industries protected by the Second Amendment, with banks like Capital One including “ammunitions, firearms, or firearm parts” in its prohibited payments section. Payment services like Apple Pay and PayPal have denied their services for transactions involving firearms or ammunition.
  • In response to these developments, the last administration created the Fair Access Rule—which this legislation would codify—to prevent these and other acts of discrimination, but President Joe Biden paused the rule’s implementation. 

Sens. Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) also cosponsored the legislation.

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced that Marquise McGill will accompany him to this year’s State of the Union address. McGill is a Washington native who grew up in the southeast corner of the city. He works in the Senate as part of the AbilityOne Program. He and Kennedy both work in the Russell Senate Office Building.

“Marquise brings an incredible attitude and ability to the Senate. He and his colleagues make so much of what we do here possible. Marquise has already distinguished himself as an outstanding member of his team and hopes to one day run his own custodial business. It’s my honor to attend the State of the Union address with someone who has invested in his community and who helps keep the Senate running smoothly,” said Kennedy.

 

McGill has more than three years of experience working for Goodwill of Greater Washington. He began his role in the Senate in 2020, supporting senators and their staff as a custodian. A father of three, McGill says his children are his motivation for working hard and providing for his family. 

The AbilityOne Program is an independent federal initiative that helps people with disabilities attain meaningful employment. The AbilityOne Program employs roughly 40,000 individuals—including more than 2,500 veterans—who are blind or otherwise disabled.

This year marks the fourth time Kennedy has invited a Senate custodian as his guest for the president’s State of the Union address. This is also the first year that senators have been able to invite guests since the coronavirus pandemic began.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) tonight responded to Pres. Biden’s State of the Union address on behalf of the people of Louisiana.

“In Washington, you have to watch what people do, not what they say. In Washington, what you do is what you believe, and everything else is just cottage cheese,” explained Kennedy.

“President Biden has been president now for two years. We know what he believes because we know what he has done: Higher taxes. Bigger government. More spending. More debt. More regulations. Open borders. A weaker military. Criminals are the good guys. And every school library should have at least one drag queen, no matter what the parents think,” he observed.

“The president tonight talked about how ‘sound’ the American economy is under his watch. . . . President Biden wants you to believe . . . that hamburger costs four bucks a pound, a whole chicken costs eight bucks and your 401(k) is crashing because the economy is so ‘good’—it’s not true.

“The American people and the people of Louisiana deserve better,” Kennedy concluded.

Video of Kennedy’s message is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Prosecutors Need to Prosecute Act to require district attorneys (DAs) to report violent crimes that they fail to charge criminals with committing. Prosecutors who fail to report these decisions risk losing priority funding for their districts.

“Criminals are victimizing innocent Americans, and woke prosecutors are letting them do it over and over again. Louisianians and all Americans deserve to know when their district attorneys refuse to stand up for victims. Our bill would require prosecutors to report what crimes they fail to prosecute so that Americans can better hold their public servants accountable,” said Kennedy.

The legislation responds to a nation-wide trend of DAs who are declining to prosecute murder, aggravated assault, robbery, rape, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson and other serious crimes.

Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have cosponsored the bill.

“As communities throughout the nation continue to deal with disturbingly high levels of violent crime, I’m proud to support this legislation to increase transparency for soft-on-crime prosecutors and hold jurisdictions accountable for allowing criminals who are charged with gun-related crimes to get out of jail without posting cash bail,” said Thune.

“With crime on the rise in Democrat-led cities across the nation, it is imperative that these Soros-backed prosecutors work, do their jobs and get these violent offenders off our streets, instead of allowing career criminals to run rampant in our community. Catch-and-release is enough of a disaster on the Texas-Mexico border. The last thing we need is to institute it in our courts. I’m proud to stand with Sen. Kennedy and our colleagues to demand transparency about this abdication of professional responsibility,” said Cruz.

The bill would apply to state and local prosecutors in the 50 U.S. cities in which crime is most on the rise—including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and New Orleans. Requiring DA’s to publicly report crimes that go unprosecuted will help the Justice Department better determine which jurisdictions are allowing defendants to avoid criminal penalties for serious crimes. For example, jurisdictions with a formal policy that eliminates cash bail for offenses involving a firearm would lose certain federal grant funding.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Over the past two years, we've seen a disturbing trend in big-city district attorneys working to keep dangerous criminals on our streets rather than behind bars. Look no further than my city of New York where Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg released a 'Day One' memo initially directing his staff to not prosecute certain crimes, downgrade other felony charges filed by police, and no longer seek sentences of life without parole. The same type of woke policies have been enacted by progressive DAs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, and voters have had enough. With prosecutors refusing to prosecute and governors only enabling their leniency, Congress has a responsibility to step in and arm the public with the information they need to make informed decisions at the ballot box,” said Malliotakis.

In recent years, a multimillion-dollar project to replace effective policing in major cities with practices inspired by the defund-the-police movement has helped elect DAs who repeatedly refuse to prosecute violent crime.

The bill’s text is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and all Senate Republicans in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval to prevent the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing a rule that expands federal regulation over certain bodies of water, including wetlands, streams and more. The rule makes the power grab by establishing a new definition for the 'Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) that will negatively affect land owners small and large in addition to businesses across the state.

“The Biden administration’s latest move is just another example of its effort to seize more power for Washington bureaucrats and placate woke activists. If Congress does not stop the EPA’s power grab, Louisiana’s farmers, oil producers and land owners will suffer crushing and unfair regulation of their private properties. Their businesses could even face legal punishment,” said Kennedy.

“With its overreaching navigable waters rule, the Biden administration upended regulatory certainty and placed unnecessary burdens directly on millions of Americans. This Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval will give every member of Congress the chance to stand with farmers, ranchers, landowners, and builders, and protect future transportation, infrastructure, and energy projects of all kinds in their states. I appreciate the widespread support we’ve received in both the Senate and House, and across the country, as we fight to place an important check on this misguided overreach from the Biden administration,” said Capito.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) is leading the resolution in the House of Representatives.

Background: 

  • In 2015, the Obama-Biden administration finalized a rule expanding the definition of WOTUS.
  • In 2020, the Trump administration finalized a rule undoing the previous administration’s regulations.
  • In December 2022, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a final rule on WOTUS to regulate traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters and upstream water resources in compliance with the Clean Water Act of 2015.

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) cosponsored the CRA joint resolution.