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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and colleagues in urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to seek answers following two Jordanian nationals’ attempt to break into Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Reports indicate that the individuals illegally crossed the southern border to enter into the U.S. One individual is currently on the U.S. terror watch list. 

“The military community at Marine Corps Base Quantico and the American people deserve answers regarding the terrorism and counter-intelligence threats posed by the Biden administration’s open border policies,” the senators wrote. 

“This deeply concerning incident occurred mere weeks after a Chinese national who was in the country illegally broke into Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms on March 27. This individual attempted to enter the base without valid identification and, despite being instructed by base security to exit, proceeded onto the installation until he was caught and detained by military law enforcement,” they continued.

“Due to the serious nature of these threats and the danger not just to our military installations but the American public, we request that the Department of Homeland Security brief the undersigned senators or their staff,” the senators concluded. 

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz, (R-Texas), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Small Business Committee, today introduced the DOE and SBA Research Act to require the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to collaborate on ways to create more opportunities for small businesses to win government contracts.

The House of Representatives has passed the companion bill, which Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) and Shri Thanedar (D-Mich.) co-led.

“The DOE and SBA Research Act would help ensure the government is doing all that it can to expand contract opportunities to Louisiana and America’s best job providers—small businesses. The Senate should send this common-sense bill to the president’s desk quickly,” said Kennedy.

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program helps ensure that small businesses get the training they need to better access government contracting opportunities.

Specifically, the DOE and SBA Research Act would require the DOE and SBA to submit a report to Congress describing the coordination efforts, potential opportunities to expand technical capabilities and collaborative research achievements made to further small business opportunity in the federal marketplace.

Full text of the bill is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $15,670,984 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Louisianians are still recovering from Hurricanes Laura and Ida’s sucker punches. This $15.7 million will go towards Lake Charles’s recovery and flood protection projects in Ruston and Terrebonne and West Feliciana Parishes,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $7,717,140 to the Office of Risk Management for the retrofitting of five Delgado Community College buildings to prepare for future storms. 
  • $3,565,659 to Lake Charles, La. for debris removal operations resulting from Hurricane Laura. 
  • $1,527,908 to the city of Ruston to design, purchase and install 27 generators for critical utilities.
  • $1,191,316 to Terrebonne Parish for the permanent restoration of the South Wastewater Treatment Plant facilities that Hurricane Ida damaged. 
  • $1,130,222 to West Feliciana Parish for Phase II of the Hardwood Drainage Improvement project to prevent flood damage to residential homes.
  • $428,730 to the Office of Risk Management for management costs associated with the Delgado Community College projects.
  • $110,009 to the city of Ruston for management costs associated with the generator replacement project.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and colleagues in urging the Biden administration’s Department of Education (DOE) to withdraw its proposed rule that would transfer an additional $147 billion in student loan debt to American taxpayers. If implemented, the rule would bring the total debt transferred to Americans to as much as $1 trillion. 

In April, the DOE published its proposed rule, which would amend regulations in the Higher Education Act of 1965 to waive student loan debt for tens of millions of borrowers.

“The Biden administration describes this regulation as ‘targeted relief,’ yet the Department’s own estimates show the opposite. This is even broader than the Department’s first attempt: at an estimated price tag of $147 billion, taxpayers are being forced to take on the debt of nearly 28 million borrowers,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“In addition to the fiscally irresponsible nature of this backdoor attempt to enact ‘free’ college, the administration continues to use borrowers as political pawns knowing full well these proposed actions are illegal. The Supreme Court [made] it abundantly clear that there is zero authority to write-off federal student loans en masse last June when the Department’s ‘Plan A’ was ruled unconstitutional,” they continued. 

The lawmakers also raised concerns because the Biden administration dedicated resources to drafting a “Plan B” to cancel student loans for Americans who already attended college after “Plan A” failed in the Supreme Court, but it did not make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available to prospective college students.

“Failure to make the FAFSA available to these prospective students on time will have life-long consequences for many young Americans. We already know, as of March 29, FAFSA completion for seniors in high school is down by 40 percent. Those who do not file will likely not attend college next year and maybe never will,” they wrote.

The lawmakers concluded by urging the Biden administration to work with Congress to solve the higher education financing crisis.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) also signed the letter along with more than 90 members of the House of Representatives.  

Full text of the letter is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today urged President Joe Biden to fire Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Martin Gruenberg. Kennedy argued that Gruenberg’s eventual resignation would not protect the employees who have endured persistent harassment at the agency during his tenure.

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s speech are below:

“I don’t remember seeing any exceptions in the MeToo Movement for President Biden’s appointees to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. We call it the FDIC. There’s not supposed to be a carve-out for bigots and perverts at the FDIC to harass their coworkers when they’re supposed to be regulating America’s banks. So why hasn’t President Biden shown FDIC chairman, Mr. Martin Gruenberg, and his leadership team the door? Why hasn’t he fired them?”

. . .

“Mr. Gruenberg didn’t just supervise the harassment at the FDIC. According to the report, he participated in it. According to Mr. Gruenberg’s employees, Chairman Gruenberg repeatedly ‘disrespected, disparaged, and mistreated’ his staff. Not the predators, but his staff that was trying to help him manage the agency.

“According to the report, Mr. Gruenberg would berate them, threaten to fire them, participate in ‘embarrassing and inappropriate’ group chats with them, and throw temper tantrums where he’d throw papers his staff prepared for him against the wall.”

. . .

“Mr. Gruenberg and every single member of senior management ought to hide their heads in a bag. . . .  These folks ought to quit, and they ought to quit today. And if they don’t, President Biden should fire them. Anything short of firing them will show that President Biden condones this behavior.”

. . .

“President Biden correctly said that he would fire ‘on the spot’ any appointee who disrespected other members of his staff. Those are the president’s words: ‘on the spot.’ And he told his appointees that he expected them to do the same. The evidence, Madam President, is plentiful that Chairman Gruenberg disrespected his staff and allowed a toxic culture to bloom at the FDIC.

“He should resign. He should resign immediately. It’s time to clean house at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.”

Background

  • The FDIC recently published a report detailing the toxic culture that has unfolded at the agency under Chairman Gruenberg’s watch.
  • More than 500 of the FDIC’s 6,000 employees reported instances of sexual harassment, racial or gender discrimination, verbal abuse or other inappropriate behavior.
  • Several employees accused Gruenberg of threatening and verbally abusive conduct. Employees reported that Gruenberg has an explosive temper and often berated employees, including one instance where he threw the staff’s papers against the wall. One employee said, “In my entire career of 35 years, I’ve never had anybody treat me like that.”
  • Gruenberg has been on the FDIC’s Board of Directors since August 2005. During that time, at least 92 employees reported instances of harassment or discrimination to the agency. Investigators found that the FDIC did not fire, demote or cut the pay of a single alleged harasser while Gruenberg was on the FDIC’s board.
  • In 2021, Biden vowed to fire any appointee who disrespected his or her staff “on the spot.” The president also said he expects each appointee to similarly fire employees who disrespect their colleagues. Biden has not yet asked for Gruenberg’s resignation.
  • Kennedy called for Gruenberg’s resignation last year when revelations of his inappropriate conduct at the FDIC broke. He penned this op-ed in The Hill urging Gruenberg to resign so a new leader could address the culture problems within the agency.

Watch Kennedy’s full speech here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped introduce a resolution to designate May 12 through May 18, as National Police Week. The Senate unanimously adopted the resolution.

“One of the toughest jobs in the world is being a police officer, especially when so many officers don’t get the recognition they deserve. I can’t thank Louisiana’s brave policemen and women enough for the good work they do to keep our communities safe, and I am proud of the Senate for honoring our heroes today,” said Kennedy.

The resolution:

  • Designates the week of May 12 through 18, 2024, as “National Police Week.”
  • Expresses unwavering support for law enforcement officers across the U.S. in the pursuit of preserving safe and secure communities.
  • Recognizes the need to ensure that law enforcement officers have the equipment, training and resources that are necessary in order to protect the health and safety of the officers while they protect the public.
  • Acknowledges that Americans should remember and honor police officers and other law enforcement personnel, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
  • Expresses condolences and solemn appreciation to the loved ones of each law enforcement officer who has given his or her life in the line of duty.
  • Encourages the people of the U.S. to observe National Police Week by honoring law enforcement personnel and promoting awareness of the essential mission that law enforcement personnel undertake in service to their communities and the U.S.

Background: 

  • Kennedy introduced the Back the Blue Act to increase penalties for criminals who target law enforcement officers and provide new tools for officers to protect themselves. 
  • The Senate passed the Kennedy-backed Recruit and Retain Act to address the nation-wide shortage of law enforcement officers, increase recruitment and address workforce challenges.

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today introduced the Quality Loss Adjustment Improvement for Farmers Act. The bill would give farmers more flexibility by improving the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC)’s ability to set discounts for farmers who experience crop loss.

“Too often, federal insurers give American farmers short shrift when regional disasters damage their crops. The Quality Loss Adjustment Improvement for Farmers Act would make sure that fickle government policies don’t control the fate of Louisiana’s soybean farmers,” said Kennedy.

The Quality Loss Adjustment Improvement for Farmers Act would give the FCIC more latitude to review the methodology it uses to determine discounts for farmers who experience crop loss. It would give stakeholders input into the process of setting those discounts and require a report to be issued following the review. It would also allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to establish a regional discount consideration that accounts for extreme weather events and natural disasters. 

Background: 

  • The FCIC, which the RMA manages, provides federal crop insurance policies to approved insurance providers to sell coverage to America’s farmers and ranchers.
  • The discounts provided to farmers who experience crop loss generally do not reflect the real damages farmers incur. This often leaves farmers without the flexibility they need to keep their farms afloat in the long run.
  • The FCIC does not take regional disasters into account when it calculates discounts. 
  • In the face of recent weather-related challenges, weaknesses in FCIC policies have significantly handicapped Louisiana’s soybean farmers. 

Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.) is introducing the legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Farmers have to deal with extreme conditions and unpredictability during their seasons, and are unfortunately left without the support they need when faced with sudden crop losses. Soybean farmers in particular were negatively impacted by extreme weather and natural disasters in the fall of 2022. This bill will provide them with additional assistance during their most challenging times moving forward. I thank my friend Senator Kennedy for his collaboration to champion our agriculture industry across the state of Louisiana,” said Letlow.

The Louisiana Farm Bureau supports Kennedy’s Quality Loss Adjustment Improvement for Farmers Act.

“To see Senator Kennedy and Congresswoman Letlow stick with us through disasters, but then also not forget about those times once the storm clears, is a real testament to their representation of Louisiana Agriculture. Crop insurance can be a complicated issue, but these two members of the Louisiana delegation know the importance of protecting our tax payer resources, while also protecting our national food security. The Quality Loss Adjustment Improvement for Farmers Act does just that and is a huge step in the right direction as we enter a season of Farm Bill debate. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate, but we are very thankful for this bill and these members leadership,” said Louisiana Farm Bureau President Jim Harper.

Full text of the Quality Loss Adjustment Improvement for Farmers Act is available here

 

 

 

 

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today asked Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Martin Gruenberg if he would like to apologize to his employees for the well-documented harassment and bullying that they endured under his leadership.

Kennedy also called on Gruenberg to resign so that a more qualified leader could step in to improve the culture at the FDIC.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself. . . . I'm embarrassed to have to even read some of these allegations,” Kennedy said.

“These folks on the first row behind you—are they FDIC employees? Would you like to turn around and apologize to the female employees sitting behind you at the FDIC?” Kennedy asked.

Gruenberg then turned and issued a short apology to FDIC employees, after which Kennedy added, “And now I think you ought to resign.”

Background

  • The FDIC recently published a report detailing the toxic culture that has unfolded at the agency under Chairman Gruenberg’s watch.
  • More than 500 of the FDIC’s 6,000 employees reported instances of sexual harassment, racial or gender discrimination, verbal abuse or other inappropriate behavior.
  • Several employees accused Gruenberg of threatening and verbally abusive conduct. Employees reported that Gruenberg has an explosive temper and often berated employees, including one instance where he threw the staff’s papers against the wall. One employee said, “In my entire career of 35 years, I’ve never had anybody treat me like that.”
  • Gruenberg has been on the FDIC’s Board of Directors since August 2005. During that time, at least 92 employees reported instances of harassment or discrimination to the agency. Investigators found that the FDIC did not fire, demote or cut the pay of a single alleged harasser while Gruenberg was on the FDIC’s board.
  • In 2021, President Joe Biden vowed to fire any appointee who disrespected his or her staff “on the spot.” The president also said he expects each appointee to similarly fire employees who disrespect their colleagues. Biden has not yet asked for Gruenberg’s resignation. 
  • Kennedy first called for Gruenberg’s resignation last year when revelations of his inappropriate conduct at the FDIC broke. He penned this op-ed in The Hill urging Gruenberg to resign so a new leader could address the culture problems within the agency.

 Watch Kennedy’s full exchange with Gruenberg here.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and 42 Republican senators introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing an anti-Second Amendment rule that would effectively require anyone who sells firearms to register as federal firearm licensees.

“The Biden administration is weaponizing every tool at its disposal against law-abiding gun-owners. Congress should vote to block Pres. Biden’s ATF from unconstitutionally creating new ways to strangle Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” said Kennedy.

The rule, titled “Definition of ‘Engaged in the Business’ as a Dealer in Firearms,” would functionally force anyone who sells firearms—even small, part-time collectors—to register as federal firearm licensees and conduct background checks on those who purchase from them.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) is introducing the resolution in the House of Representatives.

“The ATF’s ‘engaged in the business’ rule represents President Biden’s latest attempt to institute universal background checks, advance the Left’s radical gun control agenda, and infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Private citizens simply shouldn’t be forced to jump through unelected, anti-gun bureaucrats’ unconstitutional hurdles to engage in lawful firearms transactions. I look forward to leading this critical CRA in the House, and I urge my colleagues in both chambers to support our measure to stop the Biden Administration’s tyranny in its tracks," said Clyde.

Background

  • In Feb. 2023, Kennedy joined Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and a bicameral group of Republican colleagues in urging Attorney General Merrick Garland and ATF Director Steven Dettelbach to explain the Biden administration’s unfair, zero-tolerance policies toward gun dealers.
  • In Mar. 2023, Kennedy introduced a CRA resolution to prevent the Biden administration’s ATF from an enforcing an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule.
  • In Mar. 2024, Kennedy secured a win for veterans that blocks the Biden administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs from unilaterally stripping veterans of their Second Amendment rights.

 

WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) today unanimously passed Sens. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) and Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. The bipartisan bill would curb erroneous payments to deceased individuals and save taxpayers millions of dollars.

In 2020, the senators’ Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law and established provisions to fix inefficiencies among government agencies’ communications that led the government to make erroneous payments to deceased individuals. The current proposal would make those solutions permanent. 

“The committee was right to advance our bipartisan bill to save taxpayers millions of dollars. There’s no reason for hard working Americans to be on the hook for government’s mistaken payments to dead people. The full Senate should pass our bill immediately,” said Kennedy.

“It’s important that we, as lawmakers, act as good stewards of American taxpayer dollars. Today, I was proud to join my colleagues on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to unanimously advance the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. Through my time in the Senate, I have worked hard to end improper payments and curb waste in government. I’m grateful for my partnership with Senator Kennedy as we continue this critical work, and I look forward to the whole Senate considering this bipartisan, commonsense legislation,”said Carper. 

The Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act would amend the Social Security Act to allow the Social Security Administration to share the Death Master File—a record of deceased individuals—with the Treasury Department’s Do Not Pay system on a permanent basis. This change would reign in the government’s pattern of making improper payments to deceased people into the future.

The bill would also allow Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system to compare death information from the Social Security Administration with personal information from other entities and to share this information with any paying or administering agency authorized to use the Do Not Pay system.

Background:

  • Kennedy and Carper's Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act became law in December 2020. The bill mandates the sharing of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File with the Department of the Treasury’s Do Not Pay working system for three years after enactment. The three-year exchange runs from December 27, 2023 to December 27, 2026.
  • In FY2023 alone, the Government Accountability Office estimated that federal agencies made an estimated $236 billion in improper payments in FY 2023, including payments to deceased Americans. The GAO estimated the cumulative federal improper payments have totaled about $2.7 trillion since FY 2003. 
  • In 2021, Kennedy wrote this op-ed sounding the alarm on alarm on billions in erroneous payments made by the government to deceased Americans.
  • In 2019, Kennedy questioned U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Hon. Gene L. Dodaro about improper payments to deceased people. 

Full text of the Ending Improper Payments to Deceased People Act is available here.