WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $6,293,558 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.
“I am grateful to see that this $6.3 million will go towards protecting multiple properties in Slidell and Jefferson Parish from flooding,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $3,397,731 for the elevation of 19 properties affected by flooding in Slidell, La.
- $2,895,827 for the elevation of 18 properties affected by flooding in Jefferson Parish.
Democrat witnesses refuse to answer Kennedy question: “Do you support abortion up to the moment of birth?”
Apr 26 2023
Watch full video of Kennedy’s exchange here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned hearing witnesses about whether they support making it legal to abort, with unfettered discretion, an unborn child up to the moment of birth.
Two witnesses invited by Democrats repeatedly refused to tell Kennedy whether they would support such a law. Both witnesses invited by Republicans on the committee said they would not support that law.
After giving majority witnesses Michele Goodwin, a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and Nisha Verma, M.D. several opportunities to answer whether they support “making it legal to abort an unborn baby for any reason—any reason—up to the moment before birth,” Kennedy noted the significance of their refusal.
“I want you to all understand where I'm coming from. This is a tough issue. And it’s a tough issue because there’s some tough questions we’ve got to answer. And when you won’t answer the questions, when you're invited by my Democratic friends—the majority—and you won’t answer the most fundamental question: We’ve got a bill in front of us that will basically say, ‘A woman has the unfettered right to abort, at any time, for any reason, up to the moment of birth.’ And that’s a gut-check issue. And, I would expect you, as experts, to answer that truthfully, how you’d do it,” he said.
When presented with the same question, the two witnesses invited by Republicans responded candidly.
Monique Wubbenhorst, M.D. said, “No.”
Ingrid Skop, M.D. replied, “I do not support unfettered abortion, and I would like to point out that, if a woman did have a life-threatening condition in pregnancy past approximately 22 weeks, that baby can be delivered alive by induction or C-section, and we can try to save that baby. The intent of abortion is a dead baby, and that is not necessary in that situation.”
Watch the full exchange here.
Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today raised concerns over the rising price of flood insurance during a hearing to address housing challenges.
Kennedy encouraged Lou Tisler, executive director of the National NeighborWorks Association, and other witnesses to examine the negative impact that rising flood insurance rates are having on the availability of affordable housing in Louisiana and America.
Key elements of the exchange are below.
Kennedy: “Mr. Tisler, do you think the federal government should be making it more expensive to build affordable housing?”
Tisler: “Absolutely not, sir.”
Kennedy: “Well, it is. To build a home, of course—I think we can agree on this—requires money. And the people who loan that money, of course, expect to be paid back. And they expect to protect their collateral—which is the affordable home. The mortgagee—or the person who loans the money—oftentimes requires that the homeowner carry insurance. Can we agree on that?”
Tisler: “Yes, sir.”
Kennedy: “And more and more, the mortgagee—the person loaning the money—requires the homeowner to carry flood insurance. Yet, while you are here advocating—as we all are—for affordable housing, our federal government through FEMA is working as hard as it can to increase the cost of flood insurance.
“FEMA hired a company called Milliman to write a new algorithm which, Milliman says, can look at every individual home in the United States and predict its flood risk over the next 30 years. Amazing. There’s just one problem: They won't share with anyone the algorithm, and, as a result of that algorithm, national flood insurance costs have gone—I'll give you the national figure—from 808 bucks to $1,808.
“I'll give you some concrete examples. . . . In St. Mary Parish, the median household income is $40,000, roughly. The new flood insurance rate in St. Mary Parish is $5,226 a year, as a result of FEMA’s actions. That doesn’t include homeowners’, that doesn’t include property tax, and that doesn’t include liability insurance—that’s flood [insurance].
“Now, how can you build an affordable home for someone when they have to pay half of the cost of the home—when you add up all this insurance they have to carry—in insurance?”
Watch the full exchange here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today wrote to the chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission, David Johanson, about the need to keep antidumping duty orders on frozen warmwater shrimp from China, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The continued importation of foreign shrimp threatens the entirety of our nation’s shrimp value chain, which includes our beloved fishermen, dockworkers, processors, and distributors. In 2003, before these petitions were filed, the industry began to feel extreme pressures as dumped imports rapidly depressed domestic prices, resulting in significant reductions in employment and revenues across the country,” Kennedy wrote.
Louisiana’s shrimp industry accounts for nearly 15,000 domestic jobs, which generate roughly $1.3 billion in economic value across the state each year.
“Not only is the shrimp industry a substantial source of economic value, but it also represents a way of life for thousands of Louisianians and their families. Simply put, these folks take great pride in their work, and their unwavering participation in the domestic shrimp industry has helped keep it afloat,” explained the senator.
“I encourage you to give the positions submitted by the U.S. shrimp industry full and fair consideration . . . Louisianians involved in this industry deserve the opportunity to compete fairly, and I hope that you will provide them with that chance,” Kennedy concluded.
The letter is available here.
Kennedy, Cassidy introduce resolution celebrating LSU women’s basketball national championship win, honoring Coach Mulkey
Apr 25 2023
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today introduced a resolution to recognize the Louisiana State University (LSU) Fighting Tigers women's basketball team for their historic win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, earning their first national championship title.
“Louisiana could not be prouder of LSU’s Lady Tigers and Coach Kim Mulkey for making history. LSU scored the most points ever in a NCAA women’s championship game, and it’s an honor to recognize how much their hard work and fighting spirit paid off. Geaux Tigers!” said Kennedy.
“Kim Mulkey and the Tigers have left their mark on college sports history. They went from a losing season two years ago to winning a national championship and packing stadiums in record numbers. What a triumph! Geaux Tigers!!” said Cassidy.
The senators’ resolution would also:
- Congratulate Head Coach Kim Mulkey on becoming the third coach to win four national championships in NCAA Division I women’s college basketball history in addition to being the first to win championships with multiple programs.
- Thank LSU fans for their dedication to the sport, as well as assistant coaches Bob Starkey, Daphne Mitchell and Gary Redus II.
- Thank LSU President William Tate IV and LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward.
Read the full resolution here.
Kennedy introduces the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act to prevent suicide
Apr 24 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act to require colleges and universities to provide the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Crisis Text Line and a campus mental health center on student identification cards. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is the lead co-sponsor of the legislation.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously in the 117th and 116th Congresses.
“One third of adolescent Americans today are struggling with their mental health, including depression or hopelessness, and they often do not know where to seek help. My bill would ensure that the mental health resources our young people need are always in the palm of their hands by adding important hotline numbers to their school ID cards. I hope my colleagues will join me in passing this commonsense legislation,” said Kennedy.
“Drawing from my experience working for a peer-counseling center when I was in college, I understand the dire need for mental health resources in our colleges and universities. We must do more to destigmatize seeking help. By having colleges and universities provide students with vital mental health resources, we can help address the mental health crisis and ensure our youth have access to the care they need," said Booker.
Reps. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.) are leading the bill in the House.
“Our nation's young people are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis. There has never been a generation this depressed, anxious, and suicidal; it's our responsibility to provide America's young adults with the crucial mental health resources that they both need and deserve. I'm proud to stand beside my colleagues - from both sides of the aisle - to introduce common-sense legislation that will do exactly that,” said Stewart.
“Too many of our young people are taking their own lives, and we must act. That’s why this legislation is so crucial as we work to address this worsening mental health crisis. By adding crucial suicide prevention information to Student I.D.s and college websites, we can ensure at-risk students have options. I am grateful to my colleagues for stepping up, joining together, and working across the aisle to address suicide amongst our youth—to ensure that every young person gets to see the future they deserve,” said Correa.
Since the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act was initially passed, studies have found that students are experiencing an increase in negative psychological affects due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act would:
- Require colleges and universities to provide the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988, Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741), and a campus mental health center, if applicable, on student identification cards.
- Require colleges and universities to list the information on their websites if the school does not offer identification cards to students.
- The National Institute of Mental Health deems suicide a major public health concern.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in 2021, four in 10 students felt persistently sad and nearly one-third experienced poor mental health.
- A recent study found that college students may be at a greater risk for suicide compared to the general population.
Active Minds and the Crisis Text Line support this legislation.
Full bull text is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have demanded answers from the Biden administration about the United Nation’s (U.N.) recent sponsorship of a report that asserts that minor children can consent to sex with adults.
“The U.N.’s effort to normalize sex with minor children is barbaric. It violates kids’ basic human rights and ignores our responsibility to protect them from abuse. American taxpayer dollars shouldn’t fund pedophilia or any organization that promotes it,” said Kennedy of the report.
Kennedy and Rubio, along with Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Budd (N.C.) asked the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, whether the Biden administration was aware of the U.N. report before it was published. The senators also opposed funding any U.N. initiatives that promote underage sex.
“We stand firmly against any foreign effort that seeks to undermine the well-established legal principle that children do not possess the emotional or mental maturity required to consent to sexual relations. We, therefore, request your immediate opposition to these efforts and to rescind any U.S. taxpayer money that may have contributed to the United Nations that crafted this report,” the lawmakers wrote.
“This flies in the face of laws across the United States, and much of the world affirms that all manners of sex between children and adults are coercive. It also contradicts Article 34 of the United Nations’ own Convention on the Rights of the Child that obligates nations to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse,” they continued.
“The ICJ report gives credence to abhorrent pedophiles and sexual predators who claim that their vile acts should be decriminalized because children would be able to consent to sex. It is imperative that we stand against any effort that undermines the existing legal protections that safeguard children from sexual predators,” the senators concluded.
The full letter is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $9,111,570 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.
“Hurricane Ida hit our state hard, and Louisianians are still recovering. That’s why I’m grateful to see that this $9 million will go towards the communities of New Orleans and south Louisiana,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $5,598,446 to the South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association for management costs as a result of Hurricane Ida.
- $2,474,864 to New Orleans Sewerage and Water for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.
- $1,038,260 to St. Jude’s Nursing Home for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.
Kennedy, Cruz introduce bill to repeal Biden’s Superfund Tax, protect Louisiana’s chemical jobs
Apr 20 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in introducing the Chemical Tax Repeal Act to eliminate the Superfund Tax that President Biden’s infrastructure package imposed on job creators in Louisiana and elsewhere.
“The White House’s petrochemical tax is targeting Louisiana’s industry specifically—and it’s working. President Biden’s rampant inflation and fake infrastructure bill are still ravaging our economy, and his administration’s $1.3 billion tax on Louisiana industry will hurt jobs and job creators. Congress must repeal this tax before it does too much damage to the economy,” said Kennedy.
“Inflation has skyrocketed under President Biden, and his Chemical Tax would only make things worse. This tax increases prices on Texas and American manufacturers, driving up the prices of everyday household items that families need. Repealing this tax would benefit those most harmed by Washington’s out-of-control, inflation-driving spending: American families and those on a fixed income,” said Cruz.
The Superfund Tax that Pres. Biden’s ill-named infrastructure bill implemented targets Louisiana’s petrochemical industry directly. These manufacturers will pay an estimated $1.3 billion in new taxes over 10 years, or $130 million a year—second only to Texas. The newly-signed law increases the Superfund Tax to twice its prior levels. It imposes roughly $14.5 billion in taxes on 42 different chemicals, critical minerals and metallic elements that are the building blocks of common household items such as plastics, rubber, concrete, soap, lightbulbs and electronics.
Groups against the Superfund tax include the National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Freedom Works and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
Kennedy introduces bipartisan U.S. and Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act to counter communist aggression, strengthen diplomatic ties in Pacific
Apr 19 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the U.S. and Pacific Islands Forum Partnership Act to promote diplomacy and combat Communist China’s increased aggression in the Pacific. The proposed legislation would solidify the establishment of a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF).
“Communist China aims to broaden its sphere of influence across southeast Asia, and America’s diplomacy in the Pacific has been a long-term challenge. Beijing is putting more economic and diplomatic pressure on the Pacific Island states each day, and one of the clearest and easiest steps that Congress can take to counter this communist antagonism is to establish a special envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum,” said Kennedy.
The PIF is an international organization of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island nations. Beijing recognizes that these nations are strategically located in the Pacific Ocean and has already established a special envoy to the PIF. After Sen. Kennedy introduced this bill last Congress, the U.S. appointed an equivalent counterpart, but the position isn’t currently cemented in law. Kennedy’s bill would make the Special Envoy position permanent and require the role to have Senate confirmation, reflecting U.S. commitment to strengthening growth and cooperation with these important Pacific Island countries.
Making the position Senate-confirmed would also elevate diplomacy in the region and ensure accountability to Congress. This special envoy will help answer a diversity of threats from the communist regime by deepening trust and increasing dialogue on the Pacific Islands’ economic, cyber security and military concerns.
Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have cosponsored the legislation.
Kennedy’s op-ed on the importance of establishing this envoy role to combat China’s aggressive Pacific expansionism is here.
The bill text is available here.