Media

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) offered an amendment to the Senate budget resolution that would prohibit any changes to the treatment of like-kind exchanges in the U.S. tax code. The Senate adopted Kennedy’s amendment.

“President Biden’s tax-and-spending binge would be a direct tax on the middle class, and he wants to make that load heavier by limiting tax deferrals through like-kind exchanges. Like-kind exchanges directly benefit Middle America by creating jobs and affordable housing. Congress should pursue economic policies that multiply opportunity and productivity, and I’m glad the Senate voted for an amendment that will support middle- and working-class Americans,” said Kennedy. 

Americans have to pay capital gains taxes when they make profits from a property sale. When individuals engage in a like-kind exchange—reinvesting profits from one property sale into a similar property of equal or greater value—they can defer those capital gains taxes.

Like-kind exchanges apply to any real estate used for business, trade or other productive purposes. Deferrals from these sales encourage people to pour resources back into the market.

Text of the amendment is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s extended remarks on the infrastructure package here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon voting against the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending binge and tax increase:

“The infrastructure bill will cost taxpayers $1.2 trillion­­, $550 billion in new spending. The bill is 2,700 pages—twice as long as the Bible. We were given only a few days to read it. 

“This is not an infrastructure bill. It’s an infrastructure, Green New Deal and welfare bill. Only 23 percent of the new spending in the bill is for actual infrastructure.

“We were told the bill would be paid for. That’s not accurate. It would increase America’s deficit by at least $256 billion. That’s more than the entire GDP of Louisiana.

“We were told the bill does not raise taxes. That’s not accurate. It raises taxes on Louisiana industry specifically.

 “It has been represented that Louisiana will receive $6 billion in new money for infrastructure. That’s not accurate. We would have received more than $4.8 billion anyway from the Federal Highway Trust Fund even if the infrastructure bill had not passed. Louisiana will only receive $1.1 billion in new money over 10 years, or about $110 million a year. That is less than 10 percent of the $12 billion that Sen. Schumer will get for a single tunnel in New York.

“Louisiana’s money is in effect coming from new taxes on Louisiana businesses. Louisiana petrochemical manufacturers will pay an estimated $1.3 billion in new taxes over 10 years, or $130 million a year—second only to Texas.

“So, Louisiana will receive $110 million a year in new road money and pay for it with roughly $130 million in new taxes that impact more than 100,000 chemical jobs. Louisiana is losing money on this deal.

“The infrastructure bill and the second bill right behind it—the $5.5 trillion tax-and-spending binge—are joined at the hip. President Biden, Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have all said we won’t have one without the other. The proponents of the infrastructure bill say it makes it harder to pass the tax-and-spending binge, so why is every Democrat in the Senate voting for the infrastructure bill?

“I also voted against the infrastructure bill because it provides no disaster aid for southwest Louisiana.

“Additionally, this bill is an inflation bomb. I don’t usually brag about the expensive places I go, but I just came back from the gas station. This bill is going to make prices worse. 

“This bill shortchanges Louisiana and America. I support infrastructure, but not ‘at any cost.’ I support infrastructure, but not ‘no matter what.’ This is not really an infrastructure bill. It contains new taxes, and we will still have to borrow money to pay for the bill. It severely deepens the debt that we’re leaving for Louisiana’s children and grandchildren.

“The proponents of the infrastructure bill say that it shows that Washington works. It does not. It just shows that Washington can spend money that it doesn’t have.”

View Kennedy’s extended remarks on the specific problems with the infrastructure bill here.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) filed an amendment to the Senate infrastructure bill that would block a new tax on chemical manufacturers.

“The infrastructure bill’s chemical tax would cost Louisiana companies more than one billion dollars, which puts good jobs in danger. The chemical industry supports more than 100,000 jobs in our state, and this tax takes direct aim at those jobs. I urge the Senate to adopt this amendment blocking that tax,” said Kennedy.

The proposed tax would cost Louisiana companies $125 to $130 million a year. Over 10 years, that tax would total roughly $1.3 billion. Many of the chemicals the tax penalizes are used to manufacture batteries, light bulbs, soap, paper, medical supplies and other common consumer items.

Text of the amendment is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced an amendment that will tackle problems with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), ensure the program’s affordability for middle-class homeowners and invest in cost-saving disaster mitigation and prevention.

Louisianians are resilient, but they depend on affordable flood insurance to protect and rebuild their homes. FEMA is planning to raise flood insurance rates on Louisianians but refuses to explain how or why. It’s urgent that the Senate adopt this amendment to keep premiums from skyrocketing and to help protect Louisiana communities from future floods,” said Kennedy.

“In order to protect hardworking homeowners and ensure our nation is prepared for future storms, it’s vital that we make these reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. I urge my colleagues to pass this amendment so we can ensure the NFIP is more sustainable and affordable for homeowners and that FEMA has the resources to invest in preventative and mitigation measures,” said Menendez.

The amendment includes the following measures:

  • Premium hike cap: Currently, premiums can more than double every four years, but this amendment will protect policyholders from exorbitant premium hikes by capping annual increases at nine percent.

  • Robust mitigation investment: Provides $25 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding for states to invest in mitigation and prevention projects.

  • NFIP debt interest freeze: Freezes interest payments on NFIP debt and reinvests savings towards mitigation efforts to restore the program to solvency and reduce future borrowing.

  • Affordability for low- and middle-income policyholders: Provides a comprehensive means-tested voucher for millions of low- and middle-income homeowners and renters if their flood insurance premium causes their housing costs to exceed 30 percent of their adjusted gross income. This would significantly increase the affordability of the NFIP program.

Background on Kennedy’s work on flood relief:

  • On July 21, Kennedy joined Louisiana’s congressional delegation in urging the Office of Management and Budget to prioritize Louisiana’s request for supplemental disaster relief in response to Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

  • On June 21, Kennedy introduced the National Flood Insurance Program Consultant Accountability Act of 2021 to protect homeowners from parties found guilty of fraud that involves property damage assessments. 

  • On June 7, Kennedy introduced the Flood Insurance Fairness Act to stop the Biden administration from unilaterally making changes to the NFIP that would raise premiums for Louisianians affected by flooding.

  • On May 20, Kennedy spoke on the Senate floor against the Biden administration’s plan to facilitate raising flood insurance premiums in a way that could make it more difficult for Louisianians to afford flood insurance for their homes.

  • On May 18, Kennedy urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana as the region suffered through flash floods.

Text of the amendment is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) authored this op-ed for National Review, calling on President Biden to protect American savings from Chinese companies evading U.S. stock market regulations. 

Key excerpts include:

“President Biden should make it clear that Chinese companies listing on America’s stock markets face a choice: Play by our rules of transparency and disclosure or don’t play at all. 

“More than 200 Chinese businesses have gone public in U.S. capital markets, but many investors don’t realize that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to let these companies open their books to American regulators. This refusal threatens the savings of American workers and families. The financial risk resembles an iceberg: Chinese companies such as Didi and Luckin Coffee are just the tip.”

. . .

“As a result, Chinese businesses are freer to commit fraud than their American, Asian, and European competitors. Luckin Coffee, for instance, made up a nonexistent $310 million in sales in less than a year. When such fraud comes to light, these businesses’ stock values can drop quickly — dragging Americans’ savings down with them. 

“Congress has taken decisive bipartisan action to force companies that flout the PCAOB off U.S. markets, but the CCP probably won’t accept such accountability graciously. In fact, President Xi Jinping’s regime is becoming more belligerent by the day. It’s up to President Biden to protect American investors as the CCP vies for global leadership.

 

“He can do that by enforcing and building on the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which Democrats and Republicans came together to pass last year. The law removes firms from American stock exchanges if they refuse PCAOB auditing for three years in a row.” 

. . .

“Thankfully, there’s room for President Biden to course-correct. He could re-empower the PCAOB and protect Americans and their savings by supporting the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which would give firms just two consecutive years — not three — to let the PCAOB audit their records.”

. . .

“We can’t afford to lose momentum as the CCP grows more aggressive. President Biden can and should do more to counter its belligerence by supporting this legislation. It’s time for him to join Democrats and Republicans in Congress in safeguarding Americans’ savings by standing up for the integrity of our markets.

The op-ed is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today asked Deputy Associate Administrator for Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration Resilience at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) David Maurstad to answer outstanding questions on Risk Rating 2.0 (RR 2.0). The plan would raise Americans’ flood insurance rates through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

“The NFIP was founded on the principle of capturing risk while ensuring the program remains affordable for policyholders. FEMA’s fact sheets on RR 2.0 state that 3.8 million Americans will see an increase in their policy, up to $240 per year. Not only that, FEMA will continue to raise premium rates by 18% until a policyholder’s premium mirrors their ‘true risk-based premium.’ I am deeply concerned that flood insurance will become unaffordable under your proposal. . . . Your actions to roll out RR 2.0 will impact home sales, commercial property values, and real estate commissions all across this country,” wrote Kennedy. 

“RR 2.0 has not had the opportunity to benefit from necessary public input, nor do I believe the public truly understands their fate under RR 2.0. Historically, any significant change to the NFIP has included participation from FEMA and Congress, and this should not stop with RR 2.0. It is incumbent on FEMA to uphold our nation’s longstanding commitment to transparent government and due process. Thorough examination is required for any program’s success,” Kennedy continued.

“I am deeply concerned about the affordability of flood insurance under the RR 2.0 proposal. This proposal will significantly raise premiums for policyholders in Louisiana,” he explained.

Kennedy detailed several questions to FEMA about RR 2.0’s transparency, affordability and efficiency and the impact the plan would have on Louisianians.

“Although FEMA has touted the proposal for RR 2.0 for several years, it remains shrouded in mystery. RR 2.0 needs to be an open and transparent process, and I ask to further discuss my concerns with you in an in-person meeting,” Kennedy concluded.

Text of the letter is available here.

              Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate today voted on Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill. The amendment would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta.

The aid would come through the Community Development Block Grant program. Neighborhoods and communities could use that funding for long-term disaster recovery needs, including repairs to infrastructure.

“Today, I offered the Senate an opportunity to help our people without adding a dime to the debt or taking a cent from taxpayers, and I’m incredibly disappointed they chose not to do that. It’s clear once again that President Biden must send a request for this disaster aid to Congress in order for Washington to grant disaster aid for Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

To pay for the aid, Kennedy’s amendment would use revenue from the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auction last year. That would leave the government with no need to borrow money or add to the deficit.

The Senate blocked the amendment.

Text of amendment is available here.

Background on requests for disaster relief:

Kennedy continues to support supplemental disaster relief for Louisiana as the state is still rebuilding after historic storms.

Once Congress receives a request for supplemental disaster aid from the White House, legislators can appropriate relief funds and send that bill to the president for his signature.

The White House has not yet made a request for supplemental relief for Louisiana, despite repeated requests from Louisiana’s congressional delegation. 

  • On August 2, Kennedy offered an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill that would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta.
  • On July 15, Kennedy introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from historic storms. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage.
  • On May 19, Kennedy pressed HUD for answers about why the White House has been silent on providing disaster relief to southwest Louisiana.
  • On May 18, Kennedy again urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana.
  • On May 13, Kennedy helped introduce the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to access disaster relief more easily in the wake of a natural disaster.
  • In September 2020, Kennedy wrote to Senate leadership, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), to request that the Senate consider emergency supplemental aid to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricane Laura.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced an amendment to the Senate infrastructure bill to help Americans claim almost $28 billion in unredeemed savings bonds.

“This money belongs in the hands of the American people. It shouldn’t be under lock and key at Treasury. This amendment will empower states to make sure that these dollars are returned to their rightful owners,” said Kennedy.

The Treasury Department is holding more than $27.9 billion in matured, unredeemed U.S. savings bonds, most of which the Treasury deems lost, stolen, destroyed or “unclaimed.” Many of these bonds were issued more than 70 years ago and are now matured—meaning they no longer earn interest for bondholders.

In cases in which bonds are not physically possessed by their rightful holders, only the Treasury has the names and addresses of the original bond owners, as well as the serial numbers needed to claim the bond proceeds. 

The Treasury has not taken any significant actions to proactively reunite bonds with their rightful owners despite its relaunch of Treasury Hunt, an online search tool that allows bond owners to locate bond information, at Kennedy’s request. Individual states, however, conduct programs that reconnect their citizens with unclaimed property.

Kennedy’s amendment would require the Treasury to provide states information about matured and unclaimed bonds so these states can use unclaimed property programs to help find the original owners (or heirs of these original owners) of these bonds. This provision would only apply to bonds that are matured and unredeemed as of December 31, 2017.

Text of the amendment is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today offered an amendment to the Senate’s infrastructure bill that would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. The aid would come through the Community Development Block Grant program. Neighborhoods and communities could use that funding for long-term disaster recovery needs, including repairs to infrastructure.

“In the last year, Louisiana—especially southwest Louisiana—has suffered through historic hurricanes, followed by flooding. Louisianians have always helped their neighbors, and I again ask the Senate to help Louisiana recover by adopting this amendment to get them relief. Our people have waited too long for the funds they need to rebuild their lives and communities,” said Kennedy.

To pay for the aid, Kennedy’s amendment would use revenue from the Federal Communications Commission’s spectrum auction last year. That would leave the government with no need to borrow money or add to the deficit.

Text of amendment is available here.

Background on requests for disaster relief:

Kennedy continues to support supplemental disaster relief for Louisiana as the state is still rebuilding after historic storms.

Once Congress receives a request for supplemental disaster aid from the White House, legislators can appropriate relief funds and send that bill to the president for his signature. The White House has not yet made a request for supplemental relief for Louisiana, despite repeated requests from Louisiana’s congressional delegation. 

  • On July 15, Kennedy introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from historic storms. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage.
  • On May 19, Kennedy pressed HUD for answers about why the White House has been silent on providing disaster relief to southwest Louisiana.
  • On May 18, Kennedy again urged President Biden to provide supplemental disaster relief for southwest Louisiana.
  • On May 13, Kennedy helped introduce the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act, which would allow rural homeowners, renters and small businesses to more easily access disaster relief in the wake of a natural disaster.
  • In September 2020, Kennedy wrote to Senate leadership, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), to request that the Senate consider emergency supplemental aid to help Louisiana residents recover from Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Click to Quit Act to require online platforms such as social networks, search engines and public websites to give users a straightforward way to delete their accounts. The Federal Trade Commission would penalize any platforms that violate this requirement.

“Quitting a social media account or a web app shouldn’t require a trip through a maze of tabs or legalese. Online platforms often make it confusing or hard for users to cut ties, and the Click to Quit Act would give users a quick, easy and sure way to delete their accounts,” said Kennedy.

Text of the Click to Quit Act is available here.