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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed for the Ouachita Citizen focused on legislative solutions that would lower the cost of insulin for northeast Louisiana families.

Below are key excerpts:

“Twelve percent of Louisiana adults already live with diabetes, and an estimated 30,000 Louisianians receive this diagnosis every year. Unfortunately, patients with diabetes face annual health care costs that are twice as high as non-diabetics face, in part because insulin can be expensive.”

“Insulin costs put many northeast Louisiana families in a financial bind. . . . The median household income in Ouachita Parish is $44,059, and a family of four faces annual health care costs of $10,128. Families in Concordia Parish spend more than 30 percent of their income to cover health care costs. With inflation surging to a 40-year high, the Ending Pricey Insulin Act would improve health care for many Louisiana communities.

“The bill would also help Louisiana’s economy. When diabetes goes untreated, the cost of caring for sufferers takes an even heavier financial toll on our state: Diabetes and prediabetes cost Louisianians roughly $5.7 billion every year in direct medical expenses, taxpayer dollars, and lost productivity.

“Louisianians don’t just rely on insulin. Many adults and children also depend on epinephrine to treat allergic reactions that could turn deadly. That’s why I’m also working to make sure that Federally Qualified Health Centers—which serve poor, uninsured, and rural Americans—help Louisianians get the medicine they need at prices they can bear.”

“Historic inflation has made gas, food, and other necessities harder for Louisiana families to afford. Congress must help make insulin cheaper and more accessible—both for diabetics and for the taxpayers who take on additional health care costs when the disease goes untreated.”

The op-ed is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $30,403,845 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“Louisiana families are still recovering from Hurricane Ida. This $30.4 million will help our parishes and cities rebuild where Ida struck,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $2,263,196 to the city of Kenner for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,715,163 to the city of Covington for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $2,032,328 to St. Bernard Parish for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $3,158,058 to St. Helena Parish for debris removal related to Hurricane Ida. 
  • $21,235,100 to Terrebonne Parish for debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced $7,566,909 in disaster aid grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Louisiana.

“I’m glad to see this $7.6 million going towards the costs of recovery efforts after Ida and Laura hit our state hard,” said Kennedy.

The grants will fund the following:

  • $6,436,724 to the city of Sulphur for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,130,185 to the LA Department of Public Safety (State Police) for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“Despite attempts to intimidate the justices, they did their work. Roe v. Wade has misrepresented the Constitution since the ruling was rendered, and today’s decision to return the issue of abortion to the American people and the states corrects a legal and moral error. Louisianians have worked for a long time to have this freedom that is rightly and constitutionally theirs. I am very pleased with today’s decision,” said Kennedy. 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and more than 80 members of Congress in releasing a joint bicameral statement in support of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.  

The lawmakers call on the Biden administration not to move the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) out of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel’s reporting chain of command and not to rename the PAU the “U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs” or allow it to serve as an unofficial U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The full statement is below:

“It is alarming that the Biden Administration has opened what amounts to be a separate U.S. diplomatic office to the Palestinians in Israel’s capital. This decision is wholly inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that Congress passed into law and has repeatedly reaffirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support over the years. We strongly supported the Trump Administration’s decision to fully and faithfully implement the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel, by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and by closing the U.S. Consulate General for the Palestinians in Jerusalem and merging its functions into the U.S. Embassy’s ‘Palestinian Affairs Unit’ within one diplomatic mission under the authority the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. The Biden Administration’s disregard for that law, however, undermines our nation’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and signals support for dividing Jerusalem.

“Let there be no misunderstanding: this unprecedented arrangement—to turn the Palestinian Affairs Unit into a ‘U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs’ that will no longer report to the U.S. Ambassador to Israel but instead report directly to the State Department in Washington, D.C., and to appoint a Special Envoy to the Palestinians—is an effort to open an unofficial and de facto U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem. In fact, the Biden Administration admits this decision is one step closer to opening an official U.S. consulate, a plan it refuses to stop pushing despite the Government of Israel’s adamant opposition and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon’s admission to Congress in October 2021 that the United States, under international law, would ‘need to get the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility.’

“The Biden Administration’s decision is wrong and not how America should treat Israel, one of our closest allies in the world. As sponsors of the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 to withhold funding for a U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Israel’s capital, we unequivocally oppose the Biden Administration’s decision and will use every tool at our disposal to stop it in the 117th Congress and afterwards.”

Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.

WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today questioned David Maurstad, the Senior Executive of the National Flood Insurance Program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on the algorithm FEMA uses to set new, higher flood insurance rates.  

Below are key excerpts from the exchange.

Kennedy: “I believe that FEMA and the Biden administration have made their decision with respect to flood insurance. I regret that, but I believe that’s a fact. And most of my people in Louisiana understand at this juncture that the only place they’re going to find lower food prices, cheaper gas, a cleaner, safer environment and affordable insurance is in the voting booth. Because my people, most of them, and I think most Americans, have concluded that Republicans aren't perfect but the other side is crazy.

“Now, about 500,000 people in my state have flood insurance. And despite what some people say, these are not multimillionaires in multimillionaire homes on the beach. These are working people. And there are people in the United States Congress who claim to be for the little guy, but they don't really like him or her very much.”

. . .

Kennedy: “Why won't FEMA share its algorithm with the American people?”

Maurstad: “Thank you, sir. And, you know, we look forward to continuing to work with you. We've shared the algorithm. We've put forward on the on our website, the methodology—”

Kennedy: “No, you haven’t. No, you haven’t, Mr. Administrator.”

. . .

Kennedy: “Well, if I sent you a [public information] request, and I said, ‘Look, I want the algorithm so I can hire somebody to review this algorithm to see what clairvoyant people are telling us about climate change and what's going to happen in America over the next 150 years,’ would you give me that algorithm?”

Maurstad: “As I said, we already have, and we responded to a letter—”

Kennedy: “No, you haven’t. I want the algorithm so I can hire some experts to look at it and either say ‘This thing is watertight,’ or, ‘It’s grossly political,’ or somewhere in between.”

Video of the full exchange is here.

WASHINGTON – An amendment modeled on Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.)’s Unclaimed Savings Bond Act today passed the Senate Finance Committee. The amendment would help Americans claim more than $29 billion in unredeemed savings bonds, including $337 million that belong to the people of Louisiana. 

“The heart of the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act is finally heading to the Senate floor so that we can make sure states have what they need to get billions of dollars to the rightful owners. The Treasury has sat on money that should be in Americans’ pockets for too long—including more than $300 million that belong to Louisianians. Louisianians pay their taxes faithfully, and Washington needs to pay out these savings bonds,” said Kennedy.

Background:

The Treasury Department is currently holding more than $29 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 have 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. The Treasury also has 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 legislation 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 those original owners) of these bonds. 

Text of the Unclaimed Savings Bond Act is available here.

WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about historically high inflation rates. 

Below are key excerpts from the exchange.

Kennedy: “Mr. Chairman, inflation is just an imbalance of supply and demand. Can we agree on that?”

Powell: “Yes, generally.”

Kennedy: “And to put a little finer point on it, our inflation at this time—and this is the case with respect to most cases of inflation—demand is greater than supply, so prices go up?”

Powell: “In some parts of the economy, yes.”

. . .

Kennedy: “What about if we reduce the regulatory burden, let’s say on refineries? Wouldn't that incent refineries to start refining more and help on the supply side?” 

Powell: “I would say anything that could increase capacity on that front could have a positive impact.”

. . .

Kennedy: “Yeah, but would that help? I’m not trying to get you to endorse legislation. Mr. Chairman, we’ve got a hell of a mess here, okay? Inflation is hitting my people so hard they’re coughing up bones. . . . It’s the highest in 40 years, our national debt is greater than our national output, crime is up, the border is open, respect for institutions is way down and 70 percent of the American people think we’re headed in the wrong direction." 

. . .

“President Biden—I don’t blame him, I understand politics—he keeps saying, ‘Well, your 401K has crashed, and gas has gone from two bucks to five bucks a gallon because the economy is so good.’ And the American people know that’s not true. Now, other than relieving regulatory burden . . . what if the United States Congress said, ‘Look, we've got a budget. We’re going to freeze spending. We’re going to stop injecting more money into the economy. We’re going to freeze spending until Powell can get control on the demand side.’ Would that help?”

Powell: “You know, I feel like I’m giving you advice on what to do when we’re not getting our own job done. I feel like maybe a better thing to do would be for us to get our own house in order and do the job you've assigned us.”

Video of the full exchange is here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $9,263,291 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“Louisiana is still rebuilding from Hurricanes Katrina, Laura and Zeta. This $9.3 million will help us recover from storms that hit our parishes and families hard,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following: 

  • $3,509,048 to the Society of Holy Family School for new construction due to damage from Hurricane Katrina.
  • $1,938,382 to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury for emergency protective measures following Hurricane Laura.
  • $3,815,861 to Jefferson Parish for debris removal related to Hurricane Zeta.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and 29 other senators in a bipartisan push to protect a key U.S. military and diplomatic post in the Middle East. The group of senators penned a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urging that the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem remain an officer of three-star rank and not be downgraded.

“Given continued regional volatility, steadfast high-level U.S. leadership and engagement to support peace and stability in Israel and the West Bank remain in the national security interest of the United States,” Kennedy and his colleagues wrote.

The letter comes after it was reported earlier this month that the Pentagon is considering downgrading the position to colonel, which Kennedy and his colleagues warn may undermine U.S. leadership, credibility and communication in a historically volatile region.

The full letter with its specific requests is available here.