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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today about his bill the “Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017.”  This legislation would require adults between the ages of 18 and 55, who have no dependents and are not disabled, to spend 20 hours a week working in a job, going to school or doing community service in order to continue to receive free health care through Medicaid.

“I'm filing a bill entitled the 'Medicaid Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 2017.'  My bill will create a work requirement for Medicaid.  My reason for introducing this bill is simple.   I want Americans to prosper.  I don't want our people to remain mired in poverty.  I want to break poverty's back by creating a system that doesn't force the American people to subsist on government handouts.  And the best way to do that is to provide an incentive for able-bodied Americans to know the dignity of work.  Because a person without a job is neither happy nor free,” said Sen. Kennedy.

Click the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy's full floor speech:

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) honored Louisiana and national law enforcement officers this week to mark the beginning of National Police Week. 

“Law enforcement officers deserve our nation's respect and admiration,” said Sen. Kennedy. “To honor the start of National Police Week, I signed on to the National Police Week Senate Resolution, Thin Blue Line Act, and American Law Enforcement Heroes Act.  These pieces of legislation honor the sacrifices and hard work that our police make every day to keep our families safe.”

Sen. Kennedy spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate earlier this year to honor fallen Louisiana police officers

Sen. Kennedy signed on to legislation to honor law enforcement officers and veterans. He is a cosponsor of:

  • National Police Week 2017 Senate Resolution: This resolution designates the week of May 15-21 as National Police Week and recognizes those who gave their lives in the line of duty last year.
  • Thin Blue Line Act: This bill makes the murder of a state or local law enforcement, prosecutor, or firefighter an aggravating factor
  • American Law Enforcement Heroes Act: The bill gives preference for grants to law enforcement that prioritize the hiring and training of veterans. 

“Please join me in saying a prayer for the families of Louisiana law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty this past year.  They were men and women who sacrificed their lives so we could sleep a little bit better at night.  We must pray for an end to the violence.  We have buried enough of our brave law enforcement officers,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Let us also pray for a safe and speedy recovery for East Baton Rouge Deputy Nick Tullier who was severely injured last July when he was shot in the head and abdomen after receiving a call to take down an active shooter who was targeting police.”

Below are members of Louisiana law enforcement who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2016:

  • Shannon Brown
  • David Elahi
  • Bradford Garafola, Sr.
  • Matthew Gerald
  • Natasha Hunter
  • Montrell Jackson
  • Jude Lewis
  • David Michel, Jr.
  • Derrick Mingo

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate about his bill, the National Flood Insurance Program Consultant Accountability Act.  Sen. Kennedy's bill gives the FEMA Administrator the authority to fire consultants and contractors who engage with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  This includes consultants, contractors, law firms, engineering firms, or any third-party company that receives NFIP contracts.  The bill also includes an appeals process to ensure that good companies are not penalized for being falsely accused.

Click here to view the video or on the image below.

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National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Consultant Accountability Act: “My bill gives the FEMA Administrator the authority to fire any consultant, contractor, lawyer, or engineer, who engages in conduct that is detrimental to the mission of the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The bill will be fair.  It will also have an appeals process to ensure that there are not false accusations against innocent parties.  This is a simple, commonsense reform that frankly should have been put in place years ago.”

Recertification of the National Flood Insurance Program: “Congress has repeatedly and consistently mangled the reauthorization of this essential federal program.  In 2010, the NFIP expired four times – not once, not twice, but four times for a total of 53 days, which injected uncertainty through a fragile housing market that had been devastated just two years prior,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I believe it is crucial we avoid this type of congressionally imposed delay.  Congress should extend the National Flood Insurance Program for a multi-year reauthorization before the Sept. 30 deadline this year.”

Local Contributions to NFIP:  “The National Flood Insurance Program has to do a better job of giving our locals a seat at the table.  Our local levee boards and levee districts – along with the families who have lived on the land being insured for generations – know every ditch and drainage canal from St. Tammany to Lafourche Parish,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “The bureaucrats ought to be asking them for guidance when rewriting flood maps and flood policy, not the other way around.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) welcomed Nicholls State University undergraduate student Brooke Mazac to Capitol Hill this week and announced that she is Louisiana's only winner in the prestigious 2017 Posters on the Hill contest.  This national competition gives students the opportunity to showcase their research to congressional members, meet with their representatives, and learn about advocacy for undergraduate research.

“I would like to extend a sincere congratulations to one of Louisiana's brightest young minds, Brooke Mazac.  Brooke, who is an education major at Nicholls State University, was selected out of hundreds of applicants as a winner of the Council on Undergraduate Research's competition, Posters on the Hill, and was the only college student from Louisiana selected,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am proud of the work Brooke and her mentor Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur are accomplishing at Nicholls State University.”

Brooke's project - entitled “Examining the Construct of Time-on-Task in an iPad Assisted Reading Intervention for At-Risk Students” - explores how the presence of technology in educations impacts a student's learning.  Specifically, Brooke wanted to discover if the use of iPads during teaching affected the percentage of time the student was on task.  The results of the study were that in five out of the six trials students spent more time-on-task with an iPad than they did without an iPad.  Brooke's research is an extension of a project and research of Dr. Vavasseur funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents.  To learn more about Brooke's study visit this website.

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Sen. Kennedy meeting with Brooke Mazac and her mentor Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today about his legislation S.923, the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act.  This important bill will exempt community banks and credit unions with assets of less than $10 billion from Dodd-Frank and allow them to thrive instead of being punished for Wall Street's failures.

 

“Every reasonable person with a passing knowledge of our banking system knows the destabilizing effect that Dodd-Frank has had on local economies, community banks, and credit unions.  That is why I introduced S.923, the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My bill exempts financial institutions, specifically banks and credit unions, with assets of less than $10 billion from having to comply with the loan-killing, anti-jobs disaster commonly known as Dodd-Frank.  America's smaller lending institutions need relief from the destabilizing consequences of Dodd-Frank.  The Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act is a step in that direction.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act.  This legislation will drastically help local financial institutions, especially smaller community banks and credit unions, which are suffering under the weight of the Obama administration's Dodd-Frank regulations.

“Community banks and credit unions were not responsible for the 2008 financial crisis.  However, they are wrongly bearing the brunt of the regulatory burden imposed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My bill, the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act, seeks to rectify this injustice by exempting community banks and credit unions with assets of less than $10 billion from Dodd-Frank's regulations.  Our community financial institutions need to get back to doing what they do best, which is helping our local economies grow.”

Dodd-Frank was enacted to prevent another 2008-like banking crisis by strengthening federal government regulation of finance.  Yet smaller banks are being smothered under the weight of Dodd-Frank.  Community banks are paying $4.5 billion annually in compliance costs because of Dodd-Frank, causing more than 1,700 U.S. banks to close since 2010.  The cost of these regulations has driven small banks to sell to or merge with larger banks.  That eliminates jobs at the community institutions and reduces capital available to job creators.  

Sen. Kennedy's bill, the Reforming Finance for Local Economies Act, would simply exempt community banks and credit unions with assets of less than $10 billion from Dodd-Frank.  Sen. Kennedy details his bill further in his op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

 

A Plan to Give Community Banks Relief From Dodd-Frank

Smaller institutions didn't cause the financial crisis, but are drowning in compliance costs.

By U.S. Sen. John Kennedy

 

“Every politician says he is for jobs. But you can't be for jobs if you are against business. And you can't be for business if you are against giving job creators access to capital. Yet that is exactly the conundrum Congress legislated when, in 2010, it made the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act applicable to small banks and credit unions. Dodd-Frank has been a loan-killing, anti-job disaster for these vital institutions.

Dodd-Frank was supposed to prevent another 2008-like banking crisis by strengthening federal government regulation of finance. Maybe the law makes sense for too-big-to-fail banks. Maybe not. What surely doesn't make sense is to cripple America's smaller community banks, which did nothing to bring about the 2008 meltdown.

When Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on Feb. 14, I asked her the following question: “What did the community banks do wrong in 2008?” Her response: “Well, community banks were not the reason for the financial crisis.”

Yet smaller banks are being smothered under the weight of Dodd-Frank. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 is 32 pages. The Glass-Stegall Act was 37 pages. Dodd-Frank is 2,300 pages, with an astounding 22,000-plus pages of rules and more on the way. That's why so many community banks no longer exist, and those that have survived have seen their costs go up, their profits go down, and their ability to make small-business and consumer loans curtailed. It's all because of the heavy hand of government.”

Continue reading here

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has allocated more than $8 million to Louisiana to combat opioid abuse.

“Opioid addiction knows no boundaries.  It does not discriminate against age, race, social background, or income.  That is why it is more important than ever to join together and fight back against this epidemic that tears families apart,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am grateful to HHS Secretary Tom Price for giving our state these much needed funds.  This money will help increase access to treatment for those suffering and will help put a stop to opioid related deaths.” 

The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that it will allocate $485 million in grants to states and territories to help fight opioid addiction.  According to the HHS,  the funding will go towards supporting a comprehensive array of prevention, treatment, and recovery services depending on the needs of recipients.  States and territories were awarded funds based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) today spoke to Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and urged him to support a disaster funding component for Louisiana families and businesses in the FY 2017 Appropriations Measure.

“As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, my No. 1 priority has been and will continue to be securing more disaster relief money for those impacted by the March and August flooding last year in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I do not want our families to lose their homes to foreclosure or our businesses to close because of these historic, unprecedented events.  Nearly 200,000 families were impacted by last year's floods.  This was an epic event that requires the nation's help.  I will move Heaven and Earth to ensure that our Louisiana families and businesses receive the assistance they need in order to recover and thrive.”

Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy asked Mulvaney for more than $2 billion in unmet recovery needs to help middle income families and small business owners, mitigate the risk of future floods and assist Louisiana's farmers; $296 million in repairs and rebuilding needs following the EF-3 tornado at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans; Small Business Association loan forgiveness on disaster loans; an easing of the restrictions on schools that did not have flood insurance; and permission for Housing and Urban Development to waive site-specific environmental review regulations.

“Our meeting with Director Mulvaney was productive, and I know that he will do what he can to help.  Every single request is more than reasonable.  In fact, as a nation, we've taken similar steps to help victims following other disasters,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am so thankful for the financial assistance that Congress has already provided to our flood victims, and I hope Gov. Edwards gets it to them soon.  We need just a little bit more for a robust recovery. "

The Office of Management and Budget works with the president to develop budget proposals.  The FY 2017 Appropriations Measure will fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year.  Sen. Kennedy has made flood relief his top request on the list he submitted to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee for the FY 2017 Appropriations Measure.

Sen. Kennedy has been working on behalf of flood victims since taking office in January.  Here's a timeline of his actions:

  • Jan. 4, 2017: Sen. Kennedy met with HUD Secretary Ben Carson ahead of his confirmation hearing to discuss Community Development Block Grant funding for the recovery.
  • Jan. 12, 2017: During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Kennedy told Carson that nearly $1.7 billion in disaster aid needed to get into the hands of Louisiana's flood victims. Link to Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
  • Feb. 9, 2017: Sen. Kennedy and Gov. Edwards met with HUD to discuss problems complicating the recovery.
  • Feb. 20, 2017: Senate staff visited Louisiana to tour the flood damage.  Sen. Kennedy successfully pushed for Acadiana to be included on the tour.
  • March 3, 2017: Sen. Kennedy wrote Secretary Carson about issues facing flood victims. Link to letter.
  • March 14, 2017: Sen. Kennedy again met with Secretary Carson.
  • April 3, 2017: Sen. Kennedy wrote Mulvaney requesting additional funding. Link to letter.
  • April 7, 2017: Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy met with the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and followed up with a letter about additional CDBG federal disaster assistance.  Link to letter.
  • April 12, 2017: Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy requested additional Department of Justice funding to replace law enforcement equipment, vehicles and facilities as well as to help cover overtime costs due to the flooding. Link to letter.
  • April 19, 2017: Sen. Kennedy spoke by phone with Mulvaney.
  • April 19, 2017: Sen. Kennedy wrote to the U.S. Small Business Administration requesting that the duplication issue on SBA loans be resolved.  Link to letter.  

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) returned from an official overseas trip last week to China, Tibet, Hong Kong and Japan with members of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.  Sen. Kennedy used his time to talk to the number two and number three ranking officials in China about the threat that North Korea poses and to press for China's help in achieving amicable negotiations.  He also discussed the possibility of opening China's energy markets to Louisiana's liquid natural gas (LNG) exports and of negotiating an agreement with Japan on importing Louisiana's rice.

“The situation in North Korea is not a fleeting crisis.  I, and the rest of the delegation, stressed the importance of working together to ensure stability in the region.  A united front is especially important as tensions continue to rise between North Korea and the United States.” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Also during the trip, I took the opportunity to promote Louisiana as an LNG leader.  China is energy hungry, and Louisiana can help feed that hunger.  I met with National People's Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang and China Premier Li Keqiang, who are respectively the number two and number three ranking officials in China, to discuss removing obstacles currently preventing more natural gas exports to China.  I also proposed a bilateral agreement with Japan to open their markets to buy more Louisiana rice.”

The congressional delegation trip kicked off in Alaska, where Sen. Kennedy met Lt. General Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, to discuss military readiness.  From Alaska, the delegation flew overseas for meetings in Japan, China, Tibet and Hong Kong on the North Korea crisis and trade.

“My main objective on this trip was to impress on China's officials that the American people are very concerned about the threat of North Korea,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We spent a lot of time on this issue and had a frank conversation.”

Sen. Kennedy and the delegation met with:

  • Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) National People's Congress Chairman Lobsang Gyaltsen.  The delegation made clear its concerns about religious intolerance as it pertains to the Tibetan Buddhists, whose leader is the exiled Dalai Lama.  
  • Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade, and industry for Japan. He and Sen. Kennedy discussed at length trade relations between Louisiana and Japan with an emphasis on Louisiana's rice crops. 
  • Carrie Lam, the incoming chief executive of Hong Kong, to discuss how Louisiana and Hong Kong can further trade.

Sen. Kennedy spent a great deal of time with Chinese officials trying to resolves obstacles that are blocking further imports of LNG to China from America, specifically from Louisiana.  Natural gas currently supplies about 5% of China's energy.  China has expressed interest in increasing imports of LNG to 10% by 2020 to meet the growing demands.

This trip coincided with President Donald J. Trump's summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the United States. 

 

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Senators Kennedy (R-La.), Portman(R-Oh.), Barrasso (R-Wy.), and Daines (R-Mt.) meet with Qi Zhala, the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced a combined $11,499,552.10 in federal disaster grants for the city of Baton Rouge and three school systems in the area.

 

“The severe damage that these schools suffered in the March and August floods was unbelievable. This money is critical to ensuring that our schools and communities do not struggle financially because of the unprecedented flooding,” said Sen. Kennedy “These funds are a necessary step towards recovery in our region.  I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure Louisiana gets the assistance it needs.” 

 

These grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will partially reimburse the city of Baton Rouge and the school systems for the money they spent recovering from the flooding.

 

“I was extremely pleased to learn of the approval of this funding.  Our community and our school district have experienced many challenges rebuilding since the August flood.  This funding will allow us to continue to push ahead restoring the learning environments and resources necessary to help prepare our students to succeed.  We are happy to see this first step in mitigating the financial strain of the flood on the system's resources," said Superintendent Warren Drake of East Baton Rouge Schools.

 

“I would like to thank all the members of our congressional delegation for working hard to assist us in addressing the needs our school system had as a result of the August flooding.

This grant will provide us a financial shot in the arm and enable us to recover a large portion of the losses we incurred as a result of the flooding.  Because of the assistance of Senator Kennedy

and his staff we were able to receive this financial assistance quicker than anticipated,” said Michael W. Faulk, superintendent of the Central Community School System.

 

“Ascension Public Schools is so grateful for the continued assistance it has received from federal funding sources.  Overall, recovery from such a catastrophic event is a huge challenge, but the support we have received certainly tempers that challenge.  A special thank you to the efforts of Senator Kennedy and Louisiana's entire congressional delegation, who are prioritizing the recovery of facilities that are so vital to the education of our community's children,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency notified Sen. Kennedy that a combined $11,499,552.10 in Public Assistance grants have been awarded to the city of Baton Rouge, Ascension Parish School Board, Central Community School System, and East Baton Rouge School Board.  For more information about the individual grants see the information below:

 

Individual awards are listed below with descriptions from FEMA

  • $1,755,245.70 – City of Baton Rouge - The award provides $1,755,245.70 in federal funding to Baton Rouge for efforts associated with replacing flood damaged vehicles as a result of FEMA-DR-4277-LA (Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding), and is authorized under Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.
     
  • $3,529,608.17– Ascension Parish School Board - The award provides $3,529,608.17 in federal funding to the Ascension Parish School Board for remediation activities at St. Amant High School as a result of FEMA-DR-4277-LA (Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding), and is authorized under Section 403 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.
     
  • $2,822,869.49– Central Community School System - The award provides $2,822,869.49 in federal funding to Central Community School System (CCSS), for the permanent repairs required for Tanglewood Elementary, which withstood approximately 24 inches of flooding as a result of FEMA-DR-4277-LA Severe Storms and Flooding, and is authorized under Section 406 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.
     
  • $1,214,695.23 –East Baton Rouge School Board- The award provides approximately $1,214,695.23 in federal funding to East Baton Rouge School Board (EBRSB), for the environmental remediation required for Park Forest Elementary School (PFES), which withstood approximately 32 to 38 inches of flood waters as a result of FEMA-DR-4277-LA Severe Storms and Flooding, and is authorized under Section 403 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.
     
  • $2,177,133.53 – East Baton Rouge School Board- The award provides approximately $2,177,133.53 in federal funding to East Baton Rouge School Board (EBRSB), for remediation required for Park Forest Middle School, which withstood approximately 2.5 feet of flood waters as a result of FEMA-DR-4277-LA Severe Storms and Flooding, and is authorized under Section 403 of the Robert T. Stafford Act. 

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