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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,152,160 in grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support Louisiana Children’s Medical Center (LCMC) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has impacted Louisianians tremendously, and getting people vaccinated should be a top priority. I’m glad to see FEMA award this funding to LCMC to support vaccination efforts in our state,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA funding covers 100 percent of this project’s costs.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Pro-life Caucus, today joined Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and colleagues in a letter to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a rebuke of Senate Democrats’ pro-abortion agenda.  

“Abortion is not health care; rather, it is a brutal procedure that destroys the life of an innocent unborn child. The Hyde Amendment reflects a consensus that millions of pro-life Americans who are profoundly opposed to abortion should not be coerced into paying for it or incentivizing it with their taxpayer dollars,” the senators wrote.

“We are united in our resolve to guard against any changes to Federal law that would unsettle nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus against taxpayer funding for abortion on demand, or otherwise threaten the lives of unborn children. Accordingly, we are committed to vote against the advancement of any legislation that would eliminate or weaken the Hyde Amendment or any other current-law pro-life protections, or otherwise undermine existing Federal pro-life policy,” explained the senators.

The Susan B. Anthony List, Family Research Council, March for Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life, Heritage Action, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life, Live Action, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Center for Family and Human Rights, Eagle Forum and Students for Life of America have endorsed the letter.

In addition to Kennedy and Daines, Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) signed the letter.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted today on Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to ensure that Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance cannot go to individuals found guilty of felony or misdemeanor rioting. Every Senate Democrat voted against the measure, blocking it by a vote of 49-51.

“We guarantee freedom of speech in America. Unlike other countries, we also guarantee freedom after speech. One form of freedom of speech is the right to peacefully protest. That doesn’t mean that violence as a part of protest is or should be legal in our country—in fact, it’s not. Without order, there can be no justice,” said Kennedy.

“This is the most expensive period of riots in our history. My amendment would prohibit the SBA from providing assistance, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, 7(a) loans, and other small business assistance to anyone who has been convicted during the past year of a felony or a misdemeanor during and in connection with a riot,”Kennedy concluded.

By mid-April of 2020, lockdowns and capacity restrictions had either temporarily or permanently reduced the number of small businesses in operation by 44 percent.

Violent protests and riots then further damaged small businesses already struggling under the pandemic. One in 20 U.S. protests between May 26 and Sept. 5 involved rioting, looting and similar violence, resulting in 47 fatalities. During the summer of 2020, riots caused over $1 billion in damage to cities across the country, making that time the most expensive period of riots in America’s history.

Kennedy’s amendment would prohibit the SBA from providing assistance such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and other small business assistance to anyone who has been “convicted, during the past year, of a felony or misdemeanor during and in connection with a riot or civil disorder or other declared disaster.”

Video of the senator’s full floor remarks is available here.

Sen. John Kennedy speaking on the Senate floor

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor honoring Pat Shingleton, who announced his retirement after reporting the weather for more than 40 years for WBRZ, Channel 2.

Shingleton’s experience includes hosting We Play Baton Rouge, a local game show, The Fifth Quarter, a sports show, and Hotline After Dark, a local talk show. He is a longtime contributor to the community, serving as chairman of WBRZ’s program, Pat’s Coats for Kids, which delivers winter coats for needy children. Shingleton also started the Fill a Prescription for the Needy Project, as well as Baton Rouge’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Wearin’ of the Green.

“Now, when asked about his retirement, Pat said—and I’m going to quote—‘I think we’re all given a whole bunch of heartbeats’—we’re all given a whole bunch of heartbeats, Pat said—‘and God gives us these heartbeats to do something good.’ What an elegant way of putting it. 

“Pat’s used his heartbeats pretty well, in my judgment—he’s got a lot more to go. But he’s done it for the good of our state, for the good of the Baton Rouge metropolitan community, and he’s done it in the newsroom, and he’s done it outside the newsroom,” said Kennedy.

“Pat, thank you—thank you for your hard work for the people of Baton Rouge. Thank you for your giving so much to the people of Louisiana for all of these 45 years. You’re a good person, and you’re a fine American. God bless you and your family,” Kennedy concluded.

Video of the speech is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced $2,270,808 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for four elevation projects in Mandeville, La.

“With the amount of flooding Louisianians experience, it’s great to see this investment in reducing the cost of flood insurance and the impact of future floods on the Mandeville community,” said Kennedy.

FEMA is fully funding these elevations because they qualify as severe repetitive loss sites.

The elevation project focuses on four sites. It includes “preparation for the elevation, contract review, design, permitting, elevation of the structures, post-elevation inspections and cleanup, project closeout, and grant closeout.” 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), joined Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and 24 of his colleagues to write to President Joe Biden protesting his recent actions targeting energy industry jobs in Louisiana and nationwide. 

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) also voiced concerns about the new administration’s recent executive orders and regulatory actions and requested a meeting with the president.

“As Senators from states where the energy and resource development sectors have provided good-paying jobs for generations . . . we have been surprised by your immediate actions upon taking office that have targeted hundreds of thousands of these jobs in our states and which run counter to your stated goal of creating good-paying jobs and helping struggling American families,” the senators wrote.

“From revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, to halting leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters, including ANWR, and freezing continued energy development programs throughout our states, you’ve threatened middle-class jobs in the midst of an economy challenged by the pandemic, with no hope in the near future for these workers and their families,” the senators continued. 

“Your actions will have grave consequences for our constituents, and taking these actions on your very first week as President, with no input from those of us who represent these hard working Americans is counter to the desires of the American people who want practical, bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges, and who want policies that support working families.”

“We stand ready to work with you and your nominees to meet the challenges our country faces, including working for a cleaner future, and protecting our hard working men and women. We hope that you will meet with us soon and commit to working together to address these important issues in a way that is best for all Americans,” the senators concluded.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act. The POWER Act prevents President Biden and members of his administration from imposing new bans on oil and gas drilling, leasing and permitting on federal property without Congressional approval.

“The Biden Ban on new oil and gas leasing will cost America tens of thousands of jobs, many of them in Louisiana. The energy industry is the lifeblood of our state, and we can’t afford to sacrifice jobs at a time when Louisianians are still recovering from the pandemic. Since the energy industry funds Louisiana’s conservation efforts, our storm-battered coasts can’t afford the Biden Ban either. We must protect both our jobs and our coasts from Washington’s overreach, and that’s just what the POWER Act will do,” said Kennedy. 

“The Biden Ban would be nothing short of catastrophic for western states that are already reeling from the decline in energy usage brought on by the pandemic and continued volatility in energy markets. It’s a one-two punch that means disaster for energy jobs, families and communities. Through the POWER Act, Congress would reiterate that federal lands should serve not the whims of a radical progressive minority, but the needs of all Americans,” said Lummis. 

Last week, President Biden announced a ban on new leases for oil and gas drilling on federal property. Louisiana greatly depends on the energy industry for jobs, conservation efforts and hurricane protection, and some estimates say the state could lose up to 48,000 jobs because of the drilling, leasing and permitting moratorium.

On a national level, President Biden’s ban on leasing and drilling is expected to severely damage the economy, costing an estimated $700 billion in GDP over the next decade and around 1 million jobs by 2022.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act and the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, which protect vulnerable women and children in the womb. 

“Since Roe v. Wade, over 60 million babies have been killed in the womb. That’s about the same death toll as World War II. Female babies are especially at risk, as only 11 states have made it illegal to abort a child based on his or her sex. Throughout the nation, the abortion industry also takes advantage of women by cutting medical corners at their expense. We must act today to ensure that vulnerable women have easy access to vital protective care and that no child dies because of her sex,” said Kennedy. 

The Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at hospitals located within 15 miles of the medical office where the abortion occurs. It would also require abortion clinics to inform patients of a hospital where they can receive follow-up care. Any abortion doctor who violates these requirements would face fines and up to two years in jail. 

Cosponsors of the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act include Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act would make sex-selective abortions illegal. The bill imposes fines of up to five years in jail on anyone who aborts a baby because of the child’s sex or gender, who coerces a woman into performing a sex-selective abortion, who asks for or accepts money for having a sex-selective abortion or who transports someone into the U.S. or across state lines in order to receive a sex-selective abortion.  

Cosponsors of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act include Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and John Thune (R-N.D.).

Kennedy has also cosponsored the following pro-life bills in the 117th Congress: 

1. Support and Value Expectant (SAVE) Moms and Babies Act, which limits the production and spread of chemical abortion drugs. 
2. Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which requires lifesaving medical care for any baby who survives an abortion.  
3. No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which prevents taxpayer dollars from ever funding abortions. 
4. Abortion is not Healthcare Act, which stops abortions from being tax deductible. 
5. Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act, which codifies into law the Mexico City Policy, preventing American dollars from funding abortions and abortion advocacy in foreign countries. 
6. Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which stops abortions for out-of-state minors who do not have their parents’ approval.
7. Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which criminalizes abortions of unborn babies 20 weeks or more into the pregnancy. 
8. Life at Conception Act, which defines a “person” to include people at all stages of life, including from the moment of fertilization, which will guarantee the constitutional right to life to the unborn.
9. Defund Planned Parenthood Act, which would prohibit federal tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood or any other organization that performs abortions.

Text of the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act is available here.

Text of the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced legislation to protect jobs and drilling opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico and the conservation efforts they fund. Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) are original cosponsors of the Conservation Funding Protection Act.

President Joe Biden announced today a moratorium on issuing new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. The Conservation Funding Protection Act would ensure that American oil producers would retain access to critical energy reservoirs on the Outer Continental Shelf. That energy production funds conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane preparedness, wetland mitigation and public land maintenance.

If enacted into law, the Conservation Funding Protection Act would overrule Biden’s executive order.

“Now more than ever, Congress must act to make sure that Louisianians and other energy producers can keep America running and keep America competitive. President Biden’s war against Louisiana jobs and America’s energy independence is astonishingly dangerous. It’s short-sighted. It cuts against our conservation efforts because domestic energy production funds coastal protection. It gives a leg up to America’s enemies, who are burning fuel recklessly to build their economies at the expense of American workers. In short, Biden’s moratorium on oil and gas leases is unwise, unfair and insulting to every Louisianian who helped revive America’s energy industry. The Conservation Funding Protection Act would guarantee that Americans continue to have access to our country’s energy resources, said Kennedy.

The early actions by the new administration to stop oil and gas production make the Conservation Funding Protection Act all the more significant. Off-shore leases, both current and future, are the source of well-paying jobs and royalty revenues that allow states like Mississippi to fund conservation projects and other vital services. With this bill, we’re stressing that it is just not sound policy to simply stop producing American energy resources,” said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Louisiana families depend on energy production and the jobs it produces. This bill aims to keep the Gulf open for business and protect workers who are threatened by Biden’s radical environmental agendas,” said Cassidy.

“I have long fought to ensure that the United States remains a global leader in energy production and maintains our energy independence for years to come. It is vital to the economic and national security of the United States to preserve energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and reduce our reliance on foreign powers. On the same day that President Biden is announcing a ban on new onshore and offshore oil and natural gas leasing, I am proud to support this legislation because our offshore drilling supplies thousands of jobs to hard-working Americans, helps our economy thrive, and funds key environmental conservation projects,” said Cruz.

“Just a few short months ago, Congress passed historic, mandatory funding for LWCF and our public lands. That money comes almost exclusively from oil and gas production in the Gulf Coast. Without this critical energy production, we threaten this important conservation funding and America’s energy independence. We must protect this vital American resource and continue to provide opportunities to produce American energy and conserve our public lands,” Daines said.

“Ensuring continued access to energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico is critical to funding conservation efforts and important storm mitigation projects along the Texas coast. This bill would help keep us from a return to the days of relying on our adversaries to meet our energy needs,” said Cornyn. 

“The Gulf of Mexico’s bountiful natural resources have been a cornerstone in the resurgence of American energy independence. Revenues generated from federal leases have also supported a multitude of critical conservation and restoration projects along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Conservation Funding Protection Act would ensure our valuable resources are managed responsibly and enable states to continue investing in projects that will sustain their coastlines for generations to come,” said Wicker.  

“Every Member of Congress who supported the Great American Outdoors Act would be hypocritical to not support the Conservation Funding Protection Act. President Biden’s actions today are an example of finding a problem where there was a solution: His leasing ban undercuts funding for environmental projects, which are paid for by revenue from energy leasing in the Gulf. The most economically sustainable and least burdensome way to fund conservation efforts is through energy leasing, and I’m proud to support Sen. Kennedy’s bill to continue leasing our natural resources and providing good jobs, economic growth, and conservation funding for the American people,” said Lummis.

Background:

In order to ensure that the Gulf region can steward the shelf’s resources, the Conservation Funding Protection Act would require at least two area-wide lease sales per year on available acreage in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act currently directs the Secretary of Interior to establish a schedule for lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf but does not mandate the number of lease sales the department is required to hold.

Even before today’s executive order prohibiting any new sales of oil and gas leases on federal property, some projections estimate that a permitting ban on natural gas and oil leasing and development projects on federal lands and waters—such as the Outer Continental Shelf—would result in the loss of nearly 1 million oil and gas related jobs within the first 12 to 24 months of the ban. Louisiana is home to 48,000 of those jobs. Such a ban would decrease offshore oil production by 44 percent and natural gas production by 68 percent within the next decade.

This bill would maintain all current environmental laws and ensure that the Department of Interior conducts the environmental reviews required by law within clear time frames. The legislation does not alter environmental regulations for lease sales, rig operations or exploration.

Support for this legislation includes the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, National Ocean Industries Association, International Association of Drilling Contractors, Consumer Energy Alliance, International Association for Geophysical Chemistry, Petroleum Equipment and Service Association and others.

The Conservation Funding Protection Act is critical to protecting existing energy production in the Gulf of Mexico and the livelihoods of thousands of hardworking citizens across the Gulf coast. Oil and gas leasing and production in the Gulf of Mexico is also the primary source of funding for conservation projects across the country, and, importantly, for Louisiana's hurricane protection systems and coastal restoration efforts. Now, more than ever we should be investing in America’s offshore oil and natural gas industry rather than restricting development, increasing our dependence on foreign resources and sending our American jobs to other parts of the world. This important bill will protect the Louisiana communities that depend on energy production for economic stability and for the protection and resiliency of our coast,” said Tyler Gray, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association President.

The bill text is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today received confirmation from the White House that the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project will receive New Start Construction funding with approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“The people of south Louisiana have worked hard to make the Morganza to the Gulf Project a reality for 13 years. It’s both smart and fair for the federal government to step up and help them complete this crucial hurricane protection initiative. I’m thankful to the White House and the Trump Administration for recognizing the value of safeguarding lives and property in Terrebonne Parish and surrounding areas. I’m also grateful to the Corps of Engineers for the time and talent they’re investing into Morganza to the Gulf,” said Kennedy.

As a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kennedy secured language in the Corps’ FY 2021 appropriations bill that directs the Corps to select at least one authorized storm protection project that had not previously been funded for construction.

Kennedy also advocated for the Morganza to the Gulf Project to be that selection. Morganza to the Gulf had been initially authorized in 2007, but had never received any Corps construction funding. After the president signed the funding bill into law last month, Kennedy worked with the administration to ensure that the Morganza to the Gulf Project would receive New Start Funding.

Background

The Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project is set to be one of seven new construction projects that the Army Corps of Engineers is directed to initiate as part of the FY 2021 funding bill. The project should receive a New Start designation, which will provide FY 2021 funding and better position the project to receive annual funding through the project’s completion.

Once constructed, the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection Project will protect a region in southeast Louisiana that has about 250,000 residents and some of the most important oil and gas, marine transportation and seafood support infrastructure on the Gulf Coast.

Southeastern Louisiana began taxing itself in 1992 for the dedicated purpose of hurricane protection and has already invested about $500 million to construct elements of the Morganza to the Gulf Project.

The state of Louisiana has also invested approximately $500 million to construct elements of the project.