Apr 06 2022
Watch Kennedy’s remarks here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, today highlighted taxpayer interests at a subcommittee hearing focused on the Army Corps of Engineers.
“Hurricane Katrina, as we all know, was a Cat Five hurricane. It hit New Orleans, August 29th, 2005—not just New Orleans, it hit all of south Louisiana. . . . It caused unprecedented losses. We had 1800 fatalities, $125 billion in damage. There was a 28-foot storm surge, 85-foot waves.”
. . .
“The Corps improved approximately 70 miles of interior risk reduction structures within the levee that encircles the New Orleans metropolitan region. Among the Corps’ technically advanced engineering solutions, HSDRRS [Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System] now includes a surge barrier wall that’s 1.8 miles long. It’s an engineering marvel. It’s the largest design build Civil Works project in your history, one of the—maybe the largest in America’s history.
“HSDRRS also includes the largest drainage pump station in the world. HSDRRS works and has already spared lives and property, saved taxpayers millions of dollars in my area from expensive storm recovery. Last year, Hurricane Ida hit us. Category Four storm. It hit southeast Louisiana. Its surge would have overtopped our levees before your good work.”
Kennedy also had the following exchange with Lieutenant General Scott A. Spellmon, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
Kennedy: “With the exception of a really small number of projects, less than one percent, is it not true that Congress doesn’t authorize construction of proposed Corps projects without a comprehensive study that can take up to years to complete, to determine if the project’s economically justified? Is that accurate?”
Spellmon: “Yes, sir.”
Kennedy: “That study’s also got to show that the project’s environmentally sound, right?”
Spellmon: “Yes, sir, that’s correct.”
Kennedy: “Technically feasible, is that correct?”
Spellmon: “Yes, Senator.”
Kennedy: “So, somebody just can’t call you folks up at the Corps and say, ‘I’ve got a project, and I want it done, and you better get it done.’ It doesn’t work that way, does it?”
Spellmon: “That’s correct, Senator. It does not.”
Kennedy: “Alright. And, in your years at the Corps, what percentage of all Corps projects have been authorized for congressional—by Congress—for construction without meeting this three-part test?”
Spellmon: “Sir, I’ve been with the Corps six-and-a-half years. I’m not aware of any.”
Kennedy: “Any? Every project has had to be economically justified, environmentally sound, and technically feasible, based on any objective study?”
Spellmon: “Senator, that’s correct.”
Kennedy: “Not by politicians?”
Spellmon: “That’s correct.”
. . .
Kennedy: “Ok. And, not to put too fine a point on it, but one of the things that the Corps looks at in this study, which can take years, is whether the taxpayers are getting a return on their investment. In other words, the benefits have to substantially outweigh the costs. Is that right?”
Spellmon: “Yes sir, that’s correct.”
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
Apr 06 2022
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today cautioned against the Biden administration’s moves to throttle the production of American oil and gas, especially as Louisianians are suffering under historic inflation and rising gas prices.
Below are Kennedy’s remarks.
“As I have said before, the problem is that the oil is in Louisiana, and Texas, and Oklahoma, and Kansas, and North Dakota, and Alaska and in many other states, but the dipsticks are in Washington, DC.
“This is a problem of simple economics, and, in my opinion, the Biden administration will continue to kick its own ass politically and do what may be irreparable damage to the American people’s pocketbooks and standard of living—and to America’s national security—until the president transitions to an all-of-the-above energy policy.”
“Take national security: We know that it will be very difficult—if impossible—to defeat Putin until we cut off his cash flow. You can’t cut off his cash flow until you cut off his oil and gas exports. You can’t cut off his oil and gas sales, his exports—much of which go to Europe—until Europe has a way to replace the fossil fuels.
“America has a way to help Europe replace those fossil fuels. Except for one problem: The Biden administration has put its boot on the neck of the oil and gas industry, and, until the Biden administration takes it off, the American people and the Western world will continue to suffer.”
Video of Kennedy’s comments is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today joined Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and more than 15 other senators in urging Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler to withdraw a proposed rule that would require publicly-traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other information related to climate change.
“The SEC is not tasked with environmental regulation, nor has Congress amended the SEC’s regulatory authority to pursue the proposed climate disclosures. Further, there are serious questions about whether the SEC has the technical expertise to assess climate models and underlying assumptions used in companies’ metrics and disclosures. Without such technical expertise, the SEC will likely review submissions arbitrarily, leading to uneven or unfair application,” the senators wrote.
“After failed attempts to enact radical climate policy via legislation, this rule is yet another example of the Biden Administration’s efforts to have unelected bureaucrats implement its preferred agenda through regulation. To make matters worse, the SEC is limiting the public’s input on this proposed rule by restricting the comment period to only 60 days, which is insufficient for such an enormously complex and consequential rule,” they continued.
The senators point out that the SEC’s proposed rule would impose billions of dollars in new compliance costs on public companies, harm investors who would face reduced shareholder returns and discourage companies from going public.
“This anti-energy rhetoric and policy coming from the Biden Administration is having a chilling effect on markets and long-term investments, starving the American oil, gas, and mining industries of access to the credit and capital they need to grow production while reducing their GHG emissions. This proposed rule will only further allocate capital away from domestic fossil fuel producers, increase the costs of energy for everyday Americans, and transfer investment to dirtier sources of energy overseas,” concluded the senators.
The letter is also directed to SEC Commissioners Hester M. Peirce, Allison Herren Lee and Caroline A. Crenshaw.
The letter is available here.
Apr 04 2022
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced his intent to vote against confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I found Judge Jackson to be smart, well-versed in the law, and . . . extraordinarily deft and artful in her ability to speak at length without saying anything of substance on critical questions—especially the limits of judicial power and the importance of judicial restraint,” said Kennedy.
"For that reason, I spent a lot of time reading Judge Jackson’s opinions. . . . I would encourage you to read Make the Road New York case, which was her case on immigration. Well written, but I think her true feelings about the limits of judicial power are expressed in that opinion. She was reversed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” he explained.
“I don’t agree with the judge on where, based on her opinions, she draws the limits of judicial power, and I don’t think she places as great an importance as I do on judicial restraint in a Madisonian system of checks and balances and separation of powers, and, for that reason, I will be voting no.”
Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
Kennedy joins banking Republicans in rolling out capital formation legislation to mark 10th anniversary of JOBS Act
Apr 04 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee in unveiling a draft package of bills that would accelerate America’s economic growth. The draft’s working title is the JOBS Act 4.0.
“The American economy is the greatest in all of human history because of free markets, and the JOBS Act 4.0 will make it even stronger by promoting a healthy market for investors and companies alike. This package will help companies to trade more easily, improve their access to private capital and make meaningful reforms to the SEC,” said Kennedy.
“The JOBS Act helped to revitalize interest in the public markets and spur economic growth, but it is clear significant work remains to be done to give retail investors access to higher returns and ensure American markets remain the deepest and most liquid in the world. The discussion draft we’re releasing today incorporates ideas from entrepreneurs, retail investors, and others, and includes numerous provisions with strong bipartisan support. I look forward to continue working with both Republican and Democrat colleagues on a final product that accelerates economic growth and spurs new job creation across the U.S,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), ranking member of the Banking Committee.
The discussion draft of the JOBS Act 4.0 takes into account stakeholder feedback and represents the collective efforts of Senate Republicans to introduce 24 bills, four of which currently have bipartisan support. Kennedy authored six of those 24 bills.
The JOBS Act 4.0 would:
- Encourage companies to be publicly-traded: includes eight initiatives to encourage companies to become publicly-traded, particularly during earlier growth stages, when investors have the chance to earn the highest returns.
- Improve the market for private capital: includes six initiatives to reduce costs associated with seeking capital by appropriately tailoring regulations for small businesses.
- Enhance retail investor access to investment opportunities: includes seven initiatives to prevent retail investors from being excluded from certain investment opportunities.
- Improve regulatory oversight: includes seven initiatives to enhance investor protection and privacy and to update outdated statutory and regulatory provisions.
Kennedy has introduced six bills in this package, including:
- The Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act would examine problems that small businesses in rural areas face when they attempt to access capital. The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation to submit an annual report on the unique challenges small businesses in rural areas face when trying to secure capital.
- The Main Street Growth Act would expand small companies’ access to capital markets through dedicated exchanges known as “venture exchanges” for trading stocks. The bill would give investors more access to the potential growth opportunities that small companies offer.
- The Tracking Bad Actors Act of 2022 would protect the public from financial crime and abuse by creating a public database of people who have committed financial crimes or have civil liability for financial misdeeds.
- The Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act would protect information that could reveal the identity of American investors by prohibiting the SEC from requiring brokers to submit investors’ personally identifiable information to its Consolidated Audit Trail.
- The Intelligent Tick Study Act would require the SEC to look at the economic impact that trading increments—called ticks—of over and under one penny has on the stock market. The bill would help small companies be traded more efficiently by allowing the SEC, through rulemaking, to determine appropriate tick sizes for small companies that are publicly traded.
- The Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2021 would help small business owners access the services of small business merger and acquisition (M&A) brokers. The bill would allow small business M&A brokers to organize sales and purchases of ownership and control of private companies without registering as “broker-dealers” with the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This would remove bureaucratic roadblocks, making their services more affordable and accessible to small business owners who need help buying or selling companies.
The discussion draft of this legislation is available here.
A fact sheet on the JOBS Act 4.0 is available here.
A section-by-section summary of the package is available here.
WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed the Save the Liberty Theatre Act, which Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced in the Senate and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced in the House. The bill would allow the city of Eunice to restore its historic Liberty Theatre and is on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk.
“The Liberty Theatre is a historic part of Eunice’s culture. The Save the Liberty Theatre Act will cut through bureaucratic hurdles so that Eunice can restore this century-old part of their community. It was a pleasure to work with Congressman Johnson to preserve this jewel of Acadiana,” said Kennedy.
“With a proper restoration, this special landmark will be enjoyed for generations to come. I commend Senator John Kennedy for so capably guiding this bill through the Senate and we look forward to President Biden’s signature,” said Johnson.
The National Park Service owns a section of the Liberty Theatre that provides a handicap accessible entrance, but this ownership interest in the property is hindering efforts to restore the theater. The Save the Liberty Theatre Act would grant Eunice full ownership of the theater property so that the city can begin restoration efforts.
Text of the Save the Liberty Theatre Act is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $30,046,213 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.
“The people of south Louisiana have weathered hurricane after hurricane but shouldn’t have to bear that weight alone. This $30 million will help our state recover from the damage,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $11,606,724 to the Terrebonne Parish School Board for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $5,403,455 to New Orleans for an Amended Alternate Project related to Hurricane Katrina.
- $5,058,155 to St. John the Baptist Parish for right-of-way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
- $2,505,462 to the Louisiana Department of Military for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
- $2,456,550 to the Office of Risk Management for permanent repairs related to Hurricane Laura.
- $1,872,180 to the town of Grand Isle for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
- $1,143,687 to the town of Iowa for debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined more than 60 other senators in urging the Biden administration to end the bias against Israel expressed in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In May, 2021 the UNHRC approved an open-ended investigation into Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, but made no mention of rockets that Hamas fired toward Israeli civilians.
“This Commission will not only focus on the actions Israel took in Gaza as it sought to defend its citizens, it will also have a carte blanche mandate—in perpetuity—to examine any period in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict about violations not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but also within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The mandate made no mention of the 4,300 lethal rockets fired by Hamas toward Israeli civilians in a matter of days and no mention of Israel’s right to defend itself,” the senators wrote.
“This one-sided approach is consistent with UNHRC’s continuing bias against Israel and the disproportionate use of resources in an ongoing campaign to disparage, discredit and denounce Israel,” explained the senators.
“By comparison, the investigation of North Korea’s violations of the human rights of its people had half the staff and lasted for only a year. Additionally, egregious human rights violations such as the treatment of the Uyghurs in China are not addressed by the UNHRC at all,” they continued.
“We urge you to act upon the Administration’s commitment to defend Israel from discriminatory treatment at the Human Rights Council and throughout the UN system,” concluded the senators.
Read the full letter here.
Mar 29 2022
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), today introduced the Intelligent Tick Study Act to require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to look at the economic impact that trading in increments—called ticks—of over and under one penny has on the stock market. The bill would also allow the SEC, through rulemaking, to determine appropriate tick sizes for small companies that are publicly traded.
“The one-size-fits-all penny increment makes it more challenging for small companies to trade. I’m introducing the Intelligent Tick Study Act to help level the playing field so that small companies can be traded and raise capital more efficiently,” said Kennedy.
Text of the bill is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,495,473 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for a regional gauge network to monitor potential flooding and rainfall. This system would help warn Louisianians about coming floods so they can evacuate in time.
“Louisianians suffered through serious floods in 2016 and again last year. This $3.5 million will help fund a system to alert Louisianians of dangerous floods ahead of time so they and their loved ones can get to safety,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA grant will cover 100 percent of the project cost.