“Every so often, Washington actually saves taxpayer dollars instead of watching that money circle the bureaucratic drain. Today, the Senate made the commonsense move to pass the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act . . . I hope the House quickly sends this bipartisan solution to the president’s desk.”
WASHINGTON – Today the Senate passed the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, which Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced in May 2019. The bill would save billions of federal taxpayer dollars by curbing erroneous government payments to people who are deceased.
Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the U.S. Treasury sent more than 1 million coronavirus stimulus payments—worth approximately $1.4 billion—to dead people.
“Every so often, Washington actually saves taxpayer dollars instead of watching that money circle the bureaucratic drain. Today, the Senate made the commonsense move to pass the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, and I’m thankful for Sen. Carper’s leadership in helping our bill cross the finish line. I’m also grateful for the work Finance Committee Chairman Grassley did to save billions in taxpayer money from flowing to ghosts. Americans need those resources to save and improve lives, and I hope the House quickly sends this bipartisan solution to the president’s desk,” said Kennedy.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains the most complete federal database of individuals who are reported to have died. However, only a small number of federal agencies have access to this official list, and most federal agencies rely on a slimmed down, incomplete and less timely version of the death information.
In addition, most inspectors general lack access to the complete death information. As a result, many federal agencies make erroneous payments to people who are actually deceased.
The Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act has several key provisions, including:
- Allowing federal agencies access to the complete death database. Under current law, only federal agencies that directly manage programs making beneficiary payments have access to complete death data. The bill would allow all appropriate federal agencies to have access to the complete record of death data in order to promote public safety and accuracy in distributing benefits.
- Requiring agencies to use death data to curb improper payments. The legislation would require federal agencies to use this death data in order to curb improper payments and reduce waste and fraud that occur when agencies send taxpayer money to people who are no longer living.
- Improving the death data. The legislation would establish procedures to ensure more accurate death data. For example, the bill requires the SSA to screen for “extremely elderly” individuals, as a 2015 Inspector General Report identified 6.5 million people who were listed as living despite the fact that they were all recorded as being more than 112 years old.
“This transmission electron microscope will reinforce LSU’s position as a top research institution that attracts leading educators, research scientists and students. The investment will also create economic opportunities for Louisiana through the cutting-edge research this microscope makes possible.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the U.S. Army has awarded Louisiana State University (LSU) a $10 million transmission electron microscope. Kennedy, the only member of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation on an appropriations committee, supported LSU’s proposal for the research partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense.
The new microscope will strengthen LSU’s position as one of the premier microscopic imaging and measurement facilities in the U.S.
“If America is going to remain the world’s technological leader, we must increase our focus on the next generation of quantum cybersecurity and other tech fields. Louisiana is doing its part to help the U.S. win the technology race. This transmission electron microscope will reinforce LSU’s position as a top research institution that attracts leading educators, research scientists and students. The investment will also create economic opportunities for Louisiana through the cutting-edge research this microscope makes possible,” said Kennedy.
“With this new instrument, we will be able to image and measure all kinds of natural and engineered materials—from cellular to molecular to subatomic scales—at a level of detail found at very few universities,” said LSU Vice President of Research and Economic Development Samuel J. Bentley. “This will form the basis for frontier research in partnership with the Army and other agencies and universities. It will also be a magnet for the best faculty and students to join our LSU team and push the envelope of human knowledge.”
“We are excited to add such next-level instrumentation to LSU’s Shared Instrumentation Facility,” Cynthia Peterson, dean of the LSU College of Science, added. “The transmission electron microscope will further advance the university’s research enterprise and support emerging technologies and research efforts in materials and manufacturing science.”
Transmission electron microscopes are the only instruments that allow researchers to examine physical and chemical properties at levels smaller than the atom. These microscopes are a crucial tool in analyzing materials for biomedical research, micro-electronics research and nano-electronics research, as well as for superconductivity research and for the development and manufacturing of materials. Transmission electron microscopes are also a necessary tool to develop the next generation of quantum information science and technology and quantum cybersecurity.
“This funding will help Monroe support key public transit services as it recovers from the coronavirus outbreak.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4.8 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration to fund transit operating assistance, maintenance and equipment purchased for the city of Monroe, La. during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This funding will help Monroe support key public transit services as it recovers from the coronavirus outbreak,” said Kennedy.
This funding is provided under the authority of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The project is fully supported by federal funds with no local match required.
Jun 29 2020
“It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women. . . . We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo.
“Louisianians and Americans understand that every life is valuable, whether it’s 82 years old or 82 seconds old. It’s disappointing to see the Supreme Court add to the misguided legacy of Roe v. Wade by striking down a Louisiana law that fundamentally protects women.
“States should be able to put basic health and safety laws in place to safeguard people from the deficient care that abortion clinics too often offer them. We can’t deny our responsibility to protect all lives, no matter how loudly the abortion industry insists that baseline standards of medical care don’t apply to them.
“I have always been proud of Louisianians’ steadfast commitment to protecting life. Unborn babies are the most innocent and defenseless people in our communities, and I’ll keep fighting for the life and health of every person, including vulnerable women and children.”
This January, Kennedy introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act to ensure women have access to immediate medical care nationwide. The bill would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 15 miles of the medical office where the abortion occurs. The legislation would also require abortion providers to inform patients of where they can receive follow-up care for any complications arising from abortion procedures.
Kennedy to Barr: Prosecute people who appropriate the banner of peaceful protest to carry out violence
Jun 26 2020
“The rising ‘cancel culture’ movement is fundamentally coercive. . . . Given the present danger the mob poses to individual Americans, common sense, and common decency, I call upon you to vigorously prosecute all those who have appropriated the banner of peaceful protest to carry out violent illegal acts.”
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking the Department of Justice to prosecute individuals who deface or dismantle public monuments or statues to the fullest extent of the law.
“The rising ‘cancel culture’ movement is fundamentally coercive. . . . Given the present danger the mob poses to individual Americans, common sense, and common decency, I call upon you to vigorously prosecute all those who have appropriated the banner of peaceful protest to carry out violent illegal acts,” wrote Kennedy.
Citing President James Madison’s warning against the destructive nature of mob rule, Kennedy continued, “That is precisely why America’s system of government is wedded to various checks and balances and a broad division of power: so the impassioned few cannot override the reasonable majority. This is also why any justice system worth its salt has consequences for criminal actions.”
“If you feel these and other laws already in existence do not provide adequate legal authority to bring justice to these criminals and their victims, I would be glad to introduce legislation to solve that problem. If we care about America’s next generation, we cannot let violent criminal actions go unpunished. What we allow today is what will continue tomorrow,” Kennedy concluded.
The text of the letter is available here.
“Through Louisiana’s Department of Health and Tulane University, this HHS funding will help promote the good health of children and seniors in our state.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,565,847 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to help support multiple health care projects in Louisiana.
“Through Louisiana’s Department of Health and Tulane University, this HHS funding will help promote the good health of children and seniors in our state,” said Kennedy.
Projects supported by this funding include:
- $3,822,883 to the Louisiana Department of Health for immunization projects and vaccines for children.
- $1,363,080 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program.
- $379,884 to Tulane University for its predictive modeling of how the coronavirus progresses in older patients.
Jun 25 2020
“Now is the time for both chambers of Congress to ensure that firms beholden to Communist China finally let U.S. regulators examine their books—to stop them from swindling American investors.”
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have introduced the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill passed the Senate unanimously this May.
Kennedy and Van Hollen introduced the legislation to protect American investors and their retirement savings from foreign companies that have been operating on U.S. stock exchanges while flouting Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight.
“Every day that lawmakers fail to act gives fraudulent Chinese companies the chance to continue exploiting hardworking Americans. The Senate has already endorsed this bill unanimously, and it has the SEC’s support as well. Now is the time for both chambers of Congress to ensure that firms beholden to Communist China finally let U.S. regulators examine their books—to stop them from swindling American investors,” said Kennedy.
“From retirement accounts to their children’s savings plans, many Americans rely on investments to support their futures. But for too long, investors have not been provided accurate or timely information from Chinese companies registered on U.S. exchanges—costing Americans dearly. Publicly listed companies should all be held to the same standards, and our proposal would ensure that. I’m glad this provision has already passed the Senate with unanimous support, I urge my colleagues to get this done,” said Van Hollen.
Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have cosponsored the NDAA amendment.
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act prohibits securities of a company from being listed on any of the U.S. securities exchanges if the company has failed to comply with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) audits for three years in a row.
The bill would also require public companies to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government, including China’s communist government.
Many Americans invest in U.S. stock exchanges as part of their retirement savings, and dishonest companies operating on the exchanges put Americans at risk. This legislation protects the interest of American investors by ensuring that foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to American companies.
Congress established the PCAOB to inspect audits of public companies, ensuring the information companies provide to the public is accurate, independent and trustworthy.
Currently, China’s communist government refuses to allow the PCAOB to inspect audits of companies registered in China and Hong Kong. Such companies represent a keen risk to American investors as nearly 11 percent of all securities class action lawsuits in 2011 were brought against Chinese-owned companies accused of misrepresenting themselves in financial documents.
According to the SEC, 224 U.S.-listed companies are located in countries where there are obstacles to PCAOB inspections. These companies have a combined market capitalization of more than $1.8 trillion.
In the last 10 years, the number of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges has increased significantly, as those firms take advantage of the capital available in America.
“This HHS funding will promote the wellbeing of Louisiana communities by supporting key health care and education programs.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $26,413,564 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to help support various health and education projects in Louisiana.
“This HHS funding will promote the wellbeing of Louisiana communities by supporting key health care and education programs,” said Kennedy.
Projects supported by this funding include:
- $10,742,088 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Louisiana Crisis Response program.
- $7,851,684 for the St. Landry Parish School Board for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
- $4,274,272 to Delta Community Action Association, Inc. for the Head Start program.
- $2,345,520 to the Vernon Parish School Board for the Head Start program.
- $1,040,000 to Louisiana Primary Care Association, Inc. for Health Center Controlled Networks.
- $160,000 to the Louisiana Department of Health for the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program.
“Opioid abuse has crippled communities in our state, and this funding will help law enforcement keep these deadly drugs off of Louisiana streets and out of Louisiana homes.”
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $2,998,794 award from the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to the Louisiana State Police. The funds, which come through the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program (AHTF), will help combat the illegal production and distribution of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and prescription opioids in Louisiana.
“Opioid abuse has crippled communities in our state, and this funding will help law enforcement keep these deadly drugs off of Louisiana streets and out of Louisiana homes,” said Kennedy.
The AHTF delivers funding to law enforcement agencies located in states with high rates of treatment admissions for heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other opioids. These resources will help support criminal investigations into the distribution of such prohibited substances.
“Children are uniquely vulnerable to wicked people who hide in the internet’s shadows. Law enforcement needs modern resources to stop and punish child predators, and this bill delivers a critical tool for the good guys.”
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) today introduced the Targeting Child Predators Act of 2020 to help stop children from being exploited online. Current law gives suspected predators opportunity to evade prosecution when Internet Service Providers alert them to potential law enforcement investigations.
“Children are uniquely vulnerable to wicked people who hide in the internet’s shadows. Law enforcement needs modern resources to stop and punish child predators, and this bill delivers a critical tool for the good guys,” said Kennedy.
“Internet Service Providers can be invaluable partners to law enforcement in tracking down child sexual predators, but ISPs often alert the predator to inquiries about their identity, making it easier for them to evade prosecution. This bill would forbid ISPs from telling these criminals that their information has been requested by law enforcement until their actions can be properly investigated,” said Cornyn.
“Child exploitation is particularly awful, and every second counts when it comes to putting these types of criminals behind bars. This bill will give law enforcement another tool to respond swiftly to these crimes, find predators, and bring them to justice,” said Cotton.
“I thank Senators Kennedy, Cornyn and Cotton for standing up for vulnerable children by introducing the Targeting Child Predators Act which I sponsored in the House of Representatives when I was a congressman. It passed in the House and the Senate should act similarly to ensure online predators are swiftly prosecuted and our children are protected,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
When investigating the exploitation of children online, law enforcement can typically match an IP address to a suspected predator. Officials may then use this evidence to obtain a subpoena to collect the name of the person attached to the IP address from an Internet Service Provider.
Internet Service Providers routinely comply with such subpoenas, but often immediately inform the users—in these cases, suspected child predators—of the request. Suspects who discover that law enforcement is investigating them regularly erase their internet footprints, which can make prosecuting online child predators nearly impossible.
The Targeting Child Predators Act would allow law enforcement to obtain a subpoena that forbids the Internet Service Provider from notifying the targeted user that his or her information has been requested. This prohibition would be valid for 180 days to give law enforcement sufficient time to determine whether to prosecute the individual in question.
The legislation applies only in cases of suspected child exploitation. In addition, law enforcement must certify that, if the Internet Service Provider disclosed the information request to the targeted suspect, that disclosure could enable suspects to:
- endanger the life or physical safety of an individual,
- flee from prosecution,
- destroy or tamper with evidence,
- intimidate a potential witness, or
- otherwise seriously jeopardize an investigation.
The Targeting Child Predators Act does not expand what type of evidence law enforcement can collect. The bill allows for judicial review of the subpoenas.
This bill passed the House in the 115th Congress by a voice vote, and its text is available here.