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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed a Senate Farm Bill today that contains U.S. Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to prevent the National Flood Insurance Program from expiring in the middle of hurricane season.  H.R.2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Senate Farm Bill, extends the program for six months.  The Senate passed the Farm Bill on an 86-11 vote.

The bill also protects Louisiana sugar cane farmers by keeping tariff-rate quotas on imports and preventing foreign countries from flooding the market with their inferior product.  The American Sugar Cane League estimates that Louisiana sugar cane production employs 17,000 people and generates 13 million tons of cane a year.

“I’m grateful that the Senate included my amendment, ensuring that the National Flood Insurance Program will continue to protect families during hurricane season.  We can’t abandon Louisiana families who faithfully pay their premiums every year,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I also cannot emphasize enough how much this bill does for our sugar cane farmers.  Generations of families have farmed sugar cane in Louisiana.  That is a legacy we need to protect from foreign producers trying to flood the market.”

Other highlights included in the Farm Bill for Louisiana:

  • Allows the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund projects that will deploy high-speed broadband in rural America, including Louisiana.
  • Continues to fund programs that help cotton farmers and textile manufacturers.
  • Reauthorizes the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program, which promotes clean source water in rural communities.  The plans identify voluntary actions that farmers and ranchers can do to prevent source water pollution.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today on the retirement announcement by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy:

“I congratulate Justice Kennedy for serving on the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 30 years and wish him well on his retirement.  Serving on the nation’s highest court is a pinnacle reached by few and requires true dedication to public service.  We owe him a sincere thank you.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I look forward to sitting down with President Trump’s nominee and asking some tough questions.  I will be looking for someone of great intellect who has more than a passing fondness for the U.S. Constitution and doesn’t think personal preferences have a role in judicial decision-making.  In short, I’m hoping Justice Gorsuch has a brother or a sister who is willing to serve.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate today inserted a proposal by U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for six months into a substitute version of the Senate Farm Bill.  The program extension, which was cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), now is in H.R.2, the substitute Senate Farm Bill.  A vote on the full bill is expected Thursday.

“This is huge news for homeowners from Houma to Plain Dealing and all the points in between.  The National Flood Insurance Program is on the brink of expiring at the worst time possible.  It’s the middle of hurricane season, and we haven’t even gotten to August when the worst hurricanes typically hit,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “This six-month deal will give us time to work on a longer reauthorization and much-needed reforms.  It will also ensure that Louisiana families don’t have to worry every time it rains.”

“Louisiana families depend on the National Flood Insurance Program for peace of mind and recovery after disaster,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Preserving this program through hurricane season, as we work on a long-term reauthorization that ensures the program is affordable and sustainable, will be a big victory for homeowners.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – With hurricane season underway along the Gulf coast, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), today submitted an amendment to H.R.2 the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 – also known as the Senate Farm Bill – that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for six months.  Sen. Kennedy spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate today to underscore the importance of the NFIP’s reauthorization.  Unless action is taken, the program will lapse July 31.

Click here or the image below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full remarks.

“In the absence of reauthorizing legislation, the National Flood Insurance Program will lapse, in the middle of hurricane season, leaving more than five million American families and businesses vulnerable.  I don’t want people to be scared every time it rains,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We can’t allow the program to expire, and this may be the shortest way home.  My colleagues shouldn’t play politics with the NFIP.  It’s central to the stability and vitality of the American economy, whether you live in Plaquemines Parish or the Missouri floodplain.  We cannot afford to let down the many Americans who depend on the National Flood Insurance Program for protection against natural disasters.  Did I mention that we are in the middle of hurricane season?”

“Louisiana families depend on the National Flood Insurance Program for peace of mind and recovery after disaster,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We must preserve this program through hurricane season as we work on a long-term reauthorization that ensures the program is affordable and sustainable.”

In a multi-layered approach to ensuring the program doesn’t expire, Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Cassidy also introduced a standalone bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today submitted an amendment that would attach his Fraud Reduction Through Photographic Identification Act to the Senate Farm Bill.  The amendment would implement the simple step of requiring food stamp recipients to show photo identification in order to combat fraud and abuse.

“Taxpayers lose billions of dollars every year to welfare fraud.  When $75 billion a year is being stolen from hard-working Americans, then you have an enormous problem.  We can’t sit idly by while people abuse taxpayers’ generosity,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Requiring food stamp recipients to show a photo ID is a simple step that will reduce fraud.  At the very least, we’ll ensure that food stamp benefits aren’t being used to support criminal activity.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) attached an amendment to H.R.5895, the minibus appropriations legislation, which aims to prevent wait times from continuing to increase at veterans clinics and facilities in Louisiana.   Specifically, the amendment says that “None of the funds made available in this act may be used in a manner that would increase wait times for veterans who seek care at medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.”  Wait times at VA clinics in Louisiana are as high as 42 days.  Currently, the VA clinics in Pineville, Leesville, Lake Charles and Shreveport are experiencing the longest wait times.

“In Louisiana the average wait time for veterans to receive care at a VA clinic is 18 days,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “That is just plain unacceptable.  We have to do better for the men and women who served our country.  It’s a sad way to run government that my amendment has to be put into words and isn’t just common sense.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today attached an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act which would prohibit taxpayer money from being used to pay for first-class airline tickets for federal government employees. This prohibition would apply to cabinet secretaries and assistant secretaries as well as to senior and junior staff members.  The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Commerce found that federal employees have been misusing allowable upgrades to ride first class in 56% of cases. 

“Between 2012 and 2014, government employees spent an extra $1 million in taxpayer dollars to fly first class.  That is an unacceptable waste of taxpayer money.  Government workers shouldn’t travel like the champagne and caviar crowd on the taxpayers’ dime,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “My amendment makes it clear that no one, including an agency head, should fly first class on the taxpayers’ dime.”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) applauded the Trump Administration today for nominating Dr. John C. Fleming to be the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development.

“I can think of no better candidate than Dr. Fleming for the role of assistant secretary of commerce for economic development,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “John is a skilled physician and an experienced entrepreneur who has done it all.  He’s treated patients, built companies, served his country and been elected to Congress.  He’s also a great guy.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), applauded President Trump’s nomination of Peter Strasser for U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.  Mr. Strasser, a retired Navy Reserve captain, JAGC, is currently a partner at Chaffe McCall, LLP in New Orleans.  He previously served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

“Mr. Strasser is a sound choice for U.S. attorney of the Eastern District,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “He has a wealth of legal experience and can smoothly transition into the job.  I look forward to hearing Mr. Strasser’s testimony during the nominations hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

“Strasser is an excellent pick for this position and he will serve Louisiana and our country well,” said Dr. Cassidy. “His extensive experience, including years spent as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Orleans, should ensure a smooth transition and I look forward to voting for his confirmation.”

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after President Trump signed an executive order to keep migrant families together at the border:

“President Trump recognized that we need to do what’s in the best interest of the children.  Clearly, what’s in the best interest of the children is to allow them to remain with their parents,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “At the same time, we’re in this situation because people are trying to jump the line and come into this country illegally.  We cannot let them jump the line, but we can enforce the law without separating children from their parents.”

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