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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA.) released the following statement today on the Office of Management and Budget's supplemental budget request.

"The request includes deeply troubling policy suggestions that would harm Louisiana families insured through the National Flood Insurance Program.  The Office of Management and Budget wants to turn the NFIP into a means-tested program that would lead to skyrocketing premiums for the majority of policyholders in Louisiana.  This would hurt middle-class families as well as senior citizens living on fixed incomes.  This would put our economy in a death spiral by pricing families out of their homes.

"I am going to fight the inclusion of this language.  Owning a home is part of the American dream.  We can't put that dream out of reach."

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned former Equifax CEO, Richard Smith, about the recent no bid $7.3 million contract between the IRS and Equifax.

Equifax informed the Senate Banking Committee today that 2.16 million people in Louisiana were impacted by the security breach.  After the breach, Equifax received a fraud prevention contract from the IRS.

“The contract is $7 million and change.  Does that involve taxpayer information that you would have access to?” asked Sen. Kennedy.  “You realize to many Americans right now, it looks like we are giving Lindsay Lohan the keys to the minibar.”

Sen. Kennedy continued his questioning of Mr. Smith by asking him to explain the unfair premium credit monitoring services Equifax sells to the American people.

 “You collect my information without my permission and you sell that information to businesses.  You can’t run your business without me.  My data is the product that you sell,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “You then offer me a premium service to make sure the data you are collecting about me is accurate.  I don’t pay extra in a restaurant to prevent the waiter from spitting in my food.”

Click here to watch Sen. Kennedy question Mr. Smith in the U.S. Senate Banking Committee or click the photo below.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA.) announced today that farmers in 10 parishes are eligible for federal assistance, including emergency loans, because of devastating weather in 2017. The impacted parishes are Concordia, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Madison, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Washington and West Feliciana.

“Excessive rainfall and flooding hit our farmers hard this year,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The federal government is offering low interest loans that can help farmers recover and rebuild. We want our farmers to prosper.”

Farmers have eight months to apply for low interest loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. For more information, contact your local FSA office.

“What in God’s name were you thinking?”- Sen. Kennedy to Wells Fargo CEO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today at the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioned Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan about the egregious lapse in judgment that led to the creation of 3.5 million unauthorized deposit accounts and more than 500,000 unauthorized credit card applications. 

Click here to watch Sen. Kennedy question Mr. Sloan or click the link below.

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“Like you I believe in the free enterprise system.  I believe that the free enterprise system has lifted more people out of poverty than all of the social programs put together,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I am certainly not anti-business.  You can’t be for jobs if you are against business.  What I am curious about is what in God’s name were you thinking?  I am not against big business.  With all due respect, I am against dumb.  I’m against a business practice which puts Wells Fargo first and customers second.”

This hearing occurred one year after Wells Fargo’s then CEO John Stumpf appeared before the Senate Banking Committee to testify about the phony accounts.  Mr. Stumpf resigned shortly after the hearing.  Wells Fargo has since entered into a $185 million settlement with its customers.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

WASHINGTON—US Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) released a joint statement today warning against the inclusion of the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, rather than as part of comprehensive flood insurance reform:

“The decision to include this flood insurance measure on the FAA reauthorization bill, and not as part of comprehensive flood insurance reform, is greatly concerning. This would be a disservice to millions of families across the U.S., especially those families still recovering from the recent hurricanes. We need Congress to act on a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that will provide these families with affordable insurance and peace of mind.”

Sen. Kennedy to Chairman Clayton: “There’s more than just a data breach involved here.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) secured assurances from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton today that possible insider trading at Equifax will not be ignored.  Sen. Kennedy earlier called for a federal investigation after it became known that Equifax executives sold stock before publicly announcing the breach.

Click here or the picture below to watch today’s questioning.

“There is more than just a data breach involved in the Equifax situation.  This affects the sanctity of our equity markets and our economy,” Sen. Kennedy told Clayton during a hearing on Capitol Hill.  “I’m glad to hear you’re investigating.”

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“I can think of no better way to say ‘thank you’ to our troops than by giving them a much deserved raise.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The NDAA authorizes a total of $700 billion for our nation’s defense.  This year’s NDAA includes key provisions like giving our troops a pay raise, protecting Fort Polk from closure, investing in Barksdale’s B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber program, and increasing our military forces.  

“The brave men and women of our military make countless sacrifices to ensure that our country remains safe and secure.  As such, we must make sure that they have the necessary tools available for them to not only manage today’s tasks, but to also be prepared for the challenges we may face tomorrow,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the most crucial needs of Louisiana's armed service members and our nation’s military members are met.”

Key Provisions:

  • Authorizes $700 billion for national security spending in Fiscal Year 2018, beginning Oct. 1.  It authorizes $60 billion in strategic defense spending for the war on terrorism. 
  • Includes reforms to prevent waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement through mandatory audits.
  • Authorizes $10.2 billion for military construction on military installations nationwide.  Within that amount, $1.33 billion would be authorized for military family housing.
  • Authorizes modernizing our nuclear forces and improves our missile defense systems.

Barksdale Air Force Base: 

  • NDAA includes $2 billion for the Air Force’s B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City.
  • NDAA supports the Air Force Global Strike Commands’ strategy to enhance science, technology, innovation and collaboration through outreach to academic institutions and researchers.

Fort Polk:

  • NDAA fully funds a 2.1% pay raise for our troops that will benefit the troops and their families who are stationed at Louisiana bases.
  • NDAA increases our troop levels through the military branches, including a 5,000 troop increase for active duty Army, 4,000 increase for Navy, 1,000 increase for Marine Corps, 4,100 increase for Air Force, and a 3,700 troop increase for reservists across the Defense Department.
  • These additional troops have the opportunity to train at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.
  • NDAA would prohibit another round of base closures that, in the past, have put Fort Polk at risk.

Belle Chasse:

  • $1.94 billion for 24 Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets produced by Boeing Co., 10 more than the administration requested.

Senator Kennedy’s Amendments Included in the NDAA:

Sen. Kennedy sponsored an amendment to help ensure our military members and their families are getting the commissaries benefit they rightfully deserve.  Earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office made three recommendations to help improve the program including: the Department of Defense (DOD) address limitations identified in its savings rate methodology; develop a plan with objectives, goals, and timeframes to improve efficiency in product management; and conduct comprehensive cost-benefit analyses for service contracts and distribution options. 

The goal of this amendment is to push DOD to save money from the commissary service by targeting waste and inefficiencies instead of reducing service or raising prices on military families.  Our military has volunteered, sacrificed, and devoted their lives to serve and protect our country, and they deserve no less than the best.  I care deeply about our state, and I will work to ensure that the most crucial needs of Louisiana's armed service members are met. 

Sen. Kennedy also cosponsored an amendment to require the Army to conduct a report on the Army Combat Training Centers and current resident cyber capabilities and training.  The purpose of this report is to find and correct potential training readiness shortfalls and ensure pre-rotational cyber training needs are met.  This supports ongoing cyber initiatives in Shreveport-Bossier City and is an economic win for Louisiana. 

After eight years of careless cuts to our national defense budget, we are finally recapitalizing and reinvesting in our national security force.  This year’s NDAA begins to rebuild our military by improving our readiness, equipment modernization, and military dominance.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Jack Reed (D-RI) led a bipartisan group of 36 U.S. Senators asking the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the sale of nearly $2 million in Equifax securities held by high-level Equifax executives shortly after the company learned of a massive cybersecurity breach.

Equifax, a major consumer credit reporting agency, recently disclosed that unauthorized parties had obtained sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and driver’s license numbers, for as many as 143 million people.  The breach is believed to have occurred in May and was discovered internally by Equifax in late July.  Within days of Equifax’s internal discovery of the breach, three top level Equifax executives — the Chief Financial Officer; the President of U.S. Information Solutions; and the President of Workforce Solutions — sold large amounts of their shares of Equifax stock, though its customers and the public were not notified until September 7.

Equifax has stated that the three executives were not notified of the breach when they sold shares and exercised options.

 

Full text of the letter follows:

 

September 12, 2017

 

Dear Chairman Clayton, Attorney General Sessions, and Acting Chairman Ohlhausen:

We write to request that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission investigate disturbing reports that senior Equifax executives sold more than $1.5 million in Equifax securities within days of a cybersecurity breach that may have compromised the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of as many as 143 million Americans.  In addition, there are reports that Equifax “also lost control of an unspecified number of driver’s license numbers, along with the credit card numbers for 209,000 consumers and credit dispute documents for 182,000.”

As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law.  To the extent that your investigations uncover any information regarding whether Equifax management employed reasonable measures to ensure the security of the now compromised data prior to this cyber breach, we would appreciate your sharing these details.   

We request that you spare no effort in your investigations and in enforcing the law to the fullest extent against anyone who is found to be at fault. 

We thank you for your consideration, and we request periodic updates on your progress.

Sincerely,

Senators Baldwin, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Casey, Collins, Cortez Masto, Donnelly, Durbin, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Harris, Hassan, Heitkamp, Heller, Kennedy, King, Klobuchar, Leahy, Manchin, Markey, McCaskill, Menendez, Merkley, Murray, Reed, Sanders, Schatz, Shaheen, Tester, Udall, Van Hollen, Warner, Warren, Whitehouse, and Wyden.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) in the Senate Appropriations Committee today voted in favor of the State and Foreign Operations bill and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that promote religious freedom, invest in charter schools and curtail government waste while maximizing taxpayer dollars.

“We were able to fund charter schools, veterans training, Alzheimer’s disease research, the fight against opioid abuse and other key initiatives and still spend $800 million less in total discretionary funding than FY2017,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We are being careful stewards of taxpayer dollars while still funding what needs to be funded.  It’s all about setting priorities.”

Key Provisions Included in State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill:

Total cost: $51.3 billion; $6.18 billion cut from FY17 Omnibus package

  • Supports Israel - $3.1 billion for military aid for Israel, $7.5 million for refugees resettling in Israel; and continues restrictions on the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • Promotes and Protects International Religious Freedom – $25 million for programs to promote international religious freedom.
  • Protects Life – The bill prohibits U.S. assistance for foreign nongovernmental organizations that promote or perform abortions.

Key Provisions Included in Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill:

  • Alzheimer’s Funding- $1.8 billion has been allocated for Alzheimer’s disease research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Opioid Epidemic- $816 million, a 440% increase in funding to combat opioid abuse at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 
  • Charter Schools – $367 million, a $25 million increase above FY2017 Omnibus, to support the startup, replication, and expansion of high-quality charter schools. 
  • Fiscal Stability for Social Security- Money to prevent improper Social Security payments which will help save taxpayers $9,828,000,000 over 10 years.
  • Program Eliminations – The bill focuses funding on programs that are efficient, cost-effective, with proven outcomes.  The Committee recommendation includes six program eliminations, equating to over $152 million in spending reductions.  Over the past three years, the Labor-HHS bill has eliminated or consolidated 36 programs.
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services- $235 million, a $4 million increase above FY2017 Omnibus.  The National WWII Museum in New Orleans will be eligible to qualify for grants provided by this agency.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today voted to appropriate $15.25 billion in emergency supplemental funds to replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) and fund additional disaster aid.  This funding will ensure that assistance is in place for communities dealing with hurricanes and other disasters, and it will help Texas grapple with Hurricane Harvey.

“My heart goes out to Texas as it copes with Hurricane Harvey’s devastating aftermath.  We in Louisiana have not forgotten about the help we received after Hurricane Katrina hit 12 years ago,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “When your neighbor’s house is on fire, you rush in with your hose and ladder.  You don’t just stand there and watch their house burn.”  

Sen. Kennedy also voted in favor of a three month extension for the National Flood Insurance Program.  The program was set to expire Sept. 30.

“This short-term NFIP extension prevents a lapse in coverage during hurricane season.  This coverage is essential for Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “Policyholders need to be able to afford their flood insurance, and they deserve the long-term certainty that I will continue working to provide.”