MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) authored this op-ed, originally published in the New York Post. 

“Did you get to visit Paris before the virus shut down international travel? The architect who designed the Louvre’s iconic glass pyramid was actually an American—an Asian American named I.M. Pei. By the time of his death at age of 102, Pei had designed many famous buildings on US soil, including the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

“Pei was one of millions of Asian Americans whose talents have helped make America an exceptional nation, made up of exceptional people who take advantage of all the opportunities our nation has to offer. President Joe Biden is absolutely right to denounce the recent attack in Atlanta, which took the lives of six Asian-American women, and he isn’t alone. The nation’s capital grieves with our Asian-American friends and neighbors.

“Sadly, however, Biden’s rhetoric in defense of the Asian-American community isn’t matched by respect for their right to enjoy the fruit of their gifts and grit. The Biden administration has shown, right out of the gate, a determination to stick its head in the sand, while America’s top universities actively discriminate against Asian Americans.

“Last year, the Department of Justice sued Yale University, claiming the school rejected many qualified Asian-American applicants on the basis of their race. The decision came two years after several Asian-American organizations filed a complaint with the DOJ and the Department of Education, accusing the New Haven Ivy of discrimination. Yet only a few weeks after Biden set up shop in the Oval Office, the DOJ withdrew its own lawsuit against Yale.

“Harvard University also seems bent on discriminating against Asian-American applicants. In 2014, Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard, claiming the school was using an application system that reduces the number of Asian-American students through evaluations that are subjective and potentially racially biased.

“When Harvard considers an applicant, the admissions team often looks past objective indicators like grades and test scores to a student’s ‘personal ratings.’ These personal ratings claim to measure traits like ‘humor,’ ‘sensitivity,’ ‘helpfulness’ and ‘courage.’ The problem is that Harvard has consistently granted lower personal rating scores to Asian Americans than it has to white students and those of other ethnic groups.

“The judge in the Students for Fair Admissions’ lawsuit wrote that ‘the data demonstrates [sic] a statistically significant and negative relationship between Asian-American identity and the personal rating assigned by Harvard admissions officers, holding constant any reasonable set of observable characteristics.’

It might sound smart for Harvard to look for well-rounded applicants—until you realize that these personal ratings aren’t just subjective, they’re subversive. The scores are value judgments that minimize the accomplishments of Asian Americans in particular.

“Harvard’s admissions scores work on a scale from 1 to 6. When it comes to the personal-ratings dimension of the application process, only 17.6 percent of Asian-Americans receive top scores of 1 or 2, compared with 21.3 percent of white applicants. In fact, Harvard gives Asian Americans the weakest personal ratings of any ethnic group.

“Harvard admissions officials have reportedly handed out these low scores without even interviewing some candidates in person. These officials admitted in 2013 that if the school only considered ‘academic achievement,’ then the class’ proportional Asian-American representation would have more than doubled.

“A federal judge ruled against the plaintiffs in 2019, notwithstanding her acknowledgment that Harvard grants lower personal rating scores to Asian-American applicants, and the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld that decision last November. But there’s still hope for justice for Asian-American students. The Supreme Court could take up the case, and the White House could defend the cause of meritocracy against Harvard’s racial discrimination.

“The DOJ has historically supported the Students for Fair Admissions lawsuit. The department filed a statement of interest in the case in 2018 and an amicus brief last year. If Biden is committed to fighting racial discrimination against Asian Americans, it’s not hard to see how countering racist policies within the privileged halls of Harvard—a school that receives federal dollars—must be part of that commitment.

“I.M. Pei graduated from Harvard in the 1940s. Who knows if the Cambridge, Mass., Ivy would even admit him today? That’s a shame, and it shouldn’t stand. The new president should contend for the rights of Asian Americans to be treated fairly by America’s schools. His Department of Justice should support, rather than ignore, their lawsuit against racial bias.”

The op-ed is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) visited the U.S.-Mexico border to witness the effects that the Biden administration’s reckless immigration policies are having on America and on vulnerable women and children at the hands of cartels and human traffickers.

Videos from the trip are available below:

Kennedy addresses victims of broken policies near border, video here.

I’m in southern Texas, Rio Grande Valley, the border is about a mile away—maybe a half a mile. What you see behind me, these children and these mothers and fathers and relatives, is a direct result of President Biden’s policies. President Biden adopted a policy that the smugglers take advantage of—that if you come with the child, who’s under six years of age, and you get here, you’re released into our country. 

“The smugglers all know this. And you can see all the young children, all under the age of six, all of these families paid money to a smuggler to get them here. Many of them were abused or violated or hurt on their way here. 

“But this is a direct result of President Biden’s policies, and it makes no sense. We need an immigration system that looks like somebody designed it on purpose, and this is not that. I mean it breaks your heart, and all of these people here have been used, and President Biden has allowed them to be used.”

Kennedy addresses smuggling operations, video here.

“We’re on the edge of the Rio Grande. Right across is Mexico. The lights you see there are smugglers bringing in families and children. They know the law. They know the change in President Biden’s policies. They know that if the child is six-years-old or younger, they will be released into the United States, and they will become part of the darkness in our country. They’ll go underground, and you’re not going to stop this as long as we practice catch-and-release. 

“If we did not release people from Mexico and the 54 other countries that came in last month—all these folks are not just from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries; people from 54 countries came through—and they know if they bring a child six or under that they are released in the United States. 

“And as long as the President Biden practices catch (temporarily)-and-release, then the smugglers are just going to keep doing it, because they're making a fortune. I mean, you can hear them. We are literally talking to them, and, as soon as we leave, they’ll put the kids and the family members on the boat. They’ll come here. They’ll go up this trail. They’ll be processed, and then they’ll be released into the country.

“And it’s not just, once again, it’s not just Central American countries and Northern Triangle countries and people from Mexico. Fifty-six nationalities were represented, including the Middle East.”

Kennedy speaks at the border wall, video here.

“Behind me is the border wall, which President Biden stopped construction on. I’m not sure there are words in English to describe what my Senate colleagues and I have seen in the last day-and-a-half. Thousands and thousands of people flooding into our country, virtually unimpeded. Either President Biden believes in open borders, or the people he’s put in charge of his border policy are not qualified to manage a food truck.

“President Biden needs to come down here. He needs to put a stop to this. What you allow is what will continue. This isn’t good for the people coming in, and it’s not good for the American people. 

“If he doesn’t do this, President Biden is going to become known very quickly, if not already, as America's illegal immigration president.”

Kennedy commends Border Patrol agents, video here.

“We’re meeting heroes here tonight. These men and women that are trying to keep the border secure, their names aren’t famous, but their virtues are: sacrifice, hard work, patriotism, long hours. And that’s what we’re here for, is to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to them and also to their families. They all sacrifice a lot. God bless every one of them.”

Kennedy’s immigration legislation:

Thursday, Kennedy introduced several bills to make dangerous aliens deportable and empower immigration courts, includingthe Empowering Immigration Courts Act, the Terrorist Deportation Act, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act and the Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act.

The Terrorist Deportation Act would make any immigrant identified in the terrorist screening database, with the exception of permanent residents, deportable. 

The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act would make any immigrant who is a member of a criminal gang or has participated in gang activities deportable.

The Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act would make any immigrant who has committed a felony or two misdemeanors deportable. Current law only includes certain felonies, such as aggravated felonies, and other specific crimes. 

The Empowering Immigration Courts Act would authorize immigration judges to impose a fine for contempt of court that is the same amount, $1,000, as the fine written in the criminal code. 

Kennedy also introduced the Ending Sanctuary Cities Act, which would give legal protections to local law enforcement officers who cooperate with federal officials. It would also withhold federal financial assistance from sanctuary cities that refuse to follow federal law. 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and other Republican senators in urging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to relieve the economic burden of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on oil refining states to protect oil and gas jobs in Louisiana and across the country.

“We request your timely consideration of this request as obligated parties under the RFS struggle with muted demand for refined petroleum products and skyrocketing compliance costs. In turn, the states and regions in which these obligated parties operate stand to suffer the precise severe economic harm the waiver provision is designed to prevent,” the senators wrote.

“The renewable fuels for the 2020 compliance year have already been produced and blended. Thus, a waiver presents no risk of harm to the biofuels industry. This necessary action would provide a degree of relief for these states and avert additional refinery closures and the ensuing economic ripple effects. If relief is not provided in a timely manner, more refineries will be forced to shut down and place thousands of workers on the unemployment rolls just as the economy is beginning to roar back,” the senators continued.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) also signed the letter.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, which would remove regulatory bottlenecks that discourage the liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade and increase LNG exports to the more than 160 countries in the World Trade Organization.

“LNG exports sustain Louisiana jobs, promote America’s energy independence and reduce global emissions. We should make it easier, not harder, to export American LNG to countries that need it. Louisiana is the nation’s number one exporter of liquefied natural gas, but we’re taking a beating at the hands of our own president. The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would combat President Biden’s war on energy jobs by reducing unnecessary restrictions on LNG export permits,” said Kennedy. 

“Thanks to the United States’ development and use of natural gas, America leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. While many choose to protest and ignore the critical role of natural gas in our energy future, Congress must do its part to continue advancing America’s energy renaissance. Increasing LNG exports will not only continue to lower energy costs for consumers and increase America’s energy security—while at the same time reducing emissions and improving air quality in the United States—but will also strengthen our international relationships around the globe and help bring these same climate benefits to the world,” said Cruz.

Despite the pandemic, American LNG exports reached all-time highs in November and December 2020, and the U.S. remains a net exporter of natural gas. The U.S. also exported LNG to a record 38 countries.

The review process for an application to export LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries can take years. While the previous administration greatly reduced the processing time for non-FTA permits, Congress must provide greater certainty and help ensure that the review process is not arbitrarily lengthened.

The U.S. has one of the lowest flaring intensity levels in the world, and methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production have decreased nearly 25 percent since 1990—all while natural gas production grew more than 70 percent.

A 2019 Department of Energy report conducted by the National Energy Technology Lab concluded that American LNG exports resulted in reduced emissions abroad.

The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would:

  • Amend the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-FTA export permits. This would ensure applications for exporting LNG to certain non-FTA countries would be treated the same as applications for exporting LNG to FTA countries and would be “deemed to be consistent with the public interest.”
  • Retain current law for restricted nations. Any nation subject to sanctions or trade restrictions is specifically excluded, and the president or Congress can specifically exclude any nation from expedited approval.

The bill text is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted today on Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) amendment to ensure that Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) assistance cannot go to individuals found guilty of felony rioting within the last two years. For the third time, Senate Democrats voted down the measure.

“Without order, there can be no justice. Felony rioting destroys businesses and kills jobs. It should be punished, not rewarded. We shouldn’t be taking resources away from hardworking small business owners and giving those taxpayer dollars to criminals who have been duly convicted of felony rioting. What we allow is what will continue, and you either approve of violent rioting or you don’t,” said Kennedy.

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.

“My amendment is very simple. It says that if you were one of those rioters, and you have received due process, you have been convicted by a court of law of competent jurisdiction and you have been adjudged to have committed a felony with respect to the riot or civil disorder, in the past two years, that you cannot participate in the PPP program. We already have that law at the SBA for disaster loans. This would extend it to the PPP program,” explained Kennedy on the floor.

“This is the third time I’ve brought this amendment. The third time. . . . It would be a lot more intellectually honest if my colleagues who oppose my amendment said, ‘Look, we just don’t think that if you rioted you should be punished with respect to the PPP program.’ That’s what a ‘no’ vote is saying,” Kennedy concluded.

Under the Trump Administration, individuals who have been arrested or convicted of a felony in the last year, or who were convicted of financial assistance fraud in the last five years, were deemed ineligible for PPP loans.

The Biden Administration discontinued this safeguard so that individuals with prior non-fraud felony convictions are now able to access PPP funds.

Our laws already prohibit the SBA from making disaster loans to anyone who has been convicted of a felony in connection with a riot or civil disorder in the past year. However, this prohibition does not extend to the Paycheck Protection Program.

Kennedy’s amendment would prohibit the SBA from providing PPP loans to anyone who has been convicted of a felony during or in connection with a riot or civil disorder that occurred during the past two years.

Democrats blocked similar amendments from Kennedy in February and March of this year.

The text of Kennedy’s amendment is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Empowering Immigration Courts Act, the Terrorist Deportation Act, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act and the Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act to empower immigration courts and make dangerous aliens deportable. 

“The Biden administration’s reckless policies are openly inviting gangs and cartels to flock to the border, so it’s more urgent than ever that we ensure dangerous people can’t find cover in American communities. When common sense is anything but common, these bills would make alien terrorists, gang members and other criminals subject to deportation. Families and children deserve to know that their leaders aren’t turning a blind eye to predators and lawbreakers who found their way onto U.S. soil,” Kennedy said.

The Empowering Immigration Courts Act would authorize immigration judges to impose a fine for contempt of court that is the same amount, $1,000, as the fine written in the criminal code. 

The Terrorist Deportation Act would make any immigrant identified in the terrorist screening database, with the exception of permanent residents, deportable. 

The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act would make any immigrant who is a member of a criminal gang or has participated in gang activities deportable.

The Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act would make any immigrant who has committed a felony or two misdemeanors deportable. Current law only includes certain felonies, such as aggravated felonies, and other specific crimes. 

Text of the Empowering Immigration Courts Act is available here

Text of the Terrorist Deportation Act is available here

Text of the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act is available here

Text of the Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acting chairman, Allison Herren Lee, to provide updates to Congress on the implementation of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act.

“Legislation rarely moves through both chambers of Congress in as unanimous and bipartisan a fashion as the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act did. As you move to implement the remainder of the law, I ask that you provide Congress with updates on how the Commission intends to do so and when you plan for the law to be fully implemented. It is time to demand honesty of all companies on U.S. exchanges. That means that foreign companies comply with our laws or be forced off our exchanges,” wrote Kennedy.

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act protects American investors and their savings from foreign companies that operate on U.S. stock exchanges but refuse to submit to SEC oversight. The law is tailored to address challenges the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has regulating Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges because China denies the PCAOB access. 

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act also mandates several enhanced disclosure requirements. Companies must report whether a foreign government controls them, whether officials of the Chinese Communist Party serve on their board and whether government entities own any share in the company. The purpose of these and other disclosure requirements is to make relevant information about publicly traded firms explicit and easily accessible to investors.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in reintroducing the Preventing Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance from Going to China Act, which would stop the SBA from assisting companies with significant Chinese ownership.

“China preys on America’s commitment to our small businesses, siphoning financial support away from American employers and workers. I’m proud to join Sen. Rubio in introducing the Preventing Small Business Administration Assistance from Going to China Act to block companies with significant Chinese ownership from getting loans and guarantees from the SBA,” said Kennedy.

“American businesses are no stranger to the wide range of strategies Chinese firms use to starve out their competition. Exploiting taxpayer-subsidized SBA programs designed to boost our small businesses is among the most egregious. This legislation would ensure that U.S. tax dollars aren’t giving Chinese firms an unfair advantage over American small businesses,” said Rubio.

Because the SBA can provide assistance to any qualifying small business that is legally operating in the U.S., firms that are owned by or affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party are able to exploit the system and receive benefits at the expense of American taxpayers. This legislation would prevent SBA loans and guarantees from aiding small businesses that are headquartered in China or that have at least a quarter of their voting stock owned by Chinese investors. 

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) will introduce companion legislation in the House.

The bill text is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a resolution honoring the career and contributions of retired New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

“Drew Brees is forever a Saint and a Louisiana hero. His refusal to be beaten on and off the field has inspired a city and state through tough times. On the 20th anniversary of Brees’s success as an NFL quarterback, I join countless Louisianians in honoring this Super Bowl champion,” said Kennedy.

Brees’s two-decade career with the National Football League (NFL) includes 15 years as a New Orleans Saint. Brees holds the record for most career passing yards of any NFL quarterback and the most career completions in the league. He led the Saints to victory in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. Brees earned the title of Super Bowl XLIV’s Most Valuable Player then, and he remains an MVP in the heart of every Saints fan.

The resolution text is available here.


WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Supreme Court Transparency Act, which would increase public access to Supreme Court justices’ financial and ethics disclosures. It would provide the public with a level of transparency similar to that of the legislative branch. 

“The legislative branch makes a great deal of information publicly available to those who elect them. Supreme Court justices serve lifetime appointments and should provide a similar level of transparency to Americans as the lawmakers who serve at the Capitol. The Supreme Court Transparency Act would make it easier for Americans to access the Supreme Court justices’ disclosure reports. The public deserves to have great confidence in all its public servants, and my bill would strengthen that confidence by expanding transparency to every justice on the bench,” said Kennedy.  

It can take years for the public to gain access to requested public information from the Supreme Court, including the disclosure of various financial and ethics records.

This legislation would require the establishment of an internet database enabling public access to any ethics, personal finance or disclosure reports for Supreme Court justices required by federal law. It would also add the Supreme Court justices to the list of government officials who must comply with section 103(l) of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which requires the prompt disclosure of certain real estate and securities transactions.

The bill text is available here.