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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), joined a group of more than 10 senators, led by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), in introducing the Keep Our Communities Safe Act. The legislation would close the “catch-and-release” loophole. That policy requires the government to release illegal aliens into the United States’ interior after detaining them for six months, if no other country accepts them for deportation.

“America’s border crisis threatens our national security and the safety of our local communities. We can’t afford to send violent offenders out into the country, and the Keep Our Communities Safe Act would make sure that officials don’t ‘catch and release’ offenders when they are here illegally,” said Kennedy.

The Keep Our Communities Safe Act would close the loophole that prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from detaining illegal immigrants for more than six months when:

  • The alien’s release would threaten the safety of the community and the alien either is an aggravated felon or has committed a crime of violence; 
  • The alien would be removed in the reasonably foreseeable future;
  • The alien would have been removed if not for the alien’s refusal to make all reasonable efforts to comply and cooperate with DHS efforts to remove him or her;
  • The alien has a highly contagious disease;
  • The alien’s release would have serious adverse foreign policy consequences; or
  • The alien’s release would threaten national security.

Full text of the bill can be found here.

WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy today announced $2,121,496 in Federal Emergency Management Agency grants in disaster aid for Rapides Parish in Louisiana.

“I’m thankful for this grant that will directly help prevent people’s homes in Rapides Parish from facing flood damage,” said Kennedy.

The grant will fund projects that raise the flood elevation level of 15 properties in the Parish.

 

 

 

 Watch Kennedy’s comments here. 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement on the historic rate of inflation and record gas prices affecting Louisiana families under President Joe Biden, including their causes and remedies. 

Excerpts of his comments include:

“Inflation is gutting all of us like a fish.”

. . .

“I know many of you feel like government has let you down and that government doesn’t care about you or about your future, or you kids’ future, and I feel the same way sometimes.

“People are having to dig into their savings. A dozen eggs just jumped from $1.62 to $2.52. A single pound of ground beef was $4.66 a year ago. Now it’s $5.41. Chicken is up more than $4 a pound.  

“Food banks in our state are even having to cut back. They’re having trouble stocking their shelves to feed our people. And, look, it’s summer: Electricity costs are up 11%.

“Used cars and trucks are up 23%. You can’t afford to put gas in your car or truck even if you can buy one, and we’re seeing just record prices every day.

“This inflation, there’s nothing magical about its cause. [The] federal government just printed too much money. I mean, the last bill that President Biden passed—he just put us over the top: It was $2 trillion dollars. $2 trillion dollars! That’s 2,000 billion dollars. 

“And they said it was a COVID bill, but it wasn’t. It was really an expansion of our already generous welfare program. . . . And a lot of the money was wasted.”

. . .

“They built a $28.5 million apartment complex in Seattle, Washington for the homeless, with views of the Space Needle in Washington.

“In Rhode Island, they spent $53,000 remodeling a city hall and buying ergonomic chairs.

“In New York, they used $12 million to expand a minor league baseball stadium.

“In Arizona, they spent $7.2 million to increase the prize money at horse racing tracks.

“We can get this inflation under control, but we’ve got to do two things: Number one, we’ve got to stop spending money we don’t have, and we’ve got to stop printing it. We’ve got to do what you do every day and live within your budget. 

“And number two, the president has just got to get his boot off the throat of the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas prices are not going to come down as long as we’re having to buy oil from foreign countries at these inflated prices. Oil and gasoline are not going to come down until we go back to producing our own. It’s just that simple. And we can get there if the Biden administration will stop its war on the oil and gas community.”

View Kennedy’s full comments here.

  

 

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) today introduced the Stop Gun Criminals Act to reduce gun violence by establishing a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for felons who possess a firearm illegally.

“Repeat criminals commit a large amount of the shootings that afflict American communities. They think gun laws are meant to be broken. Compassion and common sense tell us that getting those proven offenders off the streets will save lives and reduce gun violence. The Stop Gun Criminals Act would ensure that violent criminals who break our gun laws can’t continue threatening innocent communities,” said Kennedy.

“Violent felons commit the vast majority of gun crimes and should be held accountable for their actions. Instead of releasing criminals onto the streets to commit more crime, our bill will establish mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders,” said Cotton.

A small number of criminals carry out a disproportionate number of shootings, making communities across the country less safe. Despite this, the current average federal sentence for all firearm crimes, including for repeat offenders who fire a gun in the commission of a crime, is only 4.25 years.

The bill would also increase penalties for the most serious criminals who use guns to commit additional crimes. The Stop Gun Criminals Act would increase the mandatory minimum sentence for serious repeat felons—those with at least three prior convictions for crimes that are punishable by at least 10 years—who use a gun in the commission of additional crimes. It would increase the minimum sentence in those cases from five years to seven years. 

Criminals who brandish a gun during a crime would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, rather than the current seven-year minimum.

Criminals who fire a gun while committing a crime would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, rather than the current 10-year minimum.

Finally, the bill makes a technical correction to the Armed Career Criminal Act that clarifies the definition of a serious felony as any crime for which the maximum sentence is 10 years or more. 

Text of the bill is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) today introduced the Safe Schools Act to use any unspent COVID relief funds provided through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund for school security measures. Schools in Louisiana and across the country could use money from the program to harden their facilities against safety threats.

“We need to keep our kids and teachers safe, and we know what works. The federal government already has $150 billion that local communities can use to protect students with security officers, school perimeters, mental health resources and more. The Safe Schools Act would use those resources to make our schools safer now,” said Kennedy.

“While we made some progress in previous legislation to make our schools stronger, harder, and safer, certainly there is more that can and must be done immediately to protect kids. What happened in Uvalde was a horrific tragedy. While many have been quick to play politics, one thing we can all agree on is that Congress must act to harden schools. For these reasons, I am introducing this legislation that allows the abundance of unused COVID relief dollars to be allocated to secure schools in Kansas and throughout the nation,” said Marshall.

$150 billion of the $189.5 billion provided to schools through this fund remain unspent. Under current law, states can obligate and spend this money through the end of 2024.

The Safe Schools Act would allow schools to use this funding to hire and retain armed school resource officers.

In addition, schools could use the money to provide:

  • locks, 
  • security cameras and systems,
  • fencing, 
  • violence-prevention programs,
  • anonymous reporting systems,
  • threat assessment and intervention teams,
  • training for school officials to respond to mental health crises,
  • technology to quickly notify local law enforcement during an emergency,
  • entry control measures for school campuses and
  • other safety measures.

Text of the bill is available here.

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON—Sen. John Kennedy today announced $14.8 million in grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for coastal restoration projects in Louisiana. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is awarding the grants in response to the hurricane damage that impacted the state in 2021.

“These investments will help make our communities more resilient against future storms by caring for Louisiana’s coastal wetlands in Terrebonne and Plaquemines Parishes,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy’s ongoing support for coastal resilience was a key factor in securing this funding.

The grants will fund the following:

  • $5,025,037 to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for the "Bayou Grand Cheniere Marsh Creation" project.
  • $5,455,744 to the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government for the "Installing a Living Shoreline on Lake Chien" project.
  • $4,280,518 to the town of Dularge in Terrebonne Parish for the "Increasing Community Resilience through Restoration of Dularge Marsh" project.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $40,698,890 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“This $40 million will help Louisiana communities recover from Hurricanes Laura, Ida and Zeta and other storms that have damaged our state,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $15,650,998 to New Orleans Sewage and Water for system repairs as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
  • $1,363,908 to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,488,047 to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $11,291,912 to the LA Department of Transportation and Development for debris removal operations as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,350,197 to Cameron Parish for management costs as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,151,772 to Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District as a result of Hurricane Zeta.
  • $1,142,730 to the Southwest Louisiana Hospital Association for emergency protective measures as a result of the Severe Winter Storm.
  • $1,290,531 to East Baton Rouge Parish for debris removal as a result of the Severe Winter Storm.
  • $3,812,573 to Terrebonne Parish School Board for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,156,222 to Plaquemine Parish School Board for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) and 45 other senators in sending a letter to Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pledging their unwavering support for pro-life protections writ large and for the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion.

“We write to express our unwavering support for the Hyde Amendment and all other longstanding pro-life protections. For more than 45 years, the Hyde Amendment has ensured that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, saving the lives of nearly 2.5 million preborn children. As you know, the Hyde Amendment is supported by both a substantial majority of the American public and a bipartisan majority of sitting United States Senators, and was most recently signed into law by President Biden in Public Law 117-103,” the senators wrote.

“Nevertheless, President Biden's budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 once again proposes to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and other existing pro-life protections, while also increasing taxpayer funding for the abortion industry at home and abroad, including through massive funding increases for the Title X family planning program,” they continued.

“We urge you to start where we finished by making a baseline commitment to maintain the same pro-life protections that were included in Public Law 117-103, and to eschew any taxpayer-funded giveaways that benefit the multi-billion-dollar abortion industry. The American people, born and preborn, deserve nothing less,” concluded the lawmakers.

The letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed for National Review. Below are key excerpts from the piece explaining why Congress should pass the Homeland and Cyber Threat (HACT) Act to help combat cyberpredators and give cyberattack victims the right to seek monetary compensation.

“Foreign cyberattacks hurt everyday Americans, and those victims need a way to get justice from foreign governments that sponsor the criminal attackers. U.S. law already allows victims of international terrorism to sue foreign states that sponsor terrorist attacks, but the law deprives cyberattack victims of a similar recourse—and America’s enemies know it.

“ Long before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he was making Russia a haven for cybercriminals. Not only does the Kremlin provide safe harbor for these criminals, but Russian intelligence agencies sometimes even employ them. This arrangement allows Russian hackers to launch cyberattacks on Americans while the Russian government maintains plausible deniability.

“Last May, foreign hackers with likely ties to Russia struck again. They hit the Colonial Pipeline by cutting the company off from its own data until it paid a $4.4 million ransom to restore access.”

. . .

“Firms such as the Colonial Pipeline and JBS eventually recovered from these cyberattacks, but small businesses are more vulnerable. Main-street shops don’t have the financial resources or the cybersecurity systems that big companies enjoy. That makes them prime targets for digital terrorists.”

. . .

“Americans need an effective way to seek justice and compensation from the foreign governments that aid cyberterrorists. That’s why Congress should pass the Homeland and Cyber Threat (HACT) Act.

“The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act became law in 1976, long before the days of the Internet, and the HACT Act would bring the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in line with modern technology. The HACT Act would give American citizens the right to seek monetary compensation for damages suffered and hold foreign officials, employees, and agents accountable for sponsoring cyberterrorism. Companies and individual Americans who have had their private data hacked would have a path to justice from the people responsible for their pain. By imposing a cost on the foreign regimes that launch these attacks, the bill would help deter future cyberterrorism.”

. . .

“If American citizens are already able to sue foreign governments for contributing to terrorism, why shouldn’t they be able to sue governments that help cyberpredators violate their privacy and steal their data?

“The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act needs an update. Americans have already suffered too much at the hands of foreign cybercriminals.”

The op-ed is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $16,225,731 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“This $16 million in FEMA aid will help Lafourche and St. Tammany Parishes pay for repairs and recovery our communities needed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $7,138,235 to Lafourche Parish for facility repairs related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $7,993,224 to St. Tammany Parish for right-of-way debris removal related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,094,271 to St. Tammany Parish for right-of-way debris monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.