Jan 09 2018
“I don’t think we need more gun control. I think we need more idiot control.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) held a press conference today expressing his opposition to S.2135, the Fix National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Act. Under this bill, federal agencies and states would be asked to do a better job of reporting criminal offenses and other information into the NICS database, designed to control who can purchase a gun. The bill would threaten federal employees with loss of bonus pay for noncompliance and offer states greater access to federal grants in exchange for full compliance for following the law.
Sen. Kennedy joined his colleagues Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) in sending a letter to their colleagues in the Senate urging that there be vast improvements made to fix the NICS. The full text of the letter can be viewed below.
“I support background checks. What I don’t support is federal bureaucrats’ inability or unwillingness to do their job,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We don’t need a law to try to get federal workers to do their jobs. We shouldn’t be asking government workers to ‘pretty please with sugar on top, can you do your job?’ They already get an incentive for loading records into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It’s called a paycheck. If that’s not a good enough incentive, then they need to be fired.”
Sen. Kennedy spoke with Fox Business’s Stuart Varney this morning about his opposition to the Fix NICS Act. Click here or click the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy’s interview.
January 09, 2017
Dear Republican Colleague:
We are writing regarding efforts to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). We agree improvements need to be made to the system. Any legislative solution must ensure both completeness of records and basic due process protections.
We agree that individuals who are convicted of violent crimes in an Article III court or under the Uniform Code of Military Justice have been afforded constitutional due process. However, the continued use of administrative decision-making leaves non-violent individuals without the same due process protections afforded to violent criminals. And the solution contemplated by S. 2135—to leave nonviolent citizens to work their way through a Byzantine system of administrative appeal—is really no solution at all.
We are concerned that legislation currently under discussion in the Judiciary Committee falls short of ensuring these two necessities and may lead to the denial of constitutional rights without due process. As written, S. 2135 would require some veterans to be automatically reported to NICS. In addition, S. 2135 would allow the Social Security Administration (and other federal agencies) to revive Obama-era administrative regulations that required NICS reporting of seniors and other vulnerable populations dependent upon fiduciaries to manage their finances. Lastly, S. 2135 provides quantitative incentives to state and federal agencies, which might lead to an increase in the likelihood of abuse and administrative error. In short, we are concerned about S. 2135’s lack of robust due process protections.
Chairman Grassley penned a March 16, 2016 letter to then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert A. McDonald. There, Chairman Grassley forcefully stated, “…it is essential to ensure that the process by which the VA reports names to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for placement on the NICS list recognizes and protects the fundamental nature of veterans’ rights under the Second Amendment.” Consistent with that view, we believe a more reasonable solution to the existing problems with NICS would be to ensure that due process protections are afforded to individuals prior to NICS reporting. S. 2135 could be improved by simply including due process protections before an individual is included on NICS.
In February of this year, the House and Senate passed H.J.Res. 40. This measure overturned a rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. During debate of H.J.Res. 40, supporters agreed due process must be provided before the denial of an individual’s constitutional rights, not after. It is our view that passing S. 2135 as written would undermine this earlier vote and would encourage future administrative agencies to encroach upon constitutionally guaranteed rights without affording robust due process protections.
If Republican Leadership wishes to move forward, S. 2135 will need to be amended to include and reaffirm due process rights in an Article III Court prior to any denial of Second Amendment rights.
RAND PAUL, MD. MIKE LEE
UNITED STATES SENATE UNITED STATES SENATE
UNITED STATES SENATE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La) today thanked the Small Business Administration (SBA) for declaring a major disaster declaration for residents and small businesses affected by Hurricane Harvey. This disaster declaration from SBA makes low-interest loans available for Beauregard, Cameron, Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis parishes in Louisiana.
“I would like to thank Small Business Administrator McMahon for extending the disaster declaration to the people of southwest Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This assistance will help give residents the tools necessary to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.”
According to the Small Business Administration businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. It is important to note that SBA can also lend additional funds to businesses and homeowners to help with the cost of improvements to protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Interest rates can be as low as 3.305% for businesses, 2.5% for private nonprofit organizations and 1.75% for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
The deadline to apply for property damage is March 5, 2018. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Oct. 2, 2018.
If you have any questions regarding SBA’s disaster loan program, contact the center below.
Disaster Loan Outreach Center
Allen P. August, Sr. Multi-Purpose Center
2001 Moeling Street
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Mondays - Fridays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“Everyone on both sides of the aisle knows that we are going to renew CHIP. We need to renew it now. We are scaring people unnecessarily, and it’s ridiculous.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) offered reassurance today on CNN that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be reauthorized and urged people to ignore political scare tactics aimed at convincing them otherwise.
“CHIP will be reauthorized. There’s no disagreement on that point. This is phantom politics, and it’s disgraceful,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We need to get this done now. No excuses. CHIP is an extraordinarily worthwhile program for children and mothers in Louisiana, and across the U.S. It should be a crime to tell people it’s in danger when it’s not. It’s like telling people that you’re going to cancel LSU football unless they pay higher taxes.”
Sen. Kennedy sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a letter thanking him for his ongoing work to reauthorize CHIP. Sen. Kennedy asked that CHIP be made a legislative priority.
According to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the federal government contributed $325.6 million and the state contributed $18.4 million to the CHIP program in federal fiscal year 2016. The program currently insures at least 122,000 children across Louisiana and covers basic medical costs such as doctor visits, immunizations, and prescription medications.
“CHIP costs the state of Louisiana very little, and thousands of children receive health insurance. This is a well-managed program with little waste, and you can’t say that about many government programs,” said Sen. Kennedy. “CHIP is a good deal for the taxpayer, and it’s the right thing to do for those children. We’re going to renew it. We need to renew it now because people are scared.”
Sen. Kennedy spoke frankly with Poppy Harlow and John Berman on CNN this morning about why it is imperative to reauthorize CHIP. Click here to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full interview.
“This historic opportunity could not have been possible without Bill’s leadership.”- Sen. Kennedy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued a statement commending Sen. Bill Cassidy’s leadership and efforts on H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Sen. Cassidy is a member of the Finance Committee which crafted the Senate’s version of the tax bill. As such, Sen. Cassidy was in a unique position to shape the bill from inception. Out of the entire Louisiana congressional delegation, only Sen. Cassidy sits on a tax authorizing committee. Under current estimates, Louisiana will receive an additional $100 million in revenue under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act until 2020 and 2021. This will allow our state to invest in priorities such as coastal restoration and hurricane protection.
“Senate Finance Committee member Dr. Bill Cassidy worked tirelessly to ensure that Louisiana priorities were secured in H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Louisiana stands to receive millions of dollars in additional revenue for coastal restoration and hurricane protection because of Sen. Cassidy and the entire Louisiana congressional delegation. The entire state of Louisiana owes them great gratitude.”
“I believe in freedom, not more free stuff.”-Sen. Kennedy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement about the recent tax package passed by Congress.
“While some in Louisiana state government are trying, yet again, to raise the taxes of the people of Louisiana, President Trump and the United States Congress have cut taxes for the hard-working people of Louisiana. We believe that families can spend the money they earn better than government bureaucrats can,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We believe in freedom, not more free stuff. You cannot create prosperity through taxation and government spending.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that the deadline is upcoming for National Flood Insurance Program policyholders affected by Louisiana’s August 2016 floods to submit a Proof of Loss form. The Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 deadline also applies to supplemental claims.
“Thousands of people were impacted by the August 2016 flooding,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The end of the year will be here before you know it. Please ensure that you’ve filed your paperwork so that you can recover and rebuild. ”
Dec 19 2017
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Helps Pass Once-In-A-Generation Tax Cuts For The American People
“This bill will help every single Louisiana family, and I am proud to be a part of this historic moment.” –said Sen. Kennedy
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) voted today to pass a once-in-a-generation series of tax cuts. By voting for the bill, Sen. Kennedy made sweeping reforms to America’s antiquated tax code while delivering on his campaign promise to lower taxes and help get the economy moving again.
“This bill helps every single Louisiana family by putting more dollars into their paychecks instead of federal coffers. New jobs get created when families spend those dollars. It’s Economics 101,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We doubled the standard deduction. We more than doubled the child tax credit. We lowered tax rates. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: This bill is about tax cuts, jobs, and more jobs. We have delivered on both. We’ve finally given families and businesses meaningful tax cuts. We’re giving them the tools to dream and to build and to prosper. ”
Highlights from the legislation:
- Increases Take-Home Pay: The typical family of four will receive a tax cut of $2,059.
- Lowers Tax Brackets: The new tax brackets are 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%.
- Doubles the Standard Deduction: For an individual, the standard deduction goes from $6,350 to $12,700. For a married couple, it goes from $12,000 to $24,000.
- Doubles the Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit is doubled from the current $1,000 to $2,000, and more parents are allowed to claim the credit.
- Repeals Obamacare’s Individual Mandate: Repealing this unpopular tax will help provide additional relief to low- and middle-income families.
- 135,510 people in Louisiana paid the individual mandate tax penalty in 2014 rather than purchase insurance.
- Builds Families: The Adoption Tax Credit is preserved, which ensures that the adoption process remains accessible and affordable.
- Supports Teachers: The Educator Expense Deduction is retained, allowing teachers to claim a deduction for money they spend out of pocket on their classrooms. This tax deduction helps teachers who selflessly spend their own money on school supplies.
- Preserves Historic Tax Credit: By preserving the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), Louisiana’s historic properties and communities will continue to be revitalized and create new economic opportunities.
- Provides A Two Year Boost In GOMESA Funding: Under current estimates, Louisiana will receive an additional $100 million in revenue under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act until 2020 and 2021. This would allow our state to invest in priorities such as coastal restoration and hurricane protection.
Dec 18 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that the final draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) contains important provisions for Louisiana families, teachers, and businesses. The most significant provision is a two-year boost in the Gulf Coast's share of offshore revenue.
"Louisiana stands to receive millions of dollars in additional revenue for coastal restoration and hurricane protection," said Sen. Kennedy. "This is a tremendous acknowledgment of the critical role that Louisiana plays in reducing our nation's reliance on foreign oil. It's also an invaluable gift to our children and grandchildren. We need to reverse coastal erosion for future generations. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy worked tirelessly to ensure this provision was in the bill. The entire state of Louisiana owes them great gratitude."
The bill also:
- Creates flexibility for families: Families will receive flexibility in saving money for their children’s education through 529 educational savings accounts. Traditionally, this money could only be used for college tuition. Now families will be able to use the savings for primary or secondary school expenses, ensuring that kindergarten all the way through college is covered.
- Builds families: The Adoption Tax Credit is preserved. This ensures that the adoption process is accessible and affordable.
- Supports teachers: The Educator Expense Deduction is retained, allowing teachers to claim a deduction for money they spend out of pocket on their classrooms. This is a modest tax deduction that helps teachers who selflessly spend their own money on school supplies.
Sen. Kennedy (R-LA) Asks Revenue Department To Collect Taxes From Col. Edmonson For Free Housing, Other Benefits
Dec 13 2017
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today sent a letter asking Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson to collect unpaid state income taxes from former State Police Supt. Mike Edmonson for the fringe benefits he received while serving as a cabinet secretary.
Text of the letter:
December 13, 2017
The Honorable Kimberly Robinson
Louisiana Department of Revenue
617 North Third St.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802
By email, fax, and U.S. mail
Dear Secretary Robinson:
I am requesting that you collect unpaid state income taxes from former State Police Supt. Mike Edmonson. It is clear from the draft of the state Legislative Auditor's Office report obtained by news media that Col. Edmonson received taxpayer-funded perks that constituted taxable income. The perks included free housing, utilities, cable television, electricity, dry cleaning, and meals. These are fringe benefits, and Col. Edmonson should have calculated their fair market value and reported them as taxable income.
Col. Edmonson is not above the law merely because he was a member of Gov. Edwards' cabinet. In fact, he took on an added responsibility as a public servant to conduct himself with honor and honesty. He also cannot be allowed to shirk his tax obligations when Louisiana families and businesses are struggling with a higher tax burden.
As you know, the Edwards administration convinced the Legislature to raise well over $1 billion in new taxes and fees last year, and Governor Edwards asked for another tax increase this year, all at a time when our oil and gas industry is in a depression and we have one of the highest unemployment rates in America. The least you can do is demand that his cabinet appointees pay their taxes.
United States Senator
Dec 12 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced the passage of his resolution asking that all members of Congress spend at least one day a year as a substitute teacher. The resolution builds upon Sen. Kennedy’s long practice of serving as a teacher several times a year by urging other lawmakers to gain firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing educators and students in the classroom.
“I started substitute teaching 15 years ago when I realized there was a huge disconnect between lawmakers and teachers of secondary and elementary schools. Teaching is the most difficult job in the world, and very few members of Congress have stood in front of a class of students and taught,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Teachers not only have to teach, but they’re expected to be psychologists and sociologists and mentors and mommies and daddies. You have to get in there and experience it to really know what’s going on in the classroom these days. I’m proud to see my resolution pass the U.S. Senate. I hope many of my colleagues take the initiative to experience the challenges and rewards of the classroom.”
Click here to read the full text of Sen. Kennedy’s resolution.