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“Louisianians are some of the toughest people in the country, and this $3.5 million will support vital infrastructure improvements to help Ruston’s businesses work through severe storms. This investment and last year’s transportation award shows that our federal partners are committed to the city’s tech-based economic development.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $3,500,000 grant from the Department of Commerce to support disaster resilient infrastructure improvements needed to promote technology-based economic development in Ruston, La.

“Louisianians are some of the toughest people in the country, and this $3.5 million will support vital infrastructure improvements to help Ruston’s businesses work through severe storms. This investment and last year’s transportation award shows that our federal partners are committed to the city’s tech-based economic development. I’m grateful for the EDA’s leadership in supporting new opportunities that will benefit the people of Ruston for many years to come,” said Kennedy.

Authorized by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this funding is projected to create 350 jobs and produce $25 million in private investment.

“I, therefore, respectfully ask you to treat people of faith by the same standards you have treated protests and 'essential businesses' and that you rescind the capacity cap on churches and other places of worship.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today wrote to Gov. John Bel Edwards, asking that he rescind the capacity cap currently on places of worship and extend the same phase two capacity rules guiding protesters and “essential businesses.”

“According to your guidance, 'essential businesses' do not have uniform capacity limits and instead are trusted to determine individual safety requirements in coordination with the state. Places of worship, therefore, should also be exempt from mandatory capacity limits and their pastors and leaders entrusted to choose the best course of action for their congregations. . . . I disagree with this uneven application of Phase 2 guidelines, as I find no reason to assume the best of protestors and patrons of 'essential businesses' but the worst of worshipers,” wrote Kennedy.

On June 4, 2020, Gov. Edwards signed an executive order to move Louisiana into phase two of the state’s reopening plan.

“I, therefore, respectfully ask you to treat people of faith by the same standards you have treated protests and 'essential businesses' and that you rescind the capacity cap on churches and other places of worship,” Kennedy concluded.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

“I’m grateful that Secretary Pompeo made the commonsense move to require Confucius Institutes to register as foreign agents to Communist China, but we must do more. The House must immediately send the CONFUCIUS Act to the president’s desk so that we can guard our schools from communist propaganda.”

MADISONVILLE, La. –  Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to designate Confucius Institutes as foreign missions of the Chinese Communist Party:

“The Chinese Communist Party uses Confucius Institutes to spread its propaganda and suppress free speech on campuses across the nation. I’m grateful that Secretary Pompeo made the commonsense move to require Confucius Institutes to register as foreign agents to Communist China, but we must do more. The House must immediately send the CONFUCIUS Act to the president’s desk so that we can guard our schools from communist propaganda.”

“Family life is the foundation of child development, and I’m glad to see HHS support a vital program to help our most vulnerable kids thrive.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $10,317,930 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program through the Louisiana Department of Health.

“Family life is the foundation of child development, and I’m glad to see HHS support a vital program to help our most vulnerable kids thrive,” said Kennedy.

The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program works to improve maternal and child health, prevent child abuse, encourage positive parenting and promote school readiness.

I have concerns that we are approaching an inflection point that compromises this nation's longstanding policy of not mixing commerce and banking. In particular, I am deeply concerned about companies the size of Rakuten, Google, or Facebook offering banking services without proper supervision. The ILC loophole was never meant to address these types of firms.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today wrote to the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Jelena McWilliams, urging her not to allow industrial loan companies (ILCs) to take advantage of a loophole in the Bank Holding Company Act during the coronavirus pandemic. The loophole allows ILCs to circumvent supervision by the Federal Reserve and to pursue commercial activities that bank holding companies are not allowed to pursue.

I have concerns that we are approaching an inflection point that compromises this nation's longstanding policy of not mixing commerce and banking. In particular, I am deeply concerned about companies the size of Rakuten, Google, or Facebook offering banking services without proper supervision. The ILC loophole was never meant to address these types of firms,” said Kennedy.

Specifically, Kennedy asked the FDIC not to approve any ILC-related applications, including applications from Square and Nelnet, until Congress and the FDIC can find a solution to the loophole.

“We need to tread lightly and ensure that complicated policy trade-offs are considered, while still encouraging innovation that reduces barriers to banking for customers and challenges market participants to improve their business models. Although Congress may be in the best position to address these complicated policy trade-offs, we would like to do so alongside the FDIC,” Kennedy added.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

“Louisiana’s airports and natural gas pipelines help keep our state’s economy moving, and these grants will fund vital projects to promote safe transportation and infrastructure.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $34,741,958 in federal grants from the Department of Transportation to support airport improvements and pipeline projects around Louisiana.

“Louisiana’s airports and natural gas pipelines help keep our state’s economy moving, and these grants will fund vital projects to promote safe transportation and infrastructure,” said Kennedy.

Louisiana airport projects include:

  • $10,526,064 to extend taxiways at Lafayette Regional Airport.

  • $15,000,000 to improve runway safety at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.

  • $7,000,000 to extend taxiways at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Pipeline projects include:

  • $2,175,518 to support state pipeline safety programs through the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

  • $40,376 to support the inspection and enforcement of underground natural gas storage regulations through the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

“The SIPC Board of Directors should not include a current employee of an entity that is fighting tooth and nail against returning assets to victims of investment fraud. On behalf of the many Louisianians that SocGen is choosing not to help, I oppose Mr. Finkel’s nomination and respectfully urge the President to consider a new nominee.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, wrote today to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging the administration to withdraw its nomination of Michael Finkel to be a Director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Finkel currently works at Société Générale (SocGen) as Director and Senior Counsel. SocGen controls $210 million that belongs to victims of Robert Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scheme.

“Nominating a SIPC Director from SocGen sends the wrong signal to investors across America. The SIPC Board of Directors should not include a current employee of an entity that is fighting tooth and nail against returning assets to victims of investment fraud. On behalf of the many Louisianians that SocGen is choosing not to help, I oppose Mr. Finkel’s nomination and respectfully urge the President to consider a new nominee,” wrote Kennedy.

More than 1,000 Louisianians from Baton Rouge, Covington and Lafayette lost significant amounts of their life savings from Stanford’s fraud, but SocGen refuses to return these funds to victims of the second largest securities fraud in U.S. history.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

The trend of desecrating Catholic spaces and property must stop. I trust you are actively working to identify and prosecute those who have committed these destructive acts.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr, asking that he act to end a series of assaults on Catholic churches and icons. Since May, America has seen at least 19 attacks on Catholic churches, statues, businesses, cemeteries, parishioners and personnel.

The trend of desecrating Catholic spaces and property must stop. I trust you are actively working to identify and prosecute those who have committed these destructive acts.  I ask that you also focus your efforts on preventing such violence to both Catholic people and property,” wrote Kennedy to Barr.

The spate of anti-Catholic crimes spans fro­m coast to coast. On July 11, a man set fire to a church in Florida with parishioners inside. On the same day outside a Catholic church in Boston, fire destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary displayed in memory of World War II veterans. St. Mary’s Basilica in Minneapolis, the first basilica in the U.S., was also damaged by fire.

The violence has at times singled out minority groups. A Catholic church founded in 1923 by Middle Eastern immigrants to America was recently spray-painted with anti-police messages. 

“The Founding Fathers considered freedom of religion so integral to the fabric of the nation that they codified it in the First Amendment to the Constitution. We cannot let a handful of people destroy this fundamental right,” said Kennedy.   

Kennedy’s letter is available here­.

“The SEC, CFTC, Treasury, Federal Reserve and entire Senate are on the same page. Now, it’s time for the House to enshrine this policy in law. Short of that, we cannot ensure that firms beholden to Communist China will let U.S. regulators examine their books, which means we can’t protect American retirement and college savings from being exploited.”

 WASHINGTON – President Trump’s Working Group on Financial Markets, tasked with examining risks to investors posed by the Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges, today issued recommendations inspired by the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement in response to the working group’s decision:

“We’re thankful the president’s working group is committed to holding fraudulent Chinese companies accountable. The SEC, CFTC, Treasury, Federal Reserve and entire Senate are on the same page. Now, it’s time for the House to enshrine this policy in law. Short of that, we cannot ensure that firms beholden to Communist China will let U.S. regulators examine their books, which means we can’t protect American retirement and college savings from being exploited,” said Kennedy.

Background:

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act passed the Senate unanimously this May.

Kennedy introduced the legislation to protect American investors and their retirement savings from foreign companies that have been operating on U.S. stock exchanges while flouting SEC oversight.

On June 4, the Trump Administration issued a presidential memorandum on protecting American investors from the risks posed by Chinese companies that list on U.S. exchanges. 

“We must take firm, orderly action to end the Chinese practice of flouting American transparency requirements without negatively affecting American investors and financial markets. We must ensure that laws providing protections for investors in American financial markets are fully enforced for companies listed on United States stock exchanges,” said the memorandum.

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act prohibits securities of a company from being listed on any of the U.S. securities exchanges if the company has failed to comply with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) audits for three years in a row.

The bill would also require public companies to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government, including China’s communist government. 

Many Americans invest in U.S. stock exchanges as part of their retirement savings, and dishonest companies operating on the exchanges put Americans at risk. This legislation protects the interest of American investors by ensuring that foreign companies traded in America are subject to the same independent audit requirements that apply to American companies.

Congress established the PCAOB to inspect audits of public companies, ensuring the information companies provide to the public is accurate, independent and trustworthy.

Currently, China’s communist government refuses to allow the PCAOB to inspect audits of companies registered in China and Hong Kong. Such companies represent a keen risk to American investors as nearly 11 percent of all securities class action lawsuits in 2011 were brought against Chinese-owned companies accused of misrepresenting themselves in financial documents.

According to the SEC, 224 U.S.-listed companies are located in countries where there are obstacles to PCAOB inspections. These companies have a combined market capitalization of more than $1.8 trillion.

In the last 10 years, the number of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges has increased significantly, as those firms take advantage of the capital available in America.

 “Louisiana’s colleges and universities produce our state’s next generation of leaders. This funding will help schools provide quality post-secondary education so our students can reach their full potential.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,926,454 in funding from the Department of Education to support education projects around Louisiana.

“Louisiana’s colleges and universities produce our state’s next generation of leaders. This funding will help schools provide quality post-secondary education so our students can reach their full potential,” said Kennedy.

The Student Support Services (SSS) program works to increase the number of low-income college students, first-generation college students and college students with disabilities who complete a post-secondary study program.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $1,782,577 to support the SSS program through University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

  • $564,585 to support the SSS program through Southern University at New Orleans.

  • $481,134 to support the SSS program through Northwester State University.

  • $435,675 to support the SSS program through Southern University at Shreveport.

  • $401,131 to support the SSS program through Louisiana State University. 

  • $400,987 to support the SSS program through Southeastern Louisiana University.

  • $323,716 to support the SSS program through the University of New Orleans. 

  • $261,888 to support the SSS program through Delgado Community College. 

  • $261,888 to support the SSS program through Loyola University. 

  • $261,888 to support the SSS program through River Parishes Community College.

  • $261,888 to support the SSS program through Louisiana University Monroe.

  • $249,999 to support the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program through Dillard University. 

  • $170,930 to support the SSS program through Dillard University.

  • $68,168 to support doctoral dissertation research abroad through Tulane University’s Fulbright-Hays Program.