Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Meets with HUD Secretary and OMB Director to Discuss Solution to Duplication of Benefits
Apr 02 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), met with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., and Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought today to discuss a solution to the duplication of benefits issue facing thousands of Louisiana families affected by the 2016 floods.
Today, Sen. Kennedy insisted that Vought and Carson agree on a realistic deadline to address this issue directly. Vought and Carson agreed to have answer back to the senators by April 16.
“I told Secretary Carson and Mr. Vought that they need to come back to us in two weeks with an answer to this duplication of benefits problem,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Congress has done its job and now we’re stuck pressuring the bureaucracy of HUD and the OMB. We have waited long enough for a solution, and my patience is running thin. If they come back to us in two weeks with an answer we don’t like, I plan to appeal to their boss, the President of the United States.”
Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy met with Secretary Carson on March 14 to discuss fixing this issue. On March 1, the senators sent a letter to Secretary Carson urging him to immediately address the duplication of benefits issue. On Feb. 27, Kennedy and Cassidy placed holds on two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) nominees in order to put pressure on HUD and to reiterate the importance of the problem.
Mar 28 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed a package of bills today that will protect national security by ending China’s unfettered access to American college campuses.
The main bill, the Confucius Act, addresses concerns about Confucius Institutes, which receive direct funding from the Chinese government to promote Chinese studies on American college campuses. The bill reduces China’s influence on U.S. colleges and universities by granting full managerial authority of Confucius Institutes’ teaching plans, activities, research grants and employees to the universities. This is a necessary step after the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations warned earlier this year that the institutes pose a serious threat to academic freedom by pushing China’s history of censorship and control.
Confucius Institutes partner with more than 100 campuses across the U.S., including Xavier University in New Orleans. The FBI has acknowledged that it is warily watching Confucius Institutes, and several universities have severed ties with the institutes.
Sen. Kennedy also filed the Protecting American Technology Act of 2019 to safeguard the information and technology produced on college campuses by requiring a deemed export license to be in place before foreign nationals can conduct scientific research in university labs. This will prevent controlled technologies from leaking to America’s competitors.
“The FBI has warned us that China is exploiting our open research and development environment. In other words, China cheats. Confucius Institutes supposedly promote Chinese studies on U.S. college campuses. They’re funded by the Chinese government, and they’re controversial for a good reason,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Confucius Institutes are designed to promote China’s Communist agenda. They threaten our national security and our academic freedom.”
Also in the package is the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which will address one of the SEC’s most significant issues in overseeing the financial reporting of U.S.-listed, China-based companies. The bill will require companies to provide proof they are not implicitly state-owned and prohibit them from being on the exchange if they refuse inspection of their records for three consecutive years.
Mar 27 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on the decision by prosecutors in Chicago, Ill., to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett. Smollett is accused of wasting law enforcement time and money by orchestrating a fake hate crime against himself. A grand jury charged him with 16 counts of disorderly conduct. He faced more than 64 years in prison.
“The dismissal of all charges against Jussie Smollett is just another example of Hollywood privilege. There shouldn’t be one set of rules for ordinary people and another set of rules for Hollywood actors with political connections. What Mr. Smollett is accused of doing is disgusting. If you or I did what he did, we would be put under the jail. Ordinary Americans who get up every day, go to work, obey the law, pay their taxes and try to teach their kids morals get cracker crumbs. Privileged actors who hire someone to fake a hate crime, file a false police report and get indicted on 16 charges get cake. That’s embarrassing,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Since Chicago prosecutors refuse to do their job, the U.S. attorney should review the case for violations of federal crimes. I don’t buy that Mr. Smollett should be excused for his crime because it was nonviolent. That’s not criminal justice reform. Justice exists when people receive their just desserts. Committing a crime should have consequences. This was not justice.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that his bill to help disaster victims rebuild and recover cleared the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The legislation now moves to the Senate floor.
The bill, S.862, the Rebuilding Small Businesses After Disasters Act, will allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to permanently increase the ceiling on loans for disaster victims from $14,000 to $25,000. The new limit would apply to physical damage loans under a SBA disaster declaration.
Last year, President Trump signed into law legislation by Sen. Kennedy that temporarily raised the loan limit. S.862 would make that increase permanent.
Sen. Kennedy is the lead sponsor of the bill. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are cosponsors.
“When disaster strikes, Louisianans want to get back into their homes and businesses as soon as possible. They want to replace the wet sheetrock and get the blue tarps off their roofs,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We don’t want to impede their road to recovery.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced a $10.5 million FEMA grant for the Mirabeau Water Garden in New Orleans to help mitigate flooding in New Orleans.
The grant will fund storm water management projects and flood protection systems. The site will have the capacity to store storm water and reduce flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods.
“The folks in New Orleans are no strangers to flooding and the complications that creates,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This grant will fund a public works project that will reduce flooding and damage to people’s homes.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement on the conclusion of the Mueller Report.
“I have read AG Barr’s summary of the Mueller Report very carefully,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Here’s the bottom line: After 22 months and 2800 subpoenas, Mr. Mueller and his team of 19 lawyers and 40 FBI Agents found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and declined to prosecute anyone for obstruction of justice. It’s time to move on.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today a $6.1 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to combat the opioid crisis in Louisiana.
These grants are part of the second segment of the State Opioid Response Grants aimed at expanding access to treatments for opioid addictions.
“Thousands of Louisiana families are impacted by this devastating widespread crisis,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This grant will help provide new addiction treatment and prevention options and will enhance state treatment programs.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced the Freedom Financing Act this week to ban financial institutions from denying service to certain constitutionally protected industries that are fully compliant with all laws and statutes. This legislation ensures large financial institutions cannot discriminate against law-abiding companies that sell firearms, ammunition or other sporting goods by refusing to provide these companies their financial services. Financial institutions with less than $10 billion in assets will be exempt from complying with this legislation.
“It’s not a bank’s job to create policy. They need to leave the policymaking to Congress,” said Senator Kennedy. “Banks should not be able to discriminate against lawful customers on the basis of social policy. The banks should keep in mind that these lawful customers are the same hard-working taxpayers who bailed them out during the recession. This legislation will ban big banks from refusing to do business with customers that may not share the same political values as the bank. This kind of power move is an unfair assertion of dominance by the big banks, which is why it should be illegal.”
“A small number of banks controlling most of the financial sector could effectively illegalize legal commerce by refusing to finance certain industries or process certain transactions,” said Senator Cramer. “Look no further than pro-Second Amendment industries where such discrimination has already occurred. Big banks should not be the arbiters of constitutionality.”
Mar 15 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to reject a privately-managed spectrum sale that could deny faster 5G service to rural communities. The letter is copied below.
“Luxembourg shouldn’t reap huge profits at the expense of Louisianans. A multi-billion dollar, closed-door spectrum deal would mostly benefit foreign-owned satellite companies. The C-Band needs to be put up for public auction,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Our rural families stand to lose the most when only one or two giant corporations control all of the spectrum access. Competition is what makes America the great nation that it is today.”
The Honorable Ajit Pai
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Pai,
I am pleased to see the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) explore additional opportunities for spectrum to help accelerate the deployment of 5G to communities across the country, including in rural America. These efforts will help ensure that America wins the race to 5G. Mid-band spectrum, specifically the C-band, is well-suited for 5G services. I believe it is critical that the process for allocating C-band spectrum for 5G must be fair, open, and transparent. I remain concerned that the proposal made by a consortium of foreign-owned satellite providers known as the C-Band Alliance (CBA) meets none of these requirements.
The CBA has proposed an unprecedented private reorganization and spectrum sale with little FCC oversight and public input. The CBA has every incentive to propose a plan that serves its own interests. For instance, the CBA could limit the amount of spectrum it would make available in order to raise the price it could charge 5G providers. A privately-managed spectrum sale conducted behind closed doors will favor certain parties, exclude others, and most importantly, lead to the inefficient deployment of valuable 5G spectrum. However, a public auction put on by the FCC would allow for the most competitive allocation of licenses to best enable 5G deployment. It will also permit a fair, open, and transparent process.
While the CBA has tried to cloak its proposal as a conventional secondary sale of spectrum, it is actually a fundamental reorganization of the C-Band out of public view. The stakes are too high for the FCC to outsource this critical function to unaccountable, foreign-owned private parties. Because the airwaves are a public resource, the FCC must oversee the transition of the C-Band. Unlike this consortium of self-interested foreign-owned satellite companies, the FCC is best suited to make transparent and fair decisions that prioritize the public interest and maximize the public good.
A privately-managed spectrum sale would give the CBA the means to sell nationwide licenses to the largest wireless carriers, with little concern for competitive carriers and new entrants. This outcome would be particularly harmful for rural America as large wireless carriers may never deploy 5G service in these communities. The CBA’s members would also have the incentive to raise prices for their remaining satellite services. This would have a disproportionate impact on rural cable operators and their customers.
I urge you and the FCC to reject the CBA proposal and to instead exercise the responsibility given by Congress to determine the appropriate allocation of C-Band spectrum for 5G use. I believe it is necessary for the FCC to utilize an open and public auction process.
Thank you for considering these views and for your service to America.
United States Senator
Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) introduce bill to help victims of investment fraud
Mar 14 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), members of the Senate Banking Committee, introduced the Securities Fraud Enforcement and Investor Compensation Act that would give the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the ability to seek restitution for investors harmed by securities fraud.
The SEC has relied on history and precedent for guidance on how to seek restitution for investors harmed by Ponzi schemes and investment scams. This legislation gives the SEC clear statutory guidance and power to seek restitution for harmed investors.
Many Ponzi schemes and investment scams go on for years before they are uncovered. This legislation increases the window of time when the SEC can seek restitution on an investor’s behalf from five years to 10 years.
“Investors who are scammed by con artists like Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford lose their life savings. All too often, the victims of financial fraud aren’t wealthy people,” said Sen. Kennedy. “They’re middle class Americans who lose every penny they set aside for their retirements. Because of a narrow window of time for recouping stolen investment dollars, fraudsters are actually incentivized to keep the shell game going for decades. This bill addresses that problem.”
“As Bernie Madoff demonstrated, financial fraudsters can sometimes go on for years, even decades, before they finally get caught. They shouldn’t be able to rip off investors just because some arbitrary five-year window has expired,” said Sen. Warner. “This bill will give the Securities and Exchange Commission more time and additional tools to seek restitution for everyday Americans who fall victim to investment scams.”