Sen. Kennedy (R-La.) Praises House Republicans For Prioritizing Louisiana Families, Spending Reforms
Mar 05 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today after the Louisiana Legislature’s special session collapsed in an early sine die:
“I commend House Republicans for saving Louisiana families from Gov. Edwards’ tax increases. This special session was a missed opportunity for meaningful budget reforms, and the fault lies with Gov. Edwards and Democrats for refusing to fully embrace those basic budget reforms,” said Sen. Kennedy. “House Republicans worked diligently and sincerely toward a compromise but in the end had to stand on principles of fiscal responsibility. I commend them for doing so.”
Sen. Kennedy (R-La.): The Last Thing Louisiana Families Need is More Income Tax Hikes From Gov. Edwards’ Special Session
Mar 02 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued the following statement today on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ special session:
“The state of Louisiana just paid $400,000 to out-of-state artists to turn stainless steel washers into a sculpture at the University Medical Center in New Orleans. With spending priorities like that, it’s no wonder Gov. Edwards and Democrats are trying to swipe the pay raises and bonuses that Congress’ federal tax reform put into Louisiana families’ pockets,” said Sen. Kennedy. “In this special session, they are gutting sensible spending reform proposals beyond recognition, are pushing to increase income taxes yet again and are attempting to unravel the income tax cuts accomplished by Congress. That’s not ‘compromise’ or ‘bipartisanship.’ That’s absurdity. When you’re spending $400,000 on a sculpture by out-of-state artists while standing at the edge of a so-called fiscal cliff, your budget crisis is just smoke and mirrors. Louisiana doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. I hope conservatives in the Legislature will stand up and protect the pocketbooks of hard-working Louisiana families.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Calls On Gov. Edwards To Fly Louisiana Flags At Half-Mast Friday In Honor Of Billy Graham
Mar 01 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) urged Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to fly the flags at state buildings in Louisiana at half-mast Friday to honor the late Rev. Billy Graham. Below is the text of the letter sent to Gov. Edwards:
March 1, 2018
The Honorable John Bel Edwards
State of Louisiana
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804
Dear Governor Edwards:
The flags at federal government buildings will fly at half-mast Friday in honor of the late Rev. Billy Graham. I respectfully request that the flags at state buildings in Louisiana also fly at half-mast Friday as the Rev. Graham is laid to rest in a coffin built by Louisiana inmates.
I make this request not because the Rev. Graham was a man of faith, although he was a man of tremendous faith. Rather, I make this request because the Rev. Graham was America’s conscience for generations of Americans and citizens of the world. He broadened religious freedom across the globe, encouraged the integration of Little Rock Central High School and upheld America as a bastion of peace and democracy. He was this nation’s greatest, unpaid ambassador.
So great was the Rev. Graham’s influence that he lied in honor this week in the U.S. Capitol. He was one of only four private citizens given that great honor. The last was civil rights leader Rosa Parks.
A fitting tribute would be to lower the state’s flags Friday in honor of this great American.
Thank you, Governor, for your consideration of this request.
United States Senator
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Introduces Bicameral Legislation To Fight Drug That Is Increasing Heroin Deaths
Mar 01 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act. Doctors typically prescribe fentanyl – a synthetic opioid – in small quantities to terminally ill patients who are in tremendous pain. Unfortunately, drug traffickers are giving this highly lethal drug to drug abusers, resulting in overdoses and deaths. Representatives Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) introduced the House version of the bill earlier this Congress.
Drug traffickers and dealers are mixing fentanyl with heroin to increase its potency, creating an often lethal combination that is causing a skyrocketing of preventable deaths, with more Americans dying in 2016 of a drug overdose than in any previous year.
The Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to reduce the amount of fentanyl needed to invoke the most serious trafficking penalties for an individual trafficking or illegally manufacturing the drug. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and can be lethal even in amounts as small as a grain of sand.
“What drug traffickers are creating with fentanyl is devilishly deadly. They’re playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives by mixing heroin with a drug that is even more deadly than heroin itself,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Drug addicts don’t even realize the fentanyl is there because it looks just like heroin. We are at war in this country with opioid addiction. This bill puts us one step closer to winning that war and protecting our citizens.”
“Without action, these overdose figures are only going to get worse,” Rep. Rooney said. “Under the current law, the threshold amount to invoke penalties is not appropriate with the strength of the drug. Individuals who are trafficking and profiting off fentanyl need to be adequately prosecuted in the hopes of stopping the alarming rising rate of fatal overdoses. The time is now to update our laws to get this incredibly dangerous synthetic drug off of the streets.”
“We are losing too many of our friends, neighbors and relatives to this destructive drug epidemic. I am proud to join a bipartisan group of my colleagues in introducing this important legislation that will help get fentanyl off the street. We must respond to this crisis from all sides by improving coordination to reduce the number of drugs available, while also increasing and expanding access to treatment for those who are suffering,” said Rep. Ryan.
Feb 28 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate this afternoon to recognize the career of longtime New Orleans TV host Sally-Ann Roberts. Sally-Ann Roberts retired today after working for WWL-TV in New Orleans for the past 41 years and spending the last 26 years anchoring the morning show.
“For the past 26 years, Sally-Ann was as much a part of the morning routine in New Orleans as eggs and beignets. Sally-Ann is an icon, and I don’t use that word lightly. She’s had an extraordinary career as a broadcast journalist, and I know she’s excited about what comes next. She will truly be missed,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Audience members like me are just grateful that she devoted such a lengthy chapter of her life to Louisiana and the great city of New Orleans.”
Click the image below or click the link here to watch Sen. Kennedy’s full remarks.
Feb 28 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) helped introduce Senate Joint Resolution 53 today honoring the Rev. Billy Graham after his passing at age 99. The resolution passed this afternoon. Earlier in the day, Sen. Kennedy paid his final respects to the Rev. Graham at the U.S. Capitol.
During his lifetime, the Rev. Graham preached to nearly 215 million people across 185 countries and territories and across six continents. He provided spiritual counsel to presidents, prayed for our military and fought for racial integration. His most powerful contribution, however, was boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ to anybody who would listen.
“The Lord truly blessed us by allowing the Rev. Graham to share his message for nearly a century. As a young man, I was privileged to hear that message at one of the Rev. Graham’s great crusades in Baton Rouge,” said Sen. Kennedy. “His message was simple: The only path to eternal salvation is through Jesus Christ. The Rev. Graham lived out the Gospel message through his actions, his books, television broadcasts and speeches. In troubled times of war and political unrest, he soothed us with reminders about God’s forgiveness and peace. I have every confidence that our Father will greet Rev. Graham with those cherished words from Matthew that we all long to hear: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.”
The Senate Joint Resolution honors a remarkable life and extends sympathies to the Rev. Graham’s family.
Sen. Kennedy with the Rev. Billy Graham’s son, the Rev. Franklin Graham
Senator John Kennedy joined Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE), Senator Cory Gardener (R-CO), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator David Perdue (R-GA), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), Senator John Thune (R-SD), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Honoring the life of William ‘‘Billy’’ F. Graham, Jr.
Whereas William ‘‘Billy’’ F. Graham, Jr., was born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina;
Whereas, in 1939, Reverend Graham was ordained by Peniel Baptist Church in Florida;
Whereas Reverend Graham studied at Florida Bible Institute and graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1943;
Whereas Reverend Graham married his wife of nearly 64 years, Ruth McCue Bell, in 1943;
Whereas Reverend Graham had 3 daughters, 2 sons, 19 grandchildren, and numerous great grandchildren;
Whereas, in 1950, Reverend Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina;
Whereas Reverend Graham preached to nearly 215,000,000 individuals in more than 185 countries and territories on 6 continents;
Whereas Reverend Graham provided spiritual counsel for every President since Harry Truman;
Whereas Reverend Graham prayed with members of the Armed Forces in combat zones in South Korea and Vietnam;
Whereas Reverend Graham spoke against the communist Soviet Union, saying, ‘‘Communism has decided against God, against Christ, against the Bible, and against all religion.’’;
Whereas Reverend Graham—
(1) fought for racial integration;
(2) invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach
with him in New York City in 1957; and
(3) bailed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., out of jail
when Dr. King was arrested for protesting segregation;
Whereas, following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Reverend Graham spoke words of hope and comfort to the people of the United States at the Washington National Cathedral;
Whereas Reverend Graham authored 34 books, including the bestselling autobiography, ‘‘Just as I Am’’, which began by discussing his early days on a dairy farm in North Carolina and continued through his career as a preacher and evangelist; and
Whereas Reverend Graham received numerous honors, including—
(1) the North Carolina Award for Public Service;
(2) the Presidential Medal of Freedom;
(3) the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award; and
(4) the Congressional Gold Medal: Now, therefore,
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
(1) extends its sympathies to the family of William ‘‘Billy’’ F. Graham, Jr.; and
(A) the life and ministry of Reverend Graham; and
(B) the contributions of Reverend Graham
(i) the State of North Carolina;
(ii) the United States of America; and
(iii) the moral and religious lives of millions of individuals.
Feb 26 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) returned Sunday from a congressional delegation trip to Colombia and Puerto Rico with members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Sen. Kennedy – along with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) – met with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos about eradicating the coca crop that is vital to the development of cocaine. They also traveled to Puerto Rico, where they got a first-hand look at the recovery from Hurricane Maria.
“We have to use every outlet available to fight back and win the war on drugs. This was an incredibly enlightening and productive mission,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We must continue to work together with our allies and stop the plague of drug addiction and dependence. Additionally, with President Santos, we discussed not only the important issue of Colombia’s pending admission to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but also we spoke at length about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. With millions of refugees fleeing the failed socialist experiment, it is imperative that, as a nation, we continue to support countries seeking freedom from oppressive socialist regimes.”
The trip began in Colombia, where the congressional delegation met with Santos, various cabinet ministers and U.S. officials to discuss regional security, defense, trade and bilateral cooperation. They visited the University of Antioquia Alzheimer's NIH Research Center in Medellin. The group also conducted oversight of SOUTHCOM operations, a counter-narcotics, and U.S. partnership.
Sen. Kennedy received updates on counternarcotics operations by Lieutenant General Carlos Mario Jimenez, the Colombian Army G-3, Brigadier General Jorge Luis Vargas Valencia, the commander of Police component of Task Force Agamemnon II, and Brigadier General Jorge Enrique Mora Rangel, the commander of Colombian Army component of Task Force Agamemnon II. Additional briefings about ongoing counternarcotics operations were conducted by the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker, who was joined by representatives of the Economic, Political, Public Affairs, and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Sections, as well as USAID, DEA, and the Defense Attaché Office.
Sen. Kennedy and members of the delegation meeting with officials in Colombia discussing ongoing efforts to eradicate the coca crops.
Sen. Kennedy and his wife, Becky, pictured above with Colombia President Santos.
Additionally, the group traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to review Hurricane Maria recovery efforts, meet with local government officials and visit a community hospital. Sen. Kennedy was briefed by officials from FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services and Puerto Rican officials.
“While much progress has been made, there is still an incredible amount of work that needs to be done in Puerto Rico. What I saw there reminded me too much of what New Orleans looked like in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina,” said Sen. Kennedy. “We cannot forget that there are millions of American citizens who are still hurting just miles away from Florida.”
Sen. Kennedy meeting with volunteers and officials in Puerto Rico.
Photograph taken of lingering damage to homes and structures in Puerto Rico.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R. La) announced today that the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Gulf Coast Restoration is granting $772,400 in Deepwater Horizon oil spill funds toward the creation of a new wetland habitat in Plaquemines Parish. The project includes the creation of 400 acres of marsh and the nourishment and restoration of 100 acres of existing wetlands.
Louisiana is home to 40% of the wetlands in the continental United States. The wetlands are an important storm buffer as well as a habitat for fisheries. Studies show that an estimated 25 to 35 square miles of wetlands are lost each year in Louisiana. That’s at least 16,000 acres – or more than a dozen football fields - a year.
“This funding will help us in the battle against coastal erosion,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Louisiana has 40% of the nation’s wetlands. We have to restore and preserve them in order to protect our seafood industry and to avoid getting hammered by hurricanes.”
“The Bayou Eau Noire project is a critical project to Plaquemines Parish. lt is an important part of the multiple lines of defense coastal strategy to compliment the current levee system employed by the parish,” said Plaquemines Parish President Amos Cormier. “On behalf of the citizens of Plaquemines Parish, I want to thank Sen. Kennedy for his assistance in helping guide us through the Restore Act application process.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) sent the following letter to Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) yesterday regarding Sen. Kennedy’s concerns about Louisiana’s Justice Reinvestment Act.
February 19, 2018
The Honorable Chuck Grassley
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C., 20510
Dear Chairman Grassley:
I write to provide you more detail about my concern, and the concern of many law-abiding Louisiana citizens, with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act. The Act is inappropriately named, in my opinion. It should be called the Louisiana Prisoner Release and Public Safety Be Damned Act. It has been an unqualified disaster.
Governor Edwards and I have a fundamental disagreement over Louisiana’s public safety needs. He believes Louisiana has too many people in prison. I believe we have too many people committing crimes. He believes that many of our inmates are simply misunderstood. I believe that people must be responsible for their actions, including their crimes. He sees our prison system primarily through the eyes of our prisoners. I see it primarily through the eyes of those prisoners’ victims.
Governor Edwards’ prisoner release program charges the Louisiana Department of Corrections and Public Safety (Corrections Department) with the responsibility of deciding which inmates are released. Louisiana had approximately 35,000 state prisoners in October 2017. The Corrections Department is reviewing 16,000 prisoners for release. It has already released 2,000. At least 76 have been re-arrested. For example, Tyrone White, a 24-year-old inmate who had been arrested more than 60 times, was released and promptly robbed two roofers at gunpoint. The police tracked him down after residents saw him pulling on car door handles in Kenner. In north Louisiana, a Winn Parish man was out of prison for a week before he was re-arrested. His own mother turned him in. He had been in and out of jail 10 times since he was 18 years old. One sheriff basically called the prisoner release program a joke. No wonder the people of Louisiana are afraid.
I take no pleasure in telling you that a big part of the problem with Governor Edwards’ prison release program is that the leadership of his Corrections Department has a demonstrated record of incompetence, and worse. This has been widely reported by Louisiana media. While there are many capable, rank-and-file public servants working in the agency, numerous of Governor Edwards’ senior Corrections Department officials have been indicted or forced to retire, and others are being investigated by the FBI and other law enforcement agents.
Consider the following:
- Longtime Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola warden Burl Cain resigned in 2016 amid a cloud of controversy. Mr. Cain hired a company to build a recycling plant at Dixon Correctional Institute for the state and then signed a personal contract to broker similar deals for the company. Mr. Cain also is accused of going into business with the family and friends of prison inmates. The Corrections Department later decided that arrangement was fine – partly because it wasn’t sexual - but said it might forbid similar arrangements in the future. An audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office found that Mr. Cain’s family stayed for free and ate for free in homes owned by the state.
- Mr. Burl Cain’s son, former Avoyelles Correctional Center warden Nate Cain, was indicted in 2017 on 18 fraud charges for inappropriately charging $152,000 to a state credit card. He also faces an obstruction of justice charge. According to an arrest warrant, Nate Cain and his wife, Tonia, also a prison Corrections Department employee, ordered prison employees to buy things for their personal use with state credit cards. Investigators later seized a camera, Bose headphones, TVs, clothing and an airsoft gun wrapped as a Christmas gift from their home. The state also spent nearly $80,000 building an almost 4,000-square-foot home for the Cains before construction halted amid questions about why state bid laws had been circumvented.
- Mr. Burl Cain’s daughter-in-law, former Avoyelles Correctional Center business manager Tonia Bandy Cain, was indicted in January 2017 for malfeasance in office, theft of $25,000 or more and injuring pubic records. Mrs. Cain is accused of trying to cover up more than $30,000 in missing concession sale funds by ordering the shredding of documents. She was indicted on further charges in August 2017 for inappropriately charging $152,000 to a state credit card.
- Mr. Burl Cain’s one-time subordinate, former Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola supervisor Sidney Davis, was arrested last year for using prison employees’ club funds to buy alcohol, La-Z-Boy recliners, a sound machine and other questionable items, including nasal spray. He told investigators that the purchases were an accident.
- Another one-time subordinate of Mr. Burl Cain, Shirley Whittington, pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud for stealing $115,000 from a fund that was supposed to be used to create recreational opportunities for prison employees and their families who live on prison grounds. She used the money to shop online. The theft went on for years.
- A Louisiana newspaper described Governor Edwards’ Corrections Departments’ staff chart as a genealogical exercise because so many relatives of Mr. Burl Cain and Governor Edwards’ Corrections Department Secretary James “Jimmy” LeBlanc have been on the department’s payroll.
- Mr. Gary Shotwell was deputy warden when Secretary LeBlanc was warden at Dixon Correctional Institute. Mr. Shotwell and the husband of LeBlanc’s niece later got slices of $6.3 million in work on a building renovation the Corrections Department Secretary should have put out for bid but didn’t after Mr. LeBlanc became Governor Edwards’ Correction Department secretary. The niece’s husband got the design portion of the project. Mr. Shotwell got the construction portion.
- Under Mr. LeBlanc’s leadership as secretary, inmates convicted of violent crimes and sex offenses were allowed to repeatedly leave prison to play music at nursing homes and interact with children at a park. The trips stopped once the media reported on them.
- A Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office report found that the Corrections Department often loses track of inmates within the prison system. The Legislative Auditor found that 11% of the inmates reviewed by the auditor could not be found at the prison listed in their files. For example, the agency thought an inmate in prison on an attempted murder conviction was at an Evangeline Parish jail for months when he was actually at another facility some distance away.
- The same Legislative Auditor’s report found that Governor Edwards’ Corrections Department consistently struggles to calculate accurate release dates for the inmates.
- Governor Edwards’ Corrections Department spent $3.6 million on an updated inmate tracking system. The department used the new system for six weeks and then abandoned it.
- Col. Mike Edmonson oversaw the State Police arm of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Col. Edmonson allegedly abused his position to avoid paying numerous expenses. He got free housing and food and got state employees or inmates to walk his dog, maintain his son’s car and drive his wife around the state, including to concerts. Hotel rooms were provided to State Troopers during Mardi Gras season in New Orleans while they helped with law enforcement. Col. Edmonson allowed friends to stay in some of those rooms instead. At the same time, he tried to sneak through an unconstitutional, $300,000 retirement boost for himself and a colleague.
- Under Col. Edmonson’s leadership, State Troopers took a road trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon at Louisiana taxpayer expense. They charged the taxpayers overtime for their sightseeing. Col. Edmonson later called the side trip irresponsible. However, phone records – that he tried to erase - showed that he traded friendly text messages with the troopers during their excursion.
- Three Louisiana State Troopers have been accused of claiming a massive amount of overtime they did not work, as a result of an undercover investigation by a New Orleans television station. The television series, titled “State of Unrest,” included footage of troopers allegedly abusing a traffic law enforcement program by writing a full shift’s worth of tickets in a relatively short period of time. One trooper was paid $240,000 in 2016, $147,000 of which was overtime.
These are just a few of the reasons why the safety of the people of Louisiana is at risk because of Governor Edwards’ prisoner release program.
Thank you, Chairman Grassley, for your leadership.
cc: The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
The Honorable Lindsey Graham
The Honorable John Cornyn
The Honorable Michael S. Lee
The Honorable Ted Cruz
The Honorable Ben Sasse
The Honorable Jeff Flake
The Honorable Mike Crapo
The Honorable Thom Tillis
The Honorable Patrick Leahy
The Honorable Dick Durbin
The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse
The Honorable Amy Klobuchar
The Honorable Christopher A. Coons
The Honorable Richard Blumenthal
The Honorable Mazie Hirono
The Honorable Cory Booker
The Honorable Kamala Harris
Sens. Kennedy And Carper Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Create Job Certainty for Louisiana Chemical Plants And Their Workers
Feb 16 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) this week introduced a bill, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, to provide much-needed certainty for businesses in Louisiana and other states on the worldwide transition towards next generation coolants. The legislation represents a bipartisan effort that brings together the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to preserve jobs in Geismar, St. Gabriel and the rest of the nation. Action is needed to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive as businesses embrace new innovations.
Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joined Sens. Kennedy and Carper as original cosponsors.
At issue are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners. The hydrofluorocarbon industry employs 593,000 workers in the U.S. and generates annual sales of $206 billion. Because of changing global policy, countries are moving away from using hydrofluorocarbons. The legislation will ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to ensure a smooth phasedown of the manufacturing of hydrofluorocarbons in the U.S. in order to support the next generation technologies.
There are two plants, Honeywell in Geismar and Mexichem Fluor Inc. in St. Gabriel, in Louisiana that are impacted by the evolving technology. This legislation will preserve Louisiana jobs at Louisiana plants.
"On the surface, this bill seems more complicated than high school chemistry, but really it’s pretty simple. It’s about jobs. And it’s about protecting the investment by Louisiana companies in new technologies and protecting Louisiana jobs,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill gives a $206 billion U.S. industry the clarity it needs to invest, transition and protect American jobs. It’s not often that Democrats, Republicans, industry and environmental groups come together to agree on anything, but we are all in agreement on this one.”
“Our bipartisan AIM Act continues support for American development and manufacturing of next-generation HFC-alternatives, while also protecting our environment and helping the U.S. meet its obligations under the amended Montreal Protocol – a true win-win,” said Senator Carper. “After more than a decade of work to support domestic manufacturing of HFC-alternative products, our efforts are clearly paying off with American companies leading the world in this growing industry. While we’ve been creating jobs right here at home, we’ve also been helping our country, and the world, phase down HFC products and limit their contribution to human-caused climate change. As other nations start making similar investments, now is not the time to pull on the reins and stymie the economic growth being created by American ingenuity. I am proud to work with Senator Kennedy and my other bipartisan colleagues to continue to build on our successes and work across the aisle to provide a cleaner planet for the generations to come.”
“American manufacturers are leading the way in using new technologies to develop environmentally-friendly substitutes for hydrofluorocarbons,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation helps workers in Louisiana and creates jobs here at home.”
“I am glad this bipartisan effort will take a real step towards addressing climate change,” said Senator Coons. “Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but will also benefit U.S. companies that have invested in developing environmentally friendly alternatives by providing market stability for their next generation products. This is proof that we don’t have to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the bill is signed into law.”
“America’s manufacturing industry is an integral part of our economy and has long been a source of pride as well as quality, good-paying jobs,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation will accelerate the phasedown of harmful pollutants with next-generation, environmentally safe coolant alternatives while boosting job growth, increasing innovation, and attracting future investments.”
“HFCs are a serious threat to our environment that the world must come together to take on,” said Merkley. “With this bipartisan proposal, we can bring a commonsense approach to phasing out HFCs and boost our efforts to avoid climate chaos.”
“The Louisiana Chemical Association commends Sen. Kennedy for his leadership and we look forward to working with him on this important legislation,” said Greg Bowser, President of the Louisiana Chemical Association. “Investments in manufacturing of the next-generation solutions have resulted in hundreds of long-term, sustainable jobs in Louisiana, as well as thousands of manufacturing jobs during the construction of these large-scale manufacturing plants. I encourage leadership to take action on the phasedown of HFCs by passing the AIM Act, and support continued innovation in this growth sector.”
“We commend Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Cassidy for their leadership in introducing the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act,” said Rajeev Gautam, President and CEO, Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. “Honeywell strongly supports HFC phasedown as an essential initiative for American competitiveness. Decisive action at the federal level is critical to supporting economic growth and job creation at home and the success of exporting U.S. innovation abroad.”
Statement released by Mexichem Fluor, Inc.- “Mexichem Fluor, Inc. supports the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM), which provides for EPA to adopt a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown in accordance with the schedule in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. This bill will help achieve the important and sustainable objectives of this international environmental agreement.”
“Because other nations are already forging ahead on the HFC phase-down, it is important for the United States to maintain its leadership in the development of climate-friendlier alternatives and for American industry to seize the global economic opportunity in the market for alternative chemicals and products. Your bill is a critical step in that direction,” said David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).