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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee in unveiling a draft package of bills that would accelerate America’s economic growth. The draft’s working title is the JOBS Act 4.0.

“The American economy is the greatest in all of human history because of free markets, and the JOBS Act 4.0 will make it even stronger by promoting a healthy market for investors and companies alike. This package will help companies to trade more easily, improve their access to private capital and make meaningful reforms to the SEC,” said Kennedy.

“The JOBS Act helped to revitalize interest in the public markets and spur economic growth, but it is clear significant work remains to be done to give retail investors access to higher returns and ensure American markets remain the deepest and most liquid in the world. The discussion draft we’re releasing today incorporates ideas from entrepreneurs, retail investors, and others, and includes numerous provisions with strong bipartisan support. I look forward to continue working with both Republican and Democrat colleagues on a final product that accelerates economic growth and spurs new job creation across the U.S,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), ranking member of the Banking Committee.

The discussion draft of the JOBS Act 4.0 takes into account stakeholder feedback and represents the collective efforts of Senate Republicans to introduce 24 bills, four of which currently have bipartisan support. Kennedy authored six of those 24 bills.

The JOBS Act 4.0 would:

  • Encourage companies to be publicly-traded: includes eight initiatives to encourage companies to become publicly-traded, particularly during earlier growth stages, when investors have the chance to earn the highest returns.
  • Improve the market for private capital: includes six initiatives to reduce costs associated with seeking capital by appropriately tailoring regulations for small businesses.
  • Enhance retail investor access to investment opportunities: includes seven initiatives to prevent retail investors from being excluded from certain investment opportunities.
  • Improve regulatory oversight: includes seven initiatives to enhance investor protection and privacy and to update outdated statutory and regulatory provisions.

 Kennedy has introduced six bills in this package, including:

  • The Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act would examine problems that small businesses in rural areas face when they attempt to access capital. The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation to submit an annual report on the unique challenges small businesses in rural areas face when trying to secure capital.
  • The Main Street Growth Act would expand small companies’ access to capital markets through dedicated exchanges known as “venture exchanges” for trading stocks. The bill would give investors more access to the potential growth opportunities that small companies offer.
  • The Tracking Bad Actors Act of 2022 would protect the public from financial crime and abuse by creating a public database of people who have committed financial crimes or have civil liability for financial misdeeds. 
  • The Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act would protect information that could reveal the identity of American investors by prohibiting the SEC from requiring brokers to submit investors’ personally identifiable information to its Consolidated Audit Trail.
  • The Intelligent Tick Study Act would require the SEC to look at the economic impact that trading increments—called ticks—of over and under one penny has on the stock market. The bill would help small companies be traded more efficiently by allowing the SEC, through rulemaking, to determine appropriate tick sizes for small companies that are publicly traded.
  • The Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2021 would help small business owners access the services of small business merger and acquisition (M&A) brokers. The bill would allow small business M&A brokers to organize sales and purchases of ownership and control of private companies without registering as “broker-dealers” with the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. This would remove bureaucratic roadblocks, making their services more affordable and accessible to small business owners who need help buying or selling companies. 

The discussion draft of this legislation is available here.

A fact sheet on the JOBS Act 4.0 is available here.

A section-by-section summary of the package is available here.

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced his intent to vote against confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I found Judge Jackson to be smart, well-versed in the law, and . . . extraordinarily deft and artful in her ability to speak at length without saying anything of substance on critical questions—especially the limits of judicial power and the importance of judicial restraint,” said Kennedy.

"For that reason, I spent a lot of time reading Judge Jackson’s opinions. . . . I would encourage you to read Make the Road New York case, which was her case on immigration. Well written, but I think her true feelings about the limits of judicial power are expressed in that opinion. She was reversed by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” he explained.

“I don’t agree with the judge on where, based on her opinions, she draws the limits of judicial power, and I don’t think she places as great an importance as I do on judicial restraint in a Madisonian system of checks and balances and separation of powers, and, for that reason, I will be voting no.”

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – The Senate today passed the Save the Liberty Theatre Act, which Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced in the Senate and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) introduced in the House. The bill would allow the city of Eunice to restore its historic Liberty Theatre and is on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk.

“The Liberty Theatre is a historic part of Eunice’s culture. The Save the Liberty Theatre Act will cut through bureaucratic hurdles so that Eunice can restore this century-old part of their community. It was a pleasure to work with Congressman Johnson to preserve this jewel of Acadiana,” said Kennedy. 

“With a proper restoration, this special landmark will be enjoyed for generations to come. I commend Senator John Kennedy for so capably guiding this bill through the Senate and we look forward to President Biden’s signature,” said Johnson.

The National Park Service owns a section of the Liberty Theatre that provides a handicap accessible entrance, but this ownership interest in the property is hindering efforts to restore the theater. The Save the Liberty Theatre Act would grant Eunice full ownership of the theater property so that the city can begin restoration efforts.

Text of the Save the Liberty Theatre Act is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $30,046,213 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants in disaster aid for Louisiana.

“The people of south Louisiana have weathered hurricane after hurricane but shouldn’t have to bear that weight alone. This $30 million will help our state recover from the damage,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $11,606,724 to the Terrebonne Parish School Board for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $5,403,455 to New Orleans for an Amended Alternate Project related to Hurricane Katrina.
  • $5,058,155 to St. John the Baptist Parish for right-of-way debris removal and monitoring related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $2,505,462 to the Louisiana Department of Military for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,456,550 to the Office of Risk Management for permanent repairs related to Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,872,180 to the town of Grand Isle for emergency protective measures related to Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,143,687 to the town of Iowa for debris removal related to Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined more than 60 other senators in urging the Biden administration to end the bias against Israel expressed in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

In May, 2021 the UNHRC approved an open-ended investigation into Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, but made no mention of rockets that Hamas fired toward Israeli civilians. 

This Commission will not only focus on the actions Israel took in Gaza as it sought to defend its citizens, it will also have a carte blanche mandate—in perpetuity—to examine any period in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict about violations not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but also within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The mandate made no mention of the 4,300 lethal rockets fired by Hamas toward Israeli civilians in a matter of days and no mention of Israel’s right to defend itself,” the senators wrote.

“This one-sided approach is consistent with UNHRC’s continuing bias against Israel and the disproportionate use of resources in an ongoing campaign to disparage, discredit and denounce Israel,” explained the senators.

“By comparison, the investigation of North Korea’s violations of the human rights of its people had half the staff and lasted for only a year. Additionally, egregious human rights violations such as the treatment of the Uyghurs in China are not addressed by the UNHRC at all,” they continued.

“We urge you to act upon the Administration’s commitment to defend Israel from discriminatory treatment at the Human Rights Council and throughout the UN system,” concluded the senators. 

Read the full letter here

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), today introduced the Intelligent Tick Study Act to require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to look at the economic impact that trading in increments—called ticks—of over and under one penny has on the stock market. The bill would also allow the SEC, through rulemaking, to determine appropriate tick sizes for small companies that are publicly traded.

“The one-size-fits-all penny increment makes it more challenging for small companies to trade. I’m introducing the Intelligent Tick Study Act to help level the playing field so that small companies can be traded and raise capital more efficiently,” said Kennedy.

Text of the bill is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,495,473 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for a regional gauge network to monitor potential flooding and rainfall. This system would help warn Louisianians about coming floods so they can evacuate in time.

“Louisianians suffered through serious floods in 2016 and again last year. This $3.5 million will help fund a system to alert Louisianians of dangerous floods ahead of time so they and their loved ones can get to safety,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA grant will cover 100 percent of the project cost.

ARABI, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) met with St. Bernard Parish president Guy McInnis, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann and St. Bernard Parish Director of Homeland Security John Rahaim to receive updates on storm recovery efforts following devastating tornado destruction in the area.

“No one can describe the pain that having your home or livelihood destroyed causes, and southeast Louisianians have felt this pain time and time again from natural disasters over the last year and a half. Despite all of this, Arabi and nearby communities and their leaders are determined to rebuild alongside one another.

“Becky and I are praying for the Louisianians who are suffering in the aftermath of this week’s tornadoes,” said Kennedy.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and the other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today sent a letter asking Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to provide information related to the case of Wesley Hawkins.

“During your confirmation hearing, you were asked by multiple members about the extraordinarily lenient sentences that you have given to child pornography offenders. Your sentences for child pornography offenders were routinely less than the sentences recommended by the sentencing guidelines and less than the sentences recommended by the prosecutors—in fact, you gave reduced sentences far more often than did average federal judges,” wrote the senators.

“In one specific case that was addressed at the hearing, you sentenced a man named Wesley Hawkins, who distributed child pornography on the internet. The sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of about 8-10 years. As a result of a plea agreement, the prosecutors in the case recommended a 24-month sentence, and your own probation office recommended 18 months. You, however, sentenced Hawkins to a mere three months in [Bureau of Prisons] custody for his crimes. In 2019—when he would have been in prison if you had followed the sentencing guidelines—Hawkins apparently did something that caused you to send him back to BOP custody for six months in a halfway house, along with instituting new restrictions on his computer usage,” they continued.

“Your lenient sentencing in the Hawkins case was the subject of significant interest in the Committee’s review of your judicial record. Our review of your nomination requires that the Committee fully understand the circumstances that informed your actions in this case. . . . please immediately provide the Committee with a copy of the probation petition that you referenced in that April 2019 order, and an explanation of what Hawkins did in 2019 that earned him twice as much time in BOP custody as your original three-month sentence,” the senators concluded.

The letter is available here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) today urged Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell to waive monthly rent payments through Oct. 31, 2022 for survivors of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in southwest Louisiana.

“Southwest Louisiana was devastated by an unprecedented string of natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Hurricanes Laura, Delta, a severe winter storm, and the May 2021 flood event caused extensive damage to the region and created major disruptions to the recovery process. These disasters were in addition to pandemic-related challenges, lumber shortages, and nationwide supply chain issues that have hamstrung construction and rebuilding efforts. These compounding issues have caused extensive delays for Southwest Louisiana families trying to return to permanent housing,” the lawmakers wrote.

“Nearly 19 months after Hurricane Laura’s landfall and six months after Congress appropriated funding, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has finally announced its allocation to the State of Louisiana through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. Louisiana’s share of CDBG-DR funding will largely be used to address unmet housing needs. While these long-term recovery resources will greatly help Louisiana’s recovery mission, the funding is still making its way through the bureaucratic process and is not able to be spent at this time. . . . A waiver on rent through October 31, 2022, will allow CDBG-DR money to flow into the community and address essential housing needs before rent payments begin,” they continued.

“Given these unique circumstances, we believe FEMA should take action to provide additional relief for hurricane survivors in Southwest Louisiana,” concluded the lawmakers.

The letter is available here.