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Louisiana shrimpers and their families produce the best seafood in the world. . . . The USDA’s decision is a win-win for Louisiana shrimpers and Americans who need a little help to persevere through hard times.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today welcomed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to purchase $30 million of shrimp to help alleviate food insecurity in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The USDA made the purchase under the Agriculture Act of 1935, which provides for national food assistance during emergencies.

“Louisiana shrimpers and their families produce the best seafood in the world. Season after season, Louisiana shrimpers have faithfully put food on the table for millions of Americans, and I admire their hard work and dedication during this crisis. The USDA’s decision is a win-win for Louisiana shrimpers and Americans who need a little help to persevere through hard times,” said Kennedy.

“Louisiana’s marshes help protect residents from storms and remain home to some of America’s most awesome wildlife. This NOAA funding will help support vital coastal restoration projects to guard beautiful marshlands.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $25,116,998 in funding from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support coastal protection and restoration projects around Louisiana.

“Louisiana’s marshes help protect residents from storms and remain home to some of America’s most awesome wildlife. This NOAA funding will help support vital coastal restoration projects to guard our beautiful marshlands,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $22,245,176 to support the West Fourchon Marsh Creation and Nourishment Project, which will create and restore approximately 537 acres of marsh and mangrove habitat in Terrebonne Parish.

  • $2,871,822 to support the North Delacroix Marsh Creation and Terracing Project, which will restore approximately 389 acres of marsh in St. Bernard Parish near Delacroix.

“China’s government pressures U.S. businesses to read from its communist song sheet while planting its state-owned factories on American soil. Meanwhile, the CCP spies on our citizens and steals our innovation. It’s time to take specific, decisive steps to protect Americans and their businesses from the CCP’s attacks.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced three bills aimed at protecting Americans from the schemes of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which routinely spies on American citizens and bullies American businesses.

“Communist China’s ambition is to eclipse America’s economy and erase our freedoms, and it plays the long game. China’s government pressures U.S. businesses to read from its communist song sheet while planting its state-owned factories on American soil. Meanwhile, the CCP spies on our citizens and steals our innovation. It’s time to take specific, decisive steps to protect Americans and their businesses from the CCP’s attacks, and that’s what these bills do,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy’s package includes the Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act, WeChat No More Act and Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act.

Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act 

The Chinese Communist Party often pressures U.S. companies to speak and act against their own interests and against American liberties. The Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act prohibits companies that do business in the U.S. from making public statements that reflect the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party.

Whether a company is U.S.- or foreign-owned, the Combatting Chinese Propaganda Act would prohibit companies operating in America from taking actions that are either against their fiduciary interests or at the bidding of China’s government. 

The legislation would also make it illegal for companies to provide China’s government with the personal information of Chinese dissidents.

WeChat No More Act

WeChat has direct connections to the CCP, and the company spread pro-China misinformation with the goal of influencing the American public during the 2016 election. The platform censors topics like the #MeToo movement and Chinese public health scandals.

The WeChat No More Act would prohibit federal officials, federal employees and Members of Congress from downloading WeChat on government devices, with limited exceptions, including intelligence or cybersecurity activities.

This legislation is critical to America’s national security as WeChat is the most popular messaging application in China, with more than one billion users. As a result, people outside of China often depend on WeChat to communicate with those inside China’s borders.

Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act

While the Chinese government keeps its domestic markets largely insulated from foreign influence, it regularly invests in the U.S. and other countries under the “greenfield” model. Firms fully owned by China’s communist regime are increasingly buying land, building factories and taking advantage of state and local tax breaks on American soil.

The goal of such state-operated enterprises is to siphon assets, technological innovation and influence away from U.S. businesses in order to expand the global presence of the Chinese Communist Party. 

The Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act would put Chinese greenfield initiatives under the review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). CFIUS would review these investments for national security purposes. The bill would extend CFIUS jurisdiction to cover greenfield investments made by entities under the control of the Chinese government. The legislation would also make it mandatory for greenfield investments to file a declaration with CFIUS if China’s government has a substantial interest in the investment.

“Now is the time we should be doing more to ensure the survival of rural hospitals, not expediting their demise. We ask you to please reconsider this action and work with Congress to ensure the long-term vitality of our rural hospitals.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today asked Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to reconsider a regulatory action that will force rural providers to repay up to 80 percent of their forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans through reductions in future Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

“This action is unacceptable. Not only will this exacerbate financial burdens for rural hospitals already operating on razor thin margins, but it will likely prove to be a catalyst in expediting the rural hospital closure crisis at a moment when many of these rural areas are current COVID-19 hotspots in need of the most assistance,” wrote Kennedy.

“The PPP was designed to help struggling businesses survive the economic impact brought on by COVID-19 and served as a lifeline for the rural hospitals,” continued Kennedy. “Louisiana, for example, is home to 57 rural hospitals—nine of which are deemed vulnerable—and 44 percent are currently operating at a loss.”

The letter also notes that President Trump yesterday issued an executive order to provide assistance to rural health providers.

“Now is the time we should be doing more to ensure the survival of rural hospitals, not expediting their demise. We ask you to please reconsider this action and work with Congress to ensure the long-term vitality of our rural hospitals,” Kennedy concluded.

Kennedy’s letter is available here.

“During hurricane season, Louisiana must take appropriate steps to protect residents from flood damage. This grant will help safeguard property for communities in Jefferson Parish.”

 MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $11,141,987 FEMA grant to support the elevation of 63 flood-prone structures in Jefferson Parish.

“During hurricane season, Louisiana must take appropriate steps to protect residents from flood damage. This grant will help safeguard property for communities in Jefferson Parish,” said Kennedy.

This funding is authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act. In compliance with state and local building codes, structures will be elevated two feet above the base flood elevation or higher, depending on sea level rise predictions.

“Opioid addiction has impacted thousands around Louisiana, and this funding will support critical services to help our communities battle substance abuse.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $5,984,910 in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to support drug treatment projects around Louisiana.

“Opioid addiction has impacted thousands around Louisiana, and this funding will support critical services to help our communities battle substance abuse,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $4,984,910 to support the Overdose Date to Action program through the Louisiana Department of Health.

  • $1,000,000 to support the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program through Louisiana Primary Care Association, Inc.

“Fighting HIV and promoting the health and education of Louisiana’s youngest kids are priorities for our state, and I’m glad to see HHS award these grants to Louisiana.”

 WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $8,029,141 in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health projects around Louisiana.

“Fighting HIV and promoting the health and education of Louisiana’s youngest kids are priorities for our state, and I’m glad to see HHS award these grants to Louisiana,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $3,417,182 to support the Early Head Start program through the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

  • $3,232,231 to support integrated programs to combat the HIV epidemic through the Louisiana Department of Health.

  • $1,379,728 to support the Head Start program through Regina Coeli Child Development Center, Inc.

 

“Louisiana’s wetlands protect our state from hurricanes and other serious storms. For years, nutria have devoured miles of our marshes, and some areas have no chance of growing back. This bill would help prevent these invasive swamp rats from further destroying Louisiana’s marshland.”

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation to amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act.

The legislation would authorize an additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states participating in the Nutria Eradication Program, which provides funding to states that implement initiatives to eradicate the invasive species. The measure also makes financial assistance proportional to the total area of a state that is affected by nutria.

“Louisiana’s wetlands protect our state from hurricanes and other serious storms. For years, nutria have devoured miles of our marshes, and some areas have no chance of growing back. This bill would help prevent these invasive swamp rats from further destroying Louisiana’s marshland,” said Kennedy.

“The explosive population growth of the nutria rodent could overwhelm our farms and wetlands if we don’t take aggressive action now. In California, there could be as many as 250,000 nutria within five years that could cause more than $1.2 billion a year in agriculture losses and eradication costs. Our bill will make all states eligible for federal funds to control this invasive species and stop its spread before we lose control of the situation,” said Feinstein.

WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) today praised the confirmation of David Joseph as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Louisiana.

“David Joseph has served as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana since 2018 and is well-respected in the Louisiana legal community. I’m confident he will serve our state well as a district court judge, and I am proud to have supported his nomination,” said Kennedy.

“David Joseph’s intelligence, integrity, and experience make him an ideal federal judge. He will serve the Western District of Louisiana and our country well. I’m very happy for David and his family. I thank him for serving our country,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“Whether hurricane season is here or on the way, Louisiana must prepare to protect residents from flooding. These funds will help support critical flood management projects to safeguard our communities.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,467,805 in FEMA funding to support flood management projects around Louisiana.

“Whether hurricane season is here or on the way, Louisiana must prepare to protect residents from flooding. These funds will help support critical flood management projects to safeguard our communities,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $2,037,145 to help implement flood mitigation projects as a result of repetitive damage.

  • $1,430,660 to support repair and replacement of the Reach K levee in Lafourche Parish, which was damaged by Hurricane Barry.