Apr 13 2021
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to abandon the department’s plan to allocate $650 billion in special drawing rights (SDR) to foreign countries through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Currently, Yellen plans to make the allocation without consent from Congress.
“I am concerned that an SDR allocation will not support low-income countries and instead will support dictators, China, and other adversaries, all while burdening the American taxpayer. Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Hassan Rouhani, Bashar al-Assad, Nicolás Maduro, and the Burmese generals are all lined up to get hundreds of millions and, in some cases, billions from the Treasury Department,” wrote Kennedy.
Under the proposed SDR allocation, the world’s leading economies would receive $426 billion—well over half—of the allocation. Rich and middle-income nations would receive $126 billion, while low-income countries would receive only $21 billion—or 3%—of the allocation. China alone would receive more aid than all the low-income countries combined.
“Additionally, I am deeply concerned that this allocation will benefit hostile governments and our adversaries. Under the proposal, Iran, a country heavily sanctioned by the United States for its illicit nuclear activity, would receive $3.5 billion in aid. China would receive $22 billion in aid. Russia will get $18 billion . . . Despite claims that the U.S. can refuse to buy SDRs from dictators, this type of blanket allocation will allow any dictator whose country receives SDRs to exchange them for hard currencies by simply channeling the exchange through a third country,” explained Kennedy.
Not only would the money flow to enemy regimes, the U.S. will have to borrow the money that it would have to lend to these nations.
“In other words, America will have to borrow from Peter at home to pay Paul overseas: American workers and families will be on the hook for making up the difference between the interest rate the United States would have to pay to borrow this money by issuing perpetual bonds,” said Kennedy.
The SDR loans also come with a high risk of the receivers not repaying them. In fact, the countries have no obligation or deadline for paying the loans back. Nothing prevents a foreign government from redeeming SDRs at the U.S.-subsidized rate of 0.05 percent and then turning that cash around to reinvest in the 10-year Treasury bond, which offers payouts around 1.7 percent.
The full text of the letter is available here.
Kennedy’s exchange with Yellen on March 24 is available here.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this letter to the editor, originally published in the Ouachita Citizen, highlighting the crucial work of Louisiana linemen and calling for them to be formally recognized as first responders.
“Though we notice them most during emergencies, linemen are at work every day to maintain the power lines that keep northeast Louisiana’s lights on and homes heated and cooled.”
. . .
“These men and women work around live wires on a routine basis. They serve during hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters, so the lineman’s job is one of the riskiest around. Linemen are not just technicians: They are first responders. Louisiana has witnessed linemen’s bravery time and time again.
“Last year, after Hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Zeta hammered Louisiana, linemen were first on the scene to repair downed lines. During this February’s historic winter storm, linemen again rose to the challenge as first responders.”
. . .
“With that in mind, I just introduced the Linemen Legacy Act to legally qualify linemen as first responders.”
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) has been named one of the top 10 most effective Republican senators of the 116th Congress, according to the Center for Effective Lawmaking’s Legislative Effectiveness Scores.
“It is a privilege to represent Louisianians in the U.S. Senate. Our people work hard, and they deserve representatives who go to the mat on their behalf. I’ll keep fighting for legislation that makes Louisiana voices heard in Washington, brings jobs to our state, defends the unborn and protects our constitutional rights,” said Kennedy.
The Center for Effective Lawmaking considers 15 different indicators when calculating its scores, including the number of bills each lawmaker introduces, how far each bill advances in the legislative process and the significance of each bill. Kennedy introduced 65 bills in the 116th Congress, all of them “substantive” according to the report.
Three of Kennedy’s bills were signed into law by President Trump, including the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, the Rebuilding Small Businesses After Disasters Act and the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act protects Americans from bad actors like the Chinese Communist Party by requiring companies operating on U.S. stock exchanges to prove they are not owned or controlled by foreign governments.
The Center for Effective Lawmaking also named Kennedy one of the “top performers in multiple policy areas,” including commerce, education and trade issues.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $42,796,369 in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support routine immunization and vaccines for Louisiana children.
“The pandemic has made it difficult for some parents to vaccinate their children against diseases like mumps, measles, rubella, chickenpox and tetanus. This funding from HHS will help ensure that Louisiana’s kids have access to the routine vaccines that keep them safe and keep everyone in our communities healthy,” said Kennedy.
MADISONVILLE, La. — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and other senators in introducing the Keep China Out of Solar Energy Act, which prohibits federal funds from purchasing solar panels manufactured or assembled in Communist China, specifically focusing on Xinjiang province, which is known for its use of forced labor.
“The Chinese Communist Party is guilty of monstrous human rights violations, and the regime’s cruelty is on full display in Xinjiang, where Uyghurs are suffering in Communist prison camps. Reports indicate Beijing relies on forced labor in Xinjiang to make solar panels—and other products—many of which it sells to the U.S. Americans should have no hand in funding the CCP’s atrocities, and the Keep China Out of Solar Energy Act would ensure that our federal dollars don’t fund the Communist Party, or any of its affiliated entities, through the purchase of solar panels,” said Kennedy.
“No taxpayer dollars should be used to prop up the Communist Party of China, which is committing a genocide against the Uyghurs under General Secretary Xi’s direction, continues to threaten our ally Taiwan and strip basic rights from Hong Kongers. Reports show that many solar companies rely on materials and labor from Communist China’s Xinjiang province, which is known for forced labor and horrific abuse of the Uyghurs. My Keep China Out of Solar Energy Act, which prohibits the use of federal funds to buy solar panels from Communist China, sends a clear message to General Secretary Xi that the United States will not turn a blind eye to his genocide and human rights abuses,” said Scott.
The Keep China Out of Solar Energy Act requires:
- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget to develop standards and guidelines to prohibit federal funds from being used to purchase solar panels manufactured or assembled by entities with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
- The Comptroller of the U.S. to submit to Congress a report on the amount of solar panels procured by federal departments and agencies from covered entities.
- The Director of the Office of Management and Budget to conduct an independent study of the domestic market of solar panel production and the global supply chain and workforce involved in solar panel production.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) also co-sponsored the legislation.
MADISONVILLE, La. — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $12,339,916 in funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries to assist fisheries across Louisiana. The funding is provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and will support activities that have been authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“Commercial fisheries support one of 70 jobs in Louisiana, and the pandemic hit them hard. Louisiana fishermen are resilient, and these funds will help get our fisheries back on their feet,” said Kennedy.
The funding will directly support coastal states and territories, including Louisiana, whose fisheries have suffered under the pandemic.
The commissions will “work with each state and territory to revise their prior spend plans to be consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the CARES Act, and NOAA’s guidance,” according to NOAA Fisheries. Eligible participants include:
- Commercial fishermen
- Charter businesses
- Certain aquaculture operations
- Other businesses related to fishing
Fishery participants may also qualify for assistance through the Small Business Administration or Department of Agriculture.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) authored this op-ed, originally published in the New York Post.
“Did you get to visit Paris before the virus shut down international travel? The architect who designed the Louvre’s iconic glass pyramid was actually an American—an Asian American named I.M. Pei. By the time of his death at age of 102, Pei had designed many famous buildings on US soil, including the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
“Pei was one of millions of Asian Americans whose talents have helped make America an exceptional nation, made up of exceptional people who take advantage of all the opportunities our nation has to offer. President Joe Biden is absolutely right to denounce the recent attack in Atlanta, which took the lives of six Asian-American women, and he isn’t alone. The nation’s capital grieves with our Asian-American friends and neighbors.
“Sadly, however, Biden’s rhetoric in defense of the Asian-American community isn’t matched by respect for their right to enjoy the fruit of their gifts and grit. The Biden administration has shown, right out of the gate, a determination to stick its head in the sand, while America’s top universities actively discriminate against Asian Americans.
“Last year, the Department of Justice sued Yale University, claiming the school rejected many qualified Asian-American applicants on the basis of their race. The decision came two years after several Asian-American organizations filed a complaint with the DOJ and the Department of Education, accusing the New Haven Ivy of discrimination. Yet only a few weeks after Biden set up shop in the Oval Office, the DOJ withdrew its own lawsuit against Yale.
“Harvard University also seems bent on discriminating against Asian-American applicants. In 2014, Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard, claiming the school was using an application system that reduces the number of Asian-American students through evaluations that are subjective and potentially racially biased.
“When Harvard considers an applicant, the admissions team often looks past objective indicators like grades and test scores to a student’s ‘personal ratings.’ These personal ratings claim to measure traits like ‘humor,’ ‘sensitivity,’ ‘helpfulness’ and ‘courage.’ The problem is that Harvard has consistently granted lower personal rating scores to Asian Americans than it has to white students and those of other ethnic groups.
“The judge in the Students for Fair Admissions’ lawsuit wrote that ‘the data demonstrates [sic] a statistically significant and negative relationship between Asian-American identity and the personal rating assigned by Harvard admissions officers, holding constant any reasonable set of observable characteristics.’
“It might sound smart for Harvard to look for well-rounded applicants—until you realize that these personal ratings aren’t just subjective, they’re subversive. The scores are value judgments that minimize the accomplishments of Asian Americans in particular.
“Harvard’s admissions scores work on a scale from 1 to 6. When it comes to the personal-ratings dimension of the application process, only 17.6 percent of Asian-Americans receive top scores of 1 or 2, compared with 21.3 percent of white applicants. In fact, Harvard gives Asian Americans the weakest personal ratings of any ethnic group.
“Harvard admissions officials have reportedly handed out these low scores without even interviewing some candidates in person. These officials admitted in 2013 that if the school only considered ‘academic achievement,’ then the class’ proportional Asian-American representation would have more than doubled.
“A federal judge ruled against the plaintiffs in 2019, notwithstanding her acknowledgment that Harvard grants lower personal rating scores to Asian-American applicants, and the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld that decision last November. But there’s still hope for justice for Asian-American students. The Supreme Court could take up the case, and the White House could defend the cause of meritocracy against Harvard’s racial discrimination.
“The DOJ has historically supported the Students for Fair Admissions lawsuit. The department filed a statement of interest in the case in 2018 and an amicus brief last year. If Biden is committed to fighting racial discrimination against Asian Americans, it’s not hard to see how countering racist policies within the privileged halls of Harvard—a school that receives federal dollars—must be part of that commitment.
“I.M. Pei graduated from Harvard in the 1940s. Who knows if the Cambridge, Mass., Ivy would even admit him today? That’s a shame, and it shouldn’t stand. The new president should contend for the rights of Asian Americans to be treated fairly by America’s schools. His Department of Justice should support, rather than ignore, their lawsuit against racial bias.”
The op-ed is available here.
Mar 27 2021
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) visited the U.S.-Mexico border to witness the effects that the Biden administration’s reckless immigration policies are having on America and on vulnerable women and children at the hands of cartels and human traffickers.
Videos from the trip are available below:
Kennedy addresses victims of broken policies near border, video here.
“I’m in southern Texas, Rio Grande Valley, the border is about a mile away—maybe a half a mile. What you see behind me, these children and these mothers and fathers and relatives, is a direct result of President Biden’s policies. President Biden adopted a policy that the smugglers take advantage of—that if you come with the child, who’s under six years of age, and you get here, you’re released into our country.
“The smugglers all know this. And you can see all the young children, all under the age of six, all of these families paid money to a smuggler to get them here. Many of them were abused or violated or hurt on their way here.
“But this is a direct result of President Biden’s policies, and it makes no sense. We need an immigration system that looks like somebody designed it on purpose, and this is not that. I mean it breaks your heart, and all of these people here have been used, and President Biden has allowed them to be used.”
Kennedy addresses smuggling operations, video here.
“We’re on the edge of the Rio Grande. Right across is Mexico. The lights you see there are smugglers bringing in families and children. They know the law. They know the change in President Biden’s policies. They know that if the child is six-years-old or younger, they will be released into the United States, and they will become part of the darkness in our country. They’ll go underground, and you’re not going to stop this as long as we practice catch-and-release.
“If we did not release people from Mexico and the 54 other countries that came in last month—all these folks are not just from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries; people from 54 countries came through—and they know if they bring a child six or under that they are released in the United States.
“And as long as the President Biden practices catch (temporarily)-and-release, then the smugglers are just going to keep doing it, because they're making a fortune. I mean, you can hear them. We are literally talking to them, and, as soon as we leave, they’ll put the kids and the family members on the boat. They’ll come here. They’ll go up this trail. They’ll be processed, and then they’ll be released into the country.
“And it’s not just, once again, it’s not just Central American countries and Northern Triangle countries and people from Mexico. Fifty-six nationalities were represented, including the Middle East.”
Kennedy speaks at the border wall, video here.
“Behind me is the border wall, which President Biden stopped construction on. I’m not sure there are words in English to describe what my Senate colleagues and I have seen in the last day-and-a-half. Thousands and thousands of people flooding into our country, virtually unimpeded. Either President Biden believes in open borders, or the people he’s put in charge of his border policy are not qualified to manage a food truck.
“President Biden needs to come down here. He needs to put a stop to this. What you allow is what will continue. This isn’t good for the people coming in, and it’s not good for the American people.
“If he doesn’t do this, President Biden is going to become known very quickly, if not already, as America's illegal immigration president.”
Kennedy commends Border Patrol agents, video here.
“We’re meeting heroes here tonight. These men and women that are trying to keep the border secure, their names aren’t famous, but their virtues are: sacrifice, hard work, patriotism, long hours. And that’s what we’re here for, is to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to them and also to their families. They all sacrifice a lot. God bless every one of them.”
Kennedy’s immigration legislation:
Thursday, Kennedy introduced several bills to make dangerous aliens deportable and empower immigration courts, includingthe Empowering Immigration Courts Act, the Terrorist Deportation Act, the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act and the Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act.
The Terrorist Deportation Act would make any immigrant identified in the terrorist screening database, with the exception of permanent residents, deportable.
The Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act would make any immigrant who is a member of a criminal gang or has participated in gang activities deportable.
The Criminal Alien Removal Clarification Act would make any immigrant who has committed a felony or two misdemeanors deportable. Current law only includes certain felonies, such as aggravated felonies, and other specific crimes.
The Empowering Immigration Courts Act would authorize immigration judges to impose a fine for contempt of court that is the same amount, $1,000, as the fine written in the criminal code.
Kennedy also introduced the Ending Sanctuary Cities Act, which would give legal protections to local law enforcement officers who cooperate with federal officials. It would also withhold federal financial assistance from sanctuary cities that refuse to follow federal law.
Kennedy, Toomey urge Environmental Protection Agency to waive biofuel blending requirements, protect Louisiana jobs
Mar 26 2021
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and other Republican senators in urging Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to relieve the economic burden of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on oil refining states to protect oil and gas jobs in Louisiana and across the country.
“We request your timely consideration of this request as obligated parties under the RFS struggle with muted demand for refined petroleum products and skyrocketing compliance costs. In turn, the states and regions in which these obligated parties operate stand to suffer the precise severe economic harm the waiver provision is designed to prevent,” the senators wrote.
“The renewable fuels for the 2020 compliance year have already been produced and blended. Thus, a waiver presents no risk of harm to the biofuels industry. This necessary action would provide a degree of relief for these states and avert additional refinery closures and the ensuing economic ripple effects. If relief is not provided in a timely manner, more refineries will be forced to shut down and place thousands of workers on the unemployment rolls just as the economy is beginning to roar back,” the senators continued.
Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) also signed the letter.
The letter is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in introducing the Natural Gas Export Expansion Act, which would remove regulatory bottlenecks that discourage the liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade and increase LNG exports to the more than 160 countries in the World Trade Organization.
“LNG exports sustain Louisiana jobs, promote America’s energy independence and reduce global emissions. We should make it easier, not harder, to export American LNG to countries that need it. Louisiana is the nation’s number one exporter of liquefied natural gas, but we’re taking a beating at the hands of our own president. The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would combat President Biden’s war on energy jobs by reducing unnecessary restrictions on LNG export permits,” said Kennedy.
“Thanks to the United States’ development and use of natural gas, America leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. While many choose to protest and ignore the critical role of natural gas in our energy future, Congress must do its part to continue advancing America’s energy renaissance. Increasing LNG exports will not only continue to lower energy costs for consumers and increase America’s energy security—while at the same time reducing emissions and improving air quality in the United States—but will also strengthen our international relationships around the globe and help bring these same climate benefits to the world,” said Cruz.
Despite the pandemic, American LNG exports reached all-time highs in November and December 2020, and the U.S. remains a net exporter of natural gas. The U.S. also exported LNG to a record 38 countries.
The review process for an application to export LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries can take years. While the previous administration greatly reduced the processing time for non-FTA permits, Congress must provide greater certainty and help ensure that the review process is not arbitrarily lengthened.
The U.S. has one of the lowest flaring intensity levels in the world, and methane emissions from U.S. natural gas production have decreased nearly 25 percent since 1990—all while natural gas production grew more than 70 percent.
A 2019 Department of Energy report conducted by the National Energy Technology Lab concluded that American LNG exports resulted in reduced emissions abroad.
The Natural Gas Export Expansion Act would:
- Amend the Natural Gas Act to expedite non-FTA export permits. This would ensure applications for exporting LNG to certain non-FTA countries would be treated the same as applications for exporting LNG to FTA countries and would be “deemed to be consistent with the public interest.”
- Retain current law for restricted nations. Any nation subject to sanctions or trade restrictions is specifically excluded, and the president or Congress can specifically exclude any nation from expedited approval.
The bill text is available here.