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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a Senate Appropriations Committee member,  joined Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) and a bicameral group of colleagues in urging House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to prevent the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing its rule to require more than two-thirds of all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be fully electric in fewer than nine years.

The lawmakers urged Johnson and McConnell to block funding for the mandate by including language from the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior-Environment Appropriations bill, which prevents the EPA from using any funding to implement the rule, in the FY24 government funding package.

“While we are supportive of the free market producing electric vehicles to satisfy a market need, this misguided EPA mandate would have an immediate, detrimental impact on the choices and affordability of cars, trucks, and SUVs available to our constituents,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The EPA’s proposed mandate will increase dependency on supply chains controlled by the Chinese government. Today, up to 90% of the electric vehicle battery supply chain relies on China. The batteries that power electric vehicles require critical minerals, including lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and manganese—and China processes 75% of these minerals. Additionally, China controls 76% of global battery cell production capacity. China’s dominance is only expected to continue for the foreseeable future with 67% of all forecasted battery cell manufacturing controlled by China in 2032. In contrast to China, the United States has 7% of global battery production capacity,” they continued.

The lawmakers also noted that the rule would jeopardize America’s national security and limit consumer choice, writing, “Not only would the EPA’s proposed regulation hurt America’s national security, but it would severely limit consumer choice for affordable vehicles that fit the needs of the average American. At a time of inflation, high interest rates, and rising costs, the last thing Americans need is to find both new and used vehicles unaffordable because of an EPA mandate.”

Currently, nearly 4,000 automotive dealers report that their lots are full of electric vehicles that the public does not want. They have asked President Biden for relief from his misguided sales mandate for electric vehicles.

The full letter is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in introducing the Traveler Privacy Protection Act of 2023 to safeguard Americans from facial recognition screenings that the federal government is implementing at airports across the country. The bill would repeal the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) authorization to use facial recognition and prevent the agency from further exploiting the technology and storing traveler’s biodata. 

“Every day, TSA scans thousands of Americans’ faces without their permission and without making it clear that travelers can opt out of the invasive screening. The Traveler Privacy Protection Act would protect every American from Big Brother’s intrusion by ending the facial recognition program,” said Kennedy.

“The TSA program is a precursor to a full-blown national surveillance state. Nothing could be more damaging to our national values of privacy and freedom. No government should be trusted with this power,” said Merkley.

Despite the TSA calling its plan to implement facial scans at more than 430 U.S. airports voluntary, passengers are largely unaware of their ability to opt out. Moreover, TSA does not effectively display notices at its check points to inform travelers that they have such an option.

To rectify this, the Traveler Privacy Protection Act of 2023 would:

  • Require explicit congressional authorization in order for the TSA to use facial recognition technology in the future. 
  • Immediately ban the TSA from expanding its pilot facial recognition program.
  • Require TSA to end its pilot facial recognition program and dispose of facial biometrics.

Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also cosponsored the legislation.

Text of the Traveler Privacy Protection Act of 2023 is available here

 

 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,971,292 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura’s winds, rain and flooding did severe damage to the arts and humanities building at SOWELA Technical Community College. I’m grateful that this $4 million will help them continue to educate Louisianians,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,971,292 to the Office of Risk Management to repair damages to the SOWELA Technical Community College arts and humanities building caused by Hurricane Laura.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in the Daily Advertiser explaining how school choice could improve education in Louisiana schools. Kennedy argues that no family should have to leave their children in a failing school. The piece also appeared in the Shreveport Times, Houma Today, The Daily Comet, The Town Talk, The News-Star, and Daily World.

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s op-ed include:

“As students eagerly await the holiday break, Louisiana parents may soon be catching a break of their own: school choice.

“For years, most Louisiana families have had little to no choice about where their child attends school. Parents can choose among 40 types of cereal to feed their kids for breakfast, but many have almost no say about which school their child spends seven hours every day—even if that school has proven it cannot help their child learn.” 

. . .

“No one is coming to save our schools in Louisiana but ourselves. If we want a prosperous future for Louisiana, we can’t keep trapping students in classrooms where they can’t learn. It’s time for school choice in Louisiana.”

 . . .

 School choice programs vary, but they all boil down to this foundational principle: Parents should be able to take their children out of failing schools and place them in schools that can help those children thrive. School board members have to earn parents’ votes, and schools should have to earn each student’s enrollment.”

. . .

 “School choice recognizes two truths that are key to Louisiana’s future: Every child can learn, and competition makes everyone better. School choice gives parents power, students hope, and every school a greater incentive to help young people succeed.”

Read Kennedy’s full op-ed here.

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,546,662 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura devastated south Louisiana, and many communities are still rebuilding. I’m grateful to see that this $3.5 million will help cover the cost of repairing Lake Charles Memorial Hospital,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,546,662 to the South Louisiana Hospital Association for repairs as a result of Hurricane Laura.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,688,797 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Louisianians in Lake Charles and the rest of Calcasieu Parish are still working hard to recover from Hurricane Laura. I’m glad this $3.7 million will help them continue to do just that,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $1,521,262 to Lake Charles, La. to repair damages to the city hall and offices resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,115,786 to Lake Charles, La. to restore Nelson Road Park, which was damaged as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,051,749 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board to repair damages to DeQuincy Middle School resulting from Hurricane Laura.
Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) spoke on the Senate floor about the need to make insulin less expensive for Americans who suffer from diabetes by passing the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which Kennedy and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) introduced.

The senator’s remarks also highlight findings from his and Warnock’s bipartisan report titled, “Insulin Deserts: The Urgency of Lowering the Cost of Insulin for Everyone.” The report states that there are 813 counties in America which are “insulin deserts,” places where 16% or more of the population is uninsured and 10% or more of the population has diabetes.

Key quotes from Kennedy’s remarks are below.

“In my state, 44% of my people are affected by diabetes directly, 14% are diabetic, another 30% are pre-diabetic, and Louisiana is not the only state with those kinds of numbers. Diabetics account for $1 of every $4 spent—one out of every $4 spent—on health care in the United States of America. Think about that.

“The average cost of hospitalization for a diabetic—which, if they can't pay for it, ultimately, we all pay—the average cost of hospitalization for diabetic patients is from $8,400 to $23,000 a year. 

“And, medical costs, if you look beyond the quality-of-life issue and the moral issue of just helping people who are sick, if you look at it in terms of dollars and cents, diabetes costs America $327 billion a year—that's in medical costs and lost work and wages and lost productivity. So, we know the problem, and we know the costs, and we have a solution: insulin.” 

. . . 

“Insulin doesn't cost that much to make, and I don't begrudge the companies who sell insulin. I don't begrudge them making a profit, but it is bone-deep-down-to-the-marrow stupid for us to allow someone, whose diabetes can be managed by taking insulin, not to take that insulin because they can't afford it. That's immoral, and that makes no sense in terms of dollars and cents costs to the rest of the American people.

“And, Raphael and [my] bill would address that. It would say, ‘If you have private insurance, great, but if you don't have any insurance at all, if you're uninsured—and a lot of Americans become uninsured every year, maybe they don't stay uninsured, but they become uninsured—and you're diabetic, we're going to cap your out-of-pocket costs at $35 per 30-day supply. So, you have no excuse not to take your insulin to address your diabetes.’

“It’s the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do, and, Raphael and [my] bill is paid for. We're not suggesting we go out and borrow more money.”

The Affordable Insulin Now Act of 2023 would:

  • Require private group or individual plans to cover one of each insulin dosage form (i.e., vial, pen) and insulin type (i.e., rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting or long-acting) for no more than $35 per month.
  • Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a program to reimburse qualifying entities for covering any costs that exceed $35 for providing a 30-day supply of insulin to uninsured patients.
  • Be fully paid for by an offset, so it will not add to the deficit.

Watch Kennedy’s full remarks here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) awarded a $108,281,936 contract for repairs to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) facility in Louisiana. 
 
“Hurricane Ida ripped through south Louisiana, leaving many buildings with significant damage. I’m grateful that this $108.3 million will help repair New Orleans’ NASA facility so that our scientists and rocket builders can continue their important work,” said Kennedy.
 
The USACE contract award will provide a roof replacement for NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility Building 103 in New Orleans, which Hurricane Ida damaged. The roof will cover a facility that serves as a construction site for the Artemis program. The Artemis program is NASA’s mission to bring humans back to the moon in 2025.
 
 

 

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $8,694,727 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“Hurricanes Laura and Ida did a great deal of damage to so many buildings and facilities in Louisiana. I’m grateful this $8.7 million will help Louisianians rebuild and repair,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,564,654 to the Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative for emergency protective measures resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $2,098,349 to the Office of Risk Management for repairs to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Rockefeller Headquarters building resulting from Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,981,293 to the St. Charles Parish School Board for dehumidifying, decontaminating and cleaning as a result of Hurricane Ida.
  • $1,050,431 to the Timothy Trumpet of Truth Ministry for building replacement resulting from Hurricane Ida.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) penned this op-ed in the Washington Examiner warning that the SEC’s Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) places the private information of 158 million American investors at risk. He urges his colleagues to join him in prohibiting the SEC from collecting information on every transaction that investors make and in requiring the SEC to delete the information it has already gathered.

Key excerpts of Kennedy’s op-ed include:

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is supposed to protect investors, not stalk them. However, under a new regulation, the SEC has paved the way for the federal agency to follow an investor’s every move.

“Here’s just a bit of the information the SEC is forcing brokers to fork over: their customers’ full names, birth years, addresses, which stocks they bought, which stocks they sold and when those transactions occurred. The SEC never had this level of access to personally identifiable information previously. The brokers would often have to store the information, and then the SEC could request the information for investigations. Now, the SEC wants all this information directly. In its own words, the SEC wants to ‘efficiently and accurately track all activity throughout the U.S. markets.’ Every single transaction.

“The SEC stops just shy of asking each investor to name their middle school crush before it receives all this customer information and stuffs it into one massive government-owned database called the Consolidated Audit Trail. The CAT is a ticking timebomb of sensitive personal information that hackers cannot wait to detonate.”

. . .

“The SEC’s disregard for privacy is as dangerous as it is un-American. That’s why I introduced the Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act, a bill that would prohibit the SEC from forcing financial institutions to turn over every investor’s personally identifiable information and require the SEC to delete any information it has gathered since the agency implemented the rule.

“Roughly 158 million Americans invest in the stock market. The CAT is a privacy and financial disaster waiting to happen. My colleagues in Congress should join me in working to shut down the CAT and restore the privacy of American investors.”

The full op-ed is available here.

Text of the Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act is here.