Senate Democrats block Kennedy resolution to stop Biden admin from turning lawful gunowners into felons with pistol brace rule
Jun 22 2023
Watch Kennedy’s floor speech here.
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats today blocked Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to prevent the Biden administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and more than 40 Republican senators co-sponsored the resolution in the Senate, and the resolution previously passed with more than 180 co-sponsors in the House. Senate Democrats blocked the resolution by a vote of 50-49.
“Today, Senate Democrats protected the Biden administration’s misguided rule, which turns law-abiding gunowners in Louisiana and across the nation into criminals in the blink of an eye. Big Brother is demanding that responsible gunowners with pistol braces register their firearms, destroy the firearms, surrender their firearms to the ATF or effectively destroy their braces. President Biden’s assault on the Second Amendment isn’t going to stop,” said Kennedy.
Millions of law-abiding Americans use pistol braces, and many of those Americans rely on braces because they are disabled. The Biden administration’s rule, titled Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces, reclassifies pistols as short-barreled rifles if those pistols have a stabilizing brace attachment, even though many disabled veterans and other Americans rely on these braces to use their firearms.
“So many people who are opposed to the Second Amendment, they say they're not opposed to the Second Amendment. They say they just want to regulate guns. They don’t. They want to abolish guns,” Kennedy explained ahead of the vote on the resolution.
“Now why is that important? Because some Americans don't have two hands or the use of two hands or two arms. Pistol braces were invented to help handicapped people, particularly handicapped veterans who don't have use of both of their own,” he continued.
“Now, this pistol brace, other than stabilizing the pistol, it doesn’t change the pistol in any way. The pistol brace doesn't change the caliber of the pistol, doesn't make it more powerful. The pistol brace doesn't change the number of rounds that the pistol can hold. The pistol brace doesn't make the pistol an automatic pistol. . . . And the pistol brace doesn't make the pistol fire any faster. The pistol brace also does not help the shooter load the pistol more quickly. Except for stabilizing the pistol, it doesn't change the pistol in any way. It just makes it easier to hold, which is important particularly if you're handicapped,” the senator told his colleagues.
Under the Biden ATF rule, gun owners could face up to 10 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines if they fail to register pistols with stabilizing braces with the ATF. If gun owners do not register their firearms, they have to destroy the firearm, surrender their firearm to the ATF or remove the brace in such a way that it cannot be reattached.
“The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau has never had a problem with pistol braces. None Zero. Zilch. Nada. Until President Biden became president. Now, President Biden and his ATF have promulgated a rule. It says attaching a pistol brace to a pistol somehow magically stops the pistol from being a pistol and turns it into a short-barreled rifle,” said Kennedy.
“Now, why does it matter? . . . They want to start a gun registry for law-abiding Americans. Hello! They want to start a gun registry,” the senator explained.
“A regulatory agency like the ATF does not have the power under our Constitution to decide major questions like banning pistol braces unless Congress says it's okay through the text of the statute that the agency is relying on,” concluded Kennedy.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) introduced Kennedy’s resolution in the House of Representatives, where it passed earlier this month.
In 2012, the Obama-Biden administration’s ATF determined that pistol-brace attachments do not change the classification of a pistol to that of a rifle. Despite this, the Biden administration in 2021 directed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to propose a rule that clarifies when a pistol with a brace attachment should be designated as a rifle.
Earlier this year, the DOJ announced the “stabilizing braces” final rule.
Text of Kennedy’s resolution is available here.
Kennedy, Menendez, Cassidy introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize NFIP, bring down policy rates
Jun 22 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today joined Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in introducing the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization (NFIP Re) Act of 2023.
“By making flood insurance unaffordable, the Biden administration’s Risk Rating 2.0 is making it impossible for Louisianians to protect their biggest assets—their homes. We must make sure that the NFIP works for the people who depend on it, and this bill would do that,” said Kennedy.
“Congress can no longer afford to punt long-term reauthorization and reform of the NFIP. It’s time to put policyholders first and address the longstanding systemic issues with the program that came under the national spotlight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. With disastrous flooding events becoming all the more common, we must work to create a more sustainable, resilient, and affordable flood insurance program that invests in prevention and mitigation efforts, and all while ensure hard-working Americans can have peace of mind in the event of a disaster,” said Menendez.
“Reforming the NFIP means making it affordable again. We need to ensure families are not priced out of the program,” said Cassidy.
- Reauthorizes the NFIP for five years.
- Caps annual policy premiums hikes at nine percent.
- Freezes interest payments on the NFIP debt to reduce borrowing.
- Increases the maximum limit for increased cost of compliance coverage.
- Funds mitigation efforts.
Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) also cosponsored the legislation.
Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Clay Higgins (R-La.) are leading the legislation in the House of Representatives.
Text of the NFIP Re Act is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Accountability for Long Term Medicare Solvency Act to increase transparency within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value for their money.
“Thanks to out-of-control spending, America’s Medicare program could be insolvent within a decade. Yet CMS continues to add billions of dollars in new services to be covered by Medicare without any legislative oversight to ensure that the American people are getting the best value possible. Rather than raising taxes to cover this spending spree, Congress should provide better oversight on CMS to ensure current spending is done in the best interest of the American people,” Kennedy said.
The Accountability for Long Term Medicare Solvency Act would require the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to deliver an annual study to Congress on CMS’s processes for adding, modifying and removing service billing codes under Medicare.
The bill also requires the HHS Secretary to submit a report of each new billing code added to Medicare and its respective costs to Congress, which CMS will make publicly available on its website.
- Recent projections show that Medicare Part A could be insolvent by 2031 if Congress does not take steps to curb spending.
- CMS spending on Medicare programs continues to grow. By 2032, the cost of Medicare is expected to double to nearly $1.9 trillion—more than the U.S. currently spends on defense.
- The increase in Medicare spending is driven largely by the addition of new products or procedures. From 1997 to 2011, 85% of real per capita spending increases were tied to newly created bill codes for treatments, procedures and services not previously covered by Medicare. New billing codes applied through CMS rulemaking increased the cost of Medicare by $6 billion in 2016, $10 billion in 2017 and $6 billion again in 2018. All this spending occurred without legislative oversight.
The text of the bill is available here.
Kennedy, Hagerty introduce bill to prevent Biden admin from walking back Iran sanctions without congressional review
Jun 22 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and other Republican senators in introducing the Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act (ISSRA). The legislation would require Congress to review any actions the Biden White House takes to terminate or waive sanctions on Iran.
“Iran is the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism, and its leaders are actively working with China and Russia to undermine stability across the globe. Congress cannot allow the Biden administration to blink when it comes to the threat that this new axis of evil poses to the United States’ national security. The Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act would ensure that Congress reviews any effort the Biden White House makes to weaken sanctions on Iran,” said Kennedy.
“As Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime continues to pursue nuclear weapons to harm Americans and our regional partners and allies, it is critical to provide insurance if President Biden keeps trying to run around Congress and relieve sanctions on Iran. My legislation will make it abundantly clear to the Biden Administration that any agreement made with Iran that involves sanctions relief must be submitted for Congressional review,” said Hagerty.
This bill would provide insurance should the Biden administration attempt to circumvent congressional review under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act by making a deal with the Iranian regime that includes relieving sanctions.
Congress used this approach to review Russia sanctions relief under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, which passed both the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support.
- This week, foreign leaders alleged that Iran and the U.S. are engaging in indirect talks regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
- Last month, Biden administration officials briefed senators in a classified discussion on Iran.
Full text of the ISSRA is here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act of 2023 to review investments that businesses controlled by the Chinese Communist Party make on U.S. soil. China routinely makes such “greenfield” investments while buying land, building factories and taking advantage of state and local tax breaks in America to expand China’s influence. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) is the bill’s lead co-sponsor.
“The Chinese Communist Party is both aggressive and manipulative. Beijing uses greenfield investments to gain leverage over America’s economy and job market. We can’t be blind to the ways China is gaming our system to take American assets, real estate and innovation away from U.S. businesses. The Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act is key to countering the threat China’s regime poses to our economy and national security,” said Kennedy.
“Every land acquisition, investment, corporate merger, and building of agricultural facilities, influenced by foreign adversaries, is another step away from American ownership and sovereignty over our own food systems and supply chain. Placing greenfield investments under CFIUS review will enhance the review process of purchases from Chinese-operated enterprises. Let’s fend off bad, foreign investment once and for all,” said Cramer.
Greenfield projects involve a parent company in one country establishing a subsidiary in another country. These are the most common way that Chinese companies enter the American market. They are quickly becoming Beijing’s preferred method for expanding influence under its Belt and Road Initiative, the international infrastructure plan the regime is using to increase its global power. At the same time, the Chinese government keeps its domestic markets largely insulated from foreign influence.
China’s state-operated enterprises use the greenfield model to siphon intellectual property, influence and other assets away from U.S. businesses.
The Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act of 2023 would put Chinese greenfield initiatives under the review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The legislation would also require greenfield investments to file a declaration with CFIUS if China’s government controls or has a substantial interest in the investment. CFIUS would review these investments for national security purposes.
Specifically, the bill would require a CFIUS review for any investment that is made by a foreign person that both:
- involves the acquisition of real estate in the U.S. and the establishment of a U.S. business on such real estate, and
- results in China’s direct or indirect control of that U.S. business.
Text of the Exposing China’s Belt and Road Investment in America Act is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced the Main Street Growth Act to expand small companies’ access to capital markets.
“Small business owners work hard to serve their communities. Their challenge is that these job creators can’t easily access existing capital markets. The Main Street Growth Act would give smaller companies a way to list on their own specialized exchanges, where they would be more visible to investors. These exchanges would promote growth in America’s economy by better meeting the needs of small business owners, their employees and investors,” said Kennedy.
Small companies often have difficulty accessing capital markets because their stocks are less visible and are traded less frequently than the stocks of larger companies.
The Main Street Growth Act would create tailored, dedicated exchanges known as “venture exchanges” for trading stocks in smaller companies. Giving small companies their own specialized exchanges would increase their visibility and access to capital. Venture exchanges would also give investors more access to the potential growth opportunities that small companies offer.
Listing on a venture exchange would be completely optional for small businesses, start-ups and emerging growth companies that qualify under the bill.
Text of the Main Street Growth Act is here.
Jun 21 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and 23 other senators in urging President Joe Biden to deter the Iranian regime from achieving nuclear weapons capability.
“The regime in Iran continues to suppress dissent at home and export its malign influence abroad – further cementing its status as the leading destabilizing force in the Middle East. In February, the IAEA reported the discovery of uranium particles enriched to the 84% level. Iran today is capable of enriching uranium to the 90% weapons-grade level at a time of its choosing. As Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl has publicly stated, Iran could enrich enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb in as little as 12 days,” the senators wrote.
“It is imperative today that we strengthen our efforts to deter Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. We must make Iran understand, in no uncertain terms, that further advances in its nuclear program will be met with unified international action. Iran simply cannot be allowed to advance its nuclear program with impunity and the PRC cannot be given a pass for accelerating Iran’s destabilizing behavior. We urge you to restore this posture of deterrence and provide leadership to strengthen the resolve of the international community,” they continued.
“Given the state of the Iranian nuclear program, we encourage you to secure the commitment of our allies to implement the snapback mechanism embedded in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 should Iran advance its program past the weapons-grade threshold. Such a move would squeeze Iran’s revenue sources and serve notice that Iran cannot continue to reap the benefits of international sanctions relief while progressing towards the development of a nuclear weapon,” they concluded.
Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Crapo (R-Ind.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The full letter is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and fellow Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee today asked FBI Director Christopher Wray for an unredacted version of the document that contains allegations of corruption against the Biden family.
The whistleblower disclosures indicate that the FBI has an unclassified FD-1023 form that describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national. The allegation involves the exchange of money for policy decisions.
“At first, the FBI refused to even acknowledge the existence of the FD-1023, until Senator Grassley and Chairman Comer informed you during a May 31, 2023, phone call that they’ve reviewed it pursuant to lawful whistleblower disclosures. Moreover, on that call, you failed to describe any steps the FBI has taken to investigate the matter,” wrote the senators.
The redacted version of the document that the FBI made available to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability for review failed to disclose the existence of an alleged 15 recordings between the foreign national and Hunter Biden and two recordings with then-Vice President Biden.
“Notably, based on the whistleblower disclosures to Senator Grassley, the source of the FD-1023 has been paid at least $200,000 from the FBI since the investigation was opened and operational. This indicates the government finds the individual to be credible,” the lawmakers continued.
“The allegations contained in the FD-1023 raise serious concerns. As Ranking Member Graham noted, we as a Committee ‘have an obligation to answer these questions.’ Unfortunately, the FBI’s conduct to this point has not allowed us to do so. In light of the continued failure to transparently address the unclassified FD-1023, we are requesting that the FBI immediately produce an unredacted version directly to the Senate Judiciary Committee and describe, in detail, the steps it has taken to investigate all allegations in the document including whether it is within the scope of U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s review,” the senators concluded.
The full letter is available here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations committee, today announced $2,396,936 in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for Louisiana.
“I am glad to see that this $2.4 million will help protect Louisianians’ properties in Tangipahoa Parish from flooding,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $2,396,936 to Tangipahoa Parish for the elevation of 11 properties.
MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $44,014,147 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.
“Hurricane Ida hit our state hard, and this $44 million will help cover the costs related to the protective measures the Health Department took when Louisianians were in need,” said Kennedy.
The FEMA aid will fund the following:
- $44,014,147 to the Department of Health and Hospitals for emergency protective measures as a result of Hurricane Ida.