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WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $14,730,190 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid. 

“Hurricane Laura ripped through southwest Louisiana, and Hurricane Ida struck southeast. This $14.7 million will help Louisianians in Calcasieu and Lafourche Parishes rebuild their communities,” said Kennedy. 

The FEMA aid will fund the following: 

  • $8,248,845 to the Calcasieu Parish School Board for replacement of the DeQuincy High School Gymnasium as a result of Hurricane Laura. 
  • 3,634,143 to the Lafourche Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 for interest fees on disaster recovery loans as a result of Hurricane Ida. 
  • $1,624,371 to Moss Bluff Pentecostal Church for the replacement of their main building as a result of Hurricane Laura.
  • $1,222,831 to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury for repairs to their Lake Charles Health Unit facilities as a result of Hurricane Laura.

 

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats today blocked Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-La.) attempts today to stop them from effectively dismissing two impeachment articles against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas without a full Senate trial. 

In order to dismiss the impeachment articles, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) claimed that no high crime or misdemeanor had been charged, meaning that the matter didn’t deserve a trial. 

Kennedy pointed out, however, that the House of Representatives impeached Mayorkas for lying to Congress, which is a federal felony and, therefore, a crime. Explained Kennedy, even though lying to the United States Congress is a felony, under the precedent that the majority leader and our Democratic colleagues established, it’s not a high crime [or] misdemeanor” in the eyes of Senate Democrats.

Democrats’ actions have established a new loophole for excusing officials for impeachable offenses.

“I'm trying to follow the Senate majority leader’s logic: What do you have to do to get impeached now? I mean, a felony is not sufficient [according to Democrats]. What’s above a felony?” added Kennedy.

Kennedy made three motions that would have prevented Senate Democrats from shutting down the impeachment proceedings without giving House impeachment managers the opportunity to present their evidence to Senators or Mayorkas the opportunity to defend himself against the impeachment charges.

I predicted that Sen. Schumer—for the first time in Senate history—was going to bury the articles of impeachment against a sitting official without a full trial, and he did. Democrats are destroying the Senate to keep Americans from seeing the evidence of how royally the Biden administration has screwed up our southern border—but the American people know a whitewash when they see it. 

“Americans can’t escape the evidence of the crime, drugs, human trafficking and suffering surging through the open border and into their neighborhoods and families,” said Kennedy. 

Kennedy also spoke about impeachment at a press conference yesterday, April 16. Watch those remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $4,088,736 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Louisiana disaster aid.

“Hurricane Laura devastated southwest Louisiana. This $4.1 million will help McNeese University and Cameron Parish recover from the serious damage Laura left behind,” said Kennedy.

The FEMA aid will fund the following:

  • $3,039,347 to the Office of Risk Management for the replacement of various damaged contents in McNeese University buildings.
  • $1,049,389 to Cameron Parish for repairs to the water tower in District 10.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a resolution urging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members not to confirm the next secretary general unless the nominee is the former leader of a member country that spends at least two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense.

“NATO can’t deter or answer aggression from hostile regimes if our own member nations show a lack of resolve. No leader from a country that fails to meet its own defense pledge should be able to lead NATO. It’s up to the Senate to deter Iran, China and Russia by ensuring that NATO’s secretary general hails from a country that’s already fulfilling its commitment to the alliance,” said Kennedy.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s term will expire in October. The Netherlands’ Mark Rutte is likely to replace Stoltenberg despite the fact that, throughout Rutte’s 13 years as prime minister, his administration failed to meet its NATO commitment to invest two percent of the Netherlands’ GDP in defense.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) have cosponsored the resolution. 

Kennedy’s resolution:

  • Recognizes that, in 2006 and 2014, NATO members agreed to invest two percent of their GDP in defense.
  • Recognizes that, by 2022, only 11 countries had met this minimum defense spending goal.
  • Recognizes that, by 2024, NATO expects 18 member countries to have met the minimum investment.
  • Declares that NATO’s next secretary general should hail from a country that meets the alliance’s defense spending pledge.
  • Declares that NATO will never be fully effective as long as its secretary general represents a member country that does not even fulfill its commitment to its own defense. 

Background:

  • In 2006, member countries of NATO first agreed to spend two percent of their respective GDP’s on defense. At the 2014 NATO Summit in Wales, all member countries once again committed to maintain or move toward meeting the two percent defense spending minimum within 10 years. 
  • As of 2023, only 11 member countries had met the two percent minimum, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Poland and Finland.
  • Many member countries issued statements pledging to meet the minimum investment following Russia’s invading Ukraine, yet many member countries may not reach the minimum contribution until 2035.  
  • Kennedy recently commended NATO allies for increasing defense spending and has consistently called on other countries to meet their commitments. 
  • Kennedy recently led a bipartisan resolution urging NATO allies to spend a minimum of two percent of their GDP on defense spending. 

Full text of the senator’s resolution is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Consensus in Sentencing Act to require the U.S. Sentencing Commission to achieve bipartisan agreement to make major policy changes.

The legislation would amend 28 U.S.C. § 994(a) to require that amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines receive five votes from the Commission’s seven voting members. 

“The Sentencing Commission for decades strove to achieve bipartisan agreement when adopting amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines. In recent years, the Commission has lost its way and begun forcing through amendments on party-line votes. My bill would help the Sentencing Commission revive its consensus-building culture,” said Kennedy. 

Background: 

  • The Sentencing Commission is made up of seven voting members. No more than four members can belong to the same political party. 
  • In a sharp break from its traditional bipartisan practices, the Commission’s current leadership has forced through several major policy changes to federal sentencing law on a party-line basis.
  • The Commission is currently considering several other major proposed changes.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) cosponsored the legislation.

Full text of the Consensus in Sentencing Act is available here

Watch Kennedy’s comments here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today cautioned his colleagues against breaking centuries of Senate precedent by quashing the impeachment of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas without allowing a full trial.

Kennedy delivered his remarks shortly after the House of Representatives presented the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Key excerpts from Kennedy’s speech are below:

“This doesn’t happen every day or every week or every month or even every year around here. Our country is almost 250 years old. This has only happened 22 times. . . . Every single time, except for when the public official has quit, the United States Senate has done its job—through thick and thin, whether the Democrats were in the majority or the Republicans were in the majority.

“It didn't matter who the president was. We did our job because we respect the institution of the Constitution. We respect the three branches of government. We respect the United States House of Representatives. We respect them enough to do our job.”

. . .

“Now, in the next two days, you’re going to hear one of my colleagues, the majority leader, say we don’t need to hold a trial. He’s going to say the evidence is insufficient: It’s not worth our time.

“I want you to think for a moment. Just ask yourself this question: How does he know the evidence isn’t sufficient? How does he know? He hasn’t heard the evidence.”

. . .

“It’s about raw, gut politics. Some of my colleagues in this body do not want us to talk about the border in an election year, and we all know that. You know that. I know that.  Everybody watching knows that. The American people know that. They may be poorer under President Biden, but they’re not stupid. They can see that. And that’s not right. . . . Regardless of what you think or what you may think you think without having heard the evidence, the United States Senate should do its job. We should hold a trial.”

. . .

“They’ve got the majority. I believe in the rule of law and the rules are the rules, but sometimes the majority just means that all of the fools are on the same side. That’s why we have a Bill of Rights in our Constitution to protect our rights. . . . This is a political decision, and it’s an insult to the Senate. It’s one more step of the United States Senate rotting from within where we don’t do our job for political reasons.” 

Watch Kennedy’s full speech here.

Kennedy also spoke about impeachment at an earlier press conference on Tuesday. Watch those remarks here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today called upon the Biden administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to investigate the Czechoslovak Group’s (CSG) proposed acquisition of U.S. ammunition producer Vista Outdoor Sporting Products. 

Kennedy wrote Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Chair of the CFIUS, about concerns regarding the deal because it would lead to an unprecedented consolidation in the global ammunitions market.

“I write to draw your attention to potential national security concerns arising from the proposed acquisition of Vista Outdoor's Sporting Products business (‘Vista Sporting Products’) to Czechoslovak Group (‘CSG’), a foreign arms dealer with ties to China that has been recently acquiring key suppliers of ammunition and primers used by the U.S. military and law enforcement,” Kennedy wrote. 

The senator highlighted three main concerns about the acquisition, including that it would give CSG immediately control over nearly 70% of production capacity for primers in the western world. That means that the U.S. Army could become reliant on a sole U.S. contractor for ammunition and U.S. law enforcement agencies would become more reliant on foreign providers of primers and ammunition.

“Further complicating this matter, questions have arisen in recent weeks related to CSG's relationships with China. It appears the company has taken actions to obscure its past relationships with China and insist it has no current relationships with our adversaries,”the senator continued.

“For these reasons, I request CFIUS to carefully examine national security concerns of the proposed acquisition, specifically concerning the potential impact of the transaction on the U.S. military and law enforcement's reliable access to an affordable supply of primers and ammunition, and the company's attempts to obfuscate its relationship with China,” Kennedy concluded.

Background: 

  • On Oct. 16, 2023, Vista Outdoor announced an agreement to sell its Sporting Products business to CSG for $1.9 billion. 
  • The proposed acquisition is the latest example of unprecedented consolidation in the global ammunition market occurring in Europe. For example, Beretta acquired the Ammotec division of RUAG International in March 2022, and CSG gained a majority stake investment in Fiocchi Munizioni in Nov. 2023.
  • The proposed acquisition must undergo shareholder and regulatory approvals, including a national security review, by CFIUS.
  • In Dec. 2023, Vista Outdoor and CSG disclosed that they received antitrust approval from U.S. antitrust regulators. However, the proposed acquisition did not happen within the initial 45-day CFIUS review window.

The full letter is available here.

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today joined more than 40 of his Republican colleagues in calling on Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to allow the Senate to hold a full and fair trial over the House of Representatives’ articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

Kennedy introduced a resolution on the floor this week to give the Senate the procedural tools it needs to conduct a full and fair trial over the charges against Mayorkas.

Senate Democrats blocked the resolution, indicating that they intend to break centuries of precedent by dismissing or tabling the House’s impeachment charges against Mayorkas.

“Encounters in fiscal year 2023 increased a startling 440% over fiscal year 2020. The border crisis under Secretary Mayorkas has become a nightmare for the American people,” the senators wrote. 

“The House of Representatives has considered this evidence and impeached Secretary Mayorkas. Our constitutional duty requires the Senate to hold a trial. In every previous congressional impeachment of the past 227 years, Congress has been faithful to the process set out by the framers . . . Never before has the Senate abandoned this duty, even when certain members believed the basis for impeachment was tenuous at best,” they continued.

“In the face of the disaster that mounts daily at our southern border, and in communities across America, the House of Representatives has formally accused Alejandro Mayorkas of demeaning his office. The American people deserve to hear the evidence through a Senate trial in the Court of Impeachment,” the senators concluded.

Full text of the letter is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today introduced the Embracing anti-Discrimination, Unbiased Curricula and Advancing Truth in Education (EDUCATE) Act to block federal funding for medical schools and accrediting institutions that force students to affirm ideological beliefs and prioritize Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

“Woke universities are forcing America’s future doctors to care more about race and gender than saving lives. The EDUCATE Act would make sure taxpayer dollars don’t fund medical schools that discriminate against talented students or peddle progressive nonsense at the expense of science,” said Kennedy. 

Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.) is co-leading the legislation.

“The medical field has traditionally been one driven by core tenants of merit, academic excellence, and superb scientific achievement, but that has not stopped the left from their malpractice of injecting DEI into every aspect of education in America. To cheapen medical schools with woke politics and DEI would be to put the lives of countless Americans in danger as students of extraordinary achievement and meticulous discipline in the field will be cast aside in the name of social justice and equity,” said Schmitt.

Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives.

“American medical schools are the best in the world and no place for discrimination. The EDUCATE Act compels medical schools and accrediting agencies to uphold colorblind admissions processes and prohibits the coercion of students who hold certain political opinions. Diversity strengthens medicine, but not if it’s achieved through exclusionary practices. Medicine is about serving others and doing the best job possible in every circumstance. We cannot afford to sacrifice the excellence and quality of medical education at the hands of prejudice and divisive ideology,” said Murphy.

The EDUCATE Act would block federal funding from medical schools that:

  • Direct, compel or incentivize students, faculty or staff to affirm or adopt certain ideological tenets.
  • Take any action that would deprive a student of educational opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his or her status as a student on the basis of race or ethnicity. 
  • Require a course of instruction that directs or compels students, faculty or staff to affirm or adopt certain ideological tenets. 
  • Maintain a DEI or equivalent office within the medical school.
  • Require or incentivize an individual to complete a diversity statement that affirms or capitulates to DEI as a condition of the person’s being admitted to or employed by a school.

Full text of the EDUCATE Act is available here.

 

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today along with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the bipartisan Samaritan Efforts to Ensure Key Health Emergency and Life-saving Protections (SEEK HELP) Act to provide Americans with life-saving treatment during an opioid overdose. 

“In 2022 alone, about 1,400 Louisianians lost their lives to opioid overdoses. The SEEK HELP Act would get more Americans the life-saving treatment they need when they fall victim to an opioid overdose, and the Senate should pass it immediately,” said Kennedy.

“The drug overdose crisis is ravaging communities across the nation, and far too many Americans have lost their lives as a tragic consequence. We can and must do more. I'm proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help combat this crisis, protect those seeking to help others, and ultimately save more lives,” said Booker.

Sens. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) cosponsored the legislation.

The SEEK HELP Act would:

  • Create civil liability protections for individuals who administer an opioid reversal drug. 
  • Offer criminal immunity to an individual who seeks medical help for someone experiencing an opioid overdose. 
  • Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to carry out a public awareness campaign about these liability protections to encourage more Americans to get medical assistance when experiencing a drug overdose. 

The National District Attorneys Association, Americans for Prosperity, Association for Prosecuting Attorneys, Due Process Institute, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, R Street and Vera Institute support the bill. 

“The SEEK HELP Act is a significant stride in our battle against the opioid epidemic. With its provision of legal protections during overdose situations and efforts to raise awareness of Good Samaritan Laws, this legislation not only saves lives but also strengthens trust between law enforcement and communities. Ultimately, the SEEK HELP Act enhances public safety and fosters healthier, more resilient communities,” said Nelson Bunn, Executive Director of the National District Attorneys Association.

Full text of the SEEK HELP Act is available here.