WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined S.172, the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act of 2019, to keep health care costs down for families across Louisiana by delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Tax. This punitive tax – if it is allowed to take effect - would increase costs for everyone from senior citizens to small businesses.
Sen. Kennedy also joined S.283, which would increase access to osteoporosis screenings for Medicare patients. Medicare reimbursement for these screenings has shrunk, resulting in an increase in hip fractures.
“Obamacare sucks, and the Health Insurance Tax really sucks. It would create $16 billion in additional fees on health insurance and send premiums through the roof. Health care is expensive enough without this ridiculous tax,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It’s also ridiculous to discourage health screenings that literally save lives. By testing for osteoporosis, we can prevent possibly fatal falls.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after voting today in favor of a Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations package:
“This package isn’t perfect, but it’s a good start toward protecting our southern border. It’s not $5.7 billion, but it’s also not the bounced check that Democrats wanted to write. Border walls work, and they’re needed to stop violent, illegal immigrants from getting into this country,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The package also gives the Coast Guard a pay raise. Active duty members will receive a 2.6% boost in pay, and they deserve it.”
Feb 07 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) announced today that St. Bernard Parish will receive $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help pay for the construction costs of Meraux Elementary School.
“After Hurricane Katrina, St. Bernard Parish made the necessary decision to relocate a school that was outside levee protection,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Meraux Elementary School is a state-of-the-art facility that offers students a safe and strong learning environment. This money will help the parish with the construction bills.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation To Combat Rising Prescription Drug Prices
Feb 07 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined his colleagues in cosponsoring the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act (CREATES) to combat the rising cost of prescription drugs.
The CREATES Act would deter the practice of discouraging lower-cost generic drugs from entering the market. Brand-name pharmaceutical and biologic companies block cheaper generic drugs from entering the market to keep the cost of their own products high.
This legislation would create more competition among pharmaceutical drug companies, lowering prescription drug costs.
“Families across Louisiana are struggling to pay for costly prescription drugs. Consumers should have the freedom to buy name-brand pharmaceutical drugs or generic ones,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This legislation is a good first step in lowering pharmaceutical drug prices. Families shouldn’t have to ration their medicines or go without other necessities because prescription drug prices are too high.”
“I hear from Vermonters every day that rising prescription drug prices are a larger strain each year on their tight budgets,” said Sen. Leahy. “For too long, a few predatory name brand companies have used anticompetitive strategies to delay entry of lower cost generic drugs. When these companies use unfair practices to keep drug prices artificially high, patients suffer. Patients, families and government programs shouldn’t have to cope with increased drug costs to help name brand companies’ bottom lines. Our bipartisan bill continues to gain momentum. It is precisely targeted to stop these abuses, and I’m committed to working on behalf of Vermonters in Congress to see that CREATES and other vital efforts to lower prescription drug prices are signed into law.”
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill would result in a $3.9 billion net decrease in the federal deficit.
This legislation is supported by the AARP, American College of Physicians, Freedom Works and many more. The bill was introduced by Senators Leahy (D-Vt.), Grassley (R-Iowa), Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lee (R-Utah).
Feb 07 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced amendments today to the public lands package that will help preserve Louisiana’s natural beauty by conserving wetlands through the reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
“It’s no secret that we’re struggling to save our wetlands,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, we’ve been able to conserve 793,701 acres of wildlife habitats across Louisiana. Our wetlands are an important storm buffer, and they support generations of fishermen and shrimpers. My amendment will reauthorize this program for another five years, allowing us to continue this conservation work.”
Sen. Kennedy’s other amendments include:
- A request for expedited action against the emerald ash borer. This is an invasive bug that destroys ash trees. It’s been found in more than 30 states, including Louisiana.
- An adjustment of the rules to make it more financially feasible for private companies to contract with wildlife refuges. Currently, wildlife refuges are having trouble finding contractors to offer canoe rentals and guided nature hikes that increase visits.
- A study of the causes behind Louisiana’s lackluster duck season.
Feb 06 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) thanked Senate custodian Justina Pettway today for being his guest to the State of the Union address. This is the second year that Sen. Kennedy has invited a member of the Senate custodial staff to be his guest to the State of the Union. Pettway serves as a custodian through Goodwill of Greater Washington’s AbilityOne program. The AbilityOne program is a federal initiative to help people who have significant disabilities find employment through a national network of nonprofit agencies that contract with the federal government.
Before President Donald J. Trump’s address, Sen. Kennedy and Pettway attended the Secretary of the Senate’s State of the Union Supper. Following the supper, Sen. Kennedy gave Pettway a tour of the U.S. Capitol, including a visit to the Senate floor. It was Pettway’s first visit to the Senate chamber despite working in the Capitol complex.
“It was such a joy to have Justina as my guest at the State of the Union,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I had a great time showing her around the Capitol, and getting a chance to express my gratitude for all of the good work she does in the Russell Senate building. She is such a hard worker, so I hope she enjoyed watching history unfold.”
“I loved it. It was nice,” said Pettway. “I mean I really enjoyed myself last night with Mr. Kennedy. I really did. He’s a good person… If they’d have me, I would love to go again. I had a good time. I had a good time listening to the president’s speech.”
Feb 05 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) invited Justina Pettway to attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. Pettway serves as a custodian in the Russell Senate Office Building through Goodwill of Greater Washington’s AbilityOne program. Pettway was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and she is very dedicated to her job.
This is the second year in a row that Sen. Kennedy has invited someone from the AbilityOne Program to accompany him to the State of the Union. Many local Goodwill® organizations participate in the AbilityOne program, a federal initiative to help people who are blind or have other significant disabilities find employment through a national network of nonprofit agencies that contract with the federal government.
“Justina is such a joy to see in the hallways around Russell. Her smile can light up a room and light up your day. She also works very hard and is good at her job,” said Sen. Kennedy. “I am excited to have her accompany me to the State of Union address. She helps daily to maintain a friendly and welcoming work environment on the Hill for the senators, our staff and the public. She deserves to enjoy this historic event.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee, announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services is awarding $8.4 million to five Louisiana health centers.
“Our Louisiana health centers provide first-rate care to the vulnerable folks in our community,” said Sen. Kennedy. “These grants help our health centers continue to provide quality, primary health care.”
- MQVC Community Development Corporation in New Orleans received a $1,161,250 grant.
- Morehouse Community Medical Centers, Inc. in Bastrop received a $2,136,881 grant.
- Casse Dental Health Institute in Mansfield received a $2,278,332 grant.
- Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority in Metairie received a $1,235,565 grant.
- New Orleans AIDs Task Force in New Orleans received a $1,660,374 grant.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the 30th anniversary of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) joined bipartisan legislation to reauthorize NAWCA through 2024. The legislation would also increase authorized annual funding for the program to $60 million.
NAWCA was originally enacted in 1989 to provide federal cost-share funding—in partnership with funding from state and local governments, private industry, and non-profit organizations like Ducks Unlimited—to projects that conserve North America’s waterfowl, fish, and wildlife resources.
Sens. Kennedy and Cassidy joined U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and other colleagues in introducing the legislation.
“In less than a century, Louisiana’s lost 1.2 million acres of wetlands,” said Senator Kennedy. “That’s the equivalent of the state of Delaware. I am proud to support the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act to rescue our wetlands. These habitats aren’t just a part of Louisiana’s landscape. They protect us from storms and bolster our economy. Preserving and restoring them is paramount to the Louisiana families who depend on our seafood and energy industries.”
“Wetlands are the heart and soul of Louisiana’s environment. They give recreation, jobs and protection from storms. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act must be renewed. So much in Louisiana and our country depends upon it,” said Senator Cassidy.
“For more than 30 years, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has been a proven, cost-effective program for conserving our nation’s vital wetland and waterfowl habitat,” said President of Ducks Unlimited Rogers Hoyt. “The introduction of this bill is a noteworthy first step to ensure the next generation of Americans, especially waterfowl hunters, have access to the same natural resources we enjoy today. We thank Senators Heinrich, Kennedy, Cassidy, Carper and their colleagues for this strong act of bipartisan support of the NAWCA program and look forward to working with Congress to pass this bill.”
Wetlands secure freshwater supplies, recharge aquifers, and mitigate soil erosion and flooding disasters. In addition, waterfowl, migratory birds, fish, and mammals that depend on wetlands support multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and photography. NAWCA funding has been critical to acquiring, restoring, and enhancing this habitat in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico. In total, nearly 3,000 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation and restoration of nearly 30 million acres of habitat all across North America.
NAWCA has provided a great return on investment, generating, on average, three additional dollars for every federal dollar. Over the program’s history, federal grants totaling more than $1.6 billion have spurred $4.68 billion for NAWCA projects through matching and nonmatching funds. NAWCA funds have also supported an average of 7,500 jobs each year and more than $5 billion in annual economic activity.
A copy of the bill is available here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today warned against the United States Senate abandoning the Kurds in Syria if the Strengthening America’s Security in Middle East Act, S. 1, moves forward without his amendment to include protections for these important allies. Sen. Kennedy introduced an amendment to protect the Syrian Kurds Monday.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) helped reduce the number of ISIS fighters in Syria from approximately 100,000 in 2014 to less than 5,000 today. Five years ago, ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria, but American military forces with the help of SDF have retaken 99% of ISIS’s territory including its capital in Raqqa.
“Without my amendment, we may be leaving the Kurds to be slaughtered after they withstood incomprehensible suffering to fight Islamist tyranny,” said Sen. Kennedy. “It’s that simple. I support what the bill does to protect Israel and strengthen our bond with Jordan. But it’s a hollow boast to claim this bill protects our allies in the Middle East when it leaves out protection for the Syrian Kurds. Even worse, we are breaking a promise to protect our allies.”
Click here or the photo below to watch Sen. Kennedy discuss his amendment on the Senate floor.