Press releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Appropriations Committee, announced today that four of his amendments were adopted into H.R.6157, the Minibus Appropriations bill, which cleared the Senate.  The amendments tackle the waste of taxpayer dollars by forcing the Department of Labor to address the increased number of improper payments and by halting the award of defense contracts to companies with delinquent tax bills.

The minibus includes funding for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.  The Senate has now passed nine of 12 spending bills, containing 90% of discretionary spending for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.

“This package is one of the many reasons why I joined my colleagues earlier this year in calling for the cancelation of August recess.  We need to help American taxpayers thrive,” said Sen. Kennedy.  “We can reduce the deficit simply by spending taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars wisely.  We need to have a zero tolerance policy on improper payments, and we need to stop rewarding contractors who refuse to pay their taxes.”

Sen. Kennedy Amendments:

  • Stopping fraud and waste
    • Department of Labor programs have a growing problem of paying workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits to people who shouldn’t receive them.
    • In Fiscal Year 2017, the Department of Labor made $4.1 billion in improper payments.
    • Some of these payments are simply because government employees goofed and paid people too much.
    • We need to get a handle on this escalating problem.
    • This amendment will force the Department of Labor to develop a plan to reduce these overpayments.
  • Not rewarding contractors who fail to pay their taxes
    • Companies are winning federal contracts even though they’re not paying their IRS bills.
    • DTM Corporation received $137 million in contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense despite owing $5.2 million in taxes.
    • Next year’s deficit is projected to top $1 trillion.
    • We cannot afford to reward contractors with big contracts when they’re not paying their taxes.
    • This amendment will prohibit defense contractors who are delinquent on their taxes from receiving federal contracts.
  • Withholding taxpayer dollars from Iran
    • Iran is allowing terrorism to flourish, endangering America’s long-term national security.
    • Iran sent weapons to conflicts in Yemen and Syria in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
    • We should not financially support Iran.
    • This amendment prohibits any Department of Defense funds from being used to aid Iran.
  • Preventing suicides
    • The Senate agreed to increase funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from $7.198 million to $10 million.
    • Suicide rates in Louisiana have increased nearly 30% since 1999.
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential help 24 hours a day.
    • The Senate voted 95-0 Tuesday in favor of this amendment.