Watch Kennedy’s comments here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced and asked the Senate to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021. The bill would provide $1.1 billion in disaster relief to Louisianians recovering from Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta. To pay for the aid, Kennedy proposed using revenue from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) spectrum auction last year. That would leave the government with no need to borrow money or add to the deficit. The Senate blocked the bill’s passage.
“I know this has been true for states besides Louisiana, but the last 18 months in Louisiana, from a weather perspective, has been a fantastic impression of hell. Today the Senate had an opportunity to send more than $1 billion to help Louisiana recover from historic hurricanes without charging taxpayers a dime, and it balked.
“The people of Louisiana—especially those in southwest Louisiana—have waited too long for the funds they need to rebuild their lives. My legislation would send them aid without adding one red cent to the U.S. debt.
“Louisiana Republicans and Democrats are united on this issue, and we desperately need Pres. Biden to send a request for this disaster aid to Congress. Today makes that fact clearer than ever,” said Kennedy.
The bill would have secured the relief funds from the proceeds of a historic FCC auction that Kennedy advocated for while he was the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government last Congress. The funds would have helped Louisianians still recovering from last year’s storms, which caused billions of dollars of damage and destroyed or damaged more than 100,000 homes.
Kennedy was instrumental in convincing the FCC to conduct a public auction instead of a private sale of C-band spectrum. A private sale would have subsidized foreign companies, but the public auction put U.S. taxpayer interests first and raised more than $80 billion—making it the most profitable FCC auction in history.
Video of Kennedy’s comments today is available here.
Text of the Gulf Coast Hurricane Aid Act of 2021 is available here.