With no disaster relief for Louisiana, Sen. John Kennedy opposes $1.5 trillion spending bill

Staff Report

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) announced his opposition to the government funding bill, which totals $1.5 trillion but provides no disaster relief to Louisiana following hurricanes that caused $150 billion in damage.

Kennedy's introduction of an amendment to provide $2.5 billion in disaster relief to the state was blocked in the Senate, he stated in a news release.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy is shown as President Joe Biden arrives at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to survey the damage in southeast Louisiana after Hurricane Ida Sept. 3, 2021.

“In 2020, Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana. Then Hurricane Marco hit us. Then Hurricane Delta hit us. Then Hurricane Zeta. Then Hurricane Ida, all in a period of two years. Those storms caused $150 billion in damage. My amendment, and Sen. Cassidy’s amendment, would appropriate $2.5 billion in disaster aid to Louisiana. That would include $600 million for housing aid for Hurricanes Laura and Delta, $1.4 billion in housing aid for Hurricane Ida. The amendment would also provide for $500 million in funding to rebuild Louisiana ports.

“I’m mindful of the fact, Madame President, that we should make sure this aid is paid for. I would remind everyone that, through the heroic efforts of Sen. Schatz and Sen. Cantwell, in which I played a small part, that we forced our FCC not to give away the C-Band to our telecommunications industry, and instead auctioned it out, in which case it brought in $81 billion. And I think we can spare a little bit of that for people who lost their homes and businesses through no fault of their own,” said Kennedy.

He pointed out some of the provisions and spending he believed were misguided:

  • $3.2 billion in subsidies for green energy and $78.3 million for green initiatives at the Department of Agriculture.
  • $172 million for disaster relief for other countries.
  • $220 million for the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery of Art.
  • $45 million for great apes living in central Africa and Indonesia.
  • No provisions to halt implementation of Risk Rating 2.0, a Federal Emergency Management Agency plan that raises flood insurance premiums on Louisianians.