09.24.09

Comment On Free Flow Of Information Act

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made the following remarks at an executive business meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 24.

“This morning we have the opportunity to make progress on a number of items on our agenda.  I have been terribly disappointed over the past several weeks that we have not made more progress on the Free Flow of Information Act.  I placed that matter on the agenda some time ago and have worked with Senator Schumer and Senator Specter, the lead sponsors, and with the administration, and I tried to work with Republican Senators to proceed as we did last Congress to report the bill to the Senate.  I have tried to be fair to all, and to allow time for the sponsors to have discussions that could lead to moving this important legislation.  I support it now as I did when I cosponsored it and worked as Chairman to report it last Congress.

“I was pleased to hear Senator Schumer say last week that discussions are making progress, and I look forward to those discussions culminating in more movement and support for the bill soon.  Today Senator Schumer, a leading proponent, and several Republican opponents, cannot be with us because of the Finance Committee markup of health care reform legislation.  In spite of the time we have devoted to the measure over several months and, in particular, the last two weeks, in light of the unavailability of interested Senators, and in light of the ongoing discussions, I do not believe we will be able to break through the opposition today and end debate on that measure and have it voted on—up or down.”

Under Leahy’s chairmanship in the 110th Congress, the Judiciary Committee for the first time reported legislation to establish a federal, qualified reporters shield law.  Leahy first listed the legislation for Committee consideration in April.  Leahy expressed disappointment last week when the Committee was unable to consider amendments to the legislation.

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