Leahy In The News

Leahy In the News

In addition to Op-Eds that Senator Leahy periodically writes for Vermont and national newspapers, you will find profile stories and links to articles written about issues important to Senator Leahy.


Time for health insurers to compete

As the Senate considers historic reforms to health care and the health insurance industry, it should repeal the health and medical malpractice insurance industries' exemption from federal antitrust laws. The exemption, enacted nearly 65 years ago, has served the financial interests of the insurance industry at the expense of consumers for far too long. Meaningful reforms to our health-care system must protect consumers and promote competition. Just as we believe that a strong public option will… Continue Reading


Funds Approved To Manage Bat Disease

The $1.9 million approved recently in Congress to manage a mystery disease that's killed high numbers of bats in Vermont and New York likely will be spent to implement priorities of a national plan being written to help find a solution to white-nose syndrome as it continues to spread. The emergency money, contained in the 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, was approved in conference committee recently and is expected to be awarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "… Continue Reading


A new view of food scraps’ potential; There’s power on your plate

Instead of thinking "yuck" when faced with shriveled brown apple cores, slimly spinach leaves and stinky chicken bones, Dan Hecht of Montpelier thinks "energy." "There is value to be derived from stuff we throw away," he said. In an age when finding alternative sources of energy is both a state and national priority, Hecht points to the potential in a squandered resource: food scraps. For one thing, it's plentiful, Hecht said: "Every city and town in America already possesses a major s… Continue Reading


Fight Drug Crimes And Ensure Justice, Accountability

The need for international cooperation to crack down on drug cartels is beyond question. Just a few weeks ago, gunmen killed Mexico Chief of Police Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez in his home. In a single week, more than 100 people, including about 20 police officers, were killed in drug-related violence. Some of those suspected of having a hand in these crimes are police officers themselves, moonlighting for the cartels. On May 22, the U.S. Senate approved $450 million for the f… Continue Reading


Truckin': The Pat Leahy Story

Patrick J Leahy is the stuff of legend and he isn't finished yet. Passionate native Vermonter, devoted family man, land mine opponent, free-speech advocate, storyteller, defender of the US Constitution, published photographer, early Obama supporter, six-term US senator (the only Democrat Vermont has ever sent to the Senate), caster of 13,000 senatorial votes (only eight have achieved this longevity), fourth in seniority in a place where seniority really matters, highly publicized enemy of former… Continue Reading


A Supreme Court For All Americans

Among the most serious constitutional duties entrusted to Congress is the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices. As President Obama prepares to announce his first nominee to the nation's highest court, this is a good time to consider the vital role played by the Court in our system of government and in Americans' everyday lives. Through recent, narrowly decided cases, we have seen clearly the Supreme Court's impact on ordinary Americans. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear, we saw t… Continue Reading


Give Ingenuity Freer Rein

[On April 29, 2009, Business Week included this Op-Ed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Leahy wrote in support of the Patent Reform Act currently before Congress.] Ingenuity and innovation have been cornerstones of the American economy from the time Thomas Jefferson issued the first patent. The Patent Reform Act will preserve America's longstanding position at the pinnacle of innovation. It will establish a more efficient, streamlined patent system that will i… Continue Reading


A Crucial Voting Rights Case Reaches The Supreme Court

[The following guest column by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was originally published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 29, 2009. This morning, Leahy attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, a case involving Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.] Today the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a case challenging the constitutional authority of Congress to reauthorize Section 5 of th… Continue Reading


Stronger Tools And Better Watchdogging Needed To Protect Public From Housing, Financial And Bailout Fraud

The following guest column by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) about the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act was originally published in the Rutland Herald (Vermont) on April 22, 2009. The Senate this week is debating the Leahy-authored anti-fraud measure. This week the Senate is nearing a vote on legislation to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute the kinds of financial frauds that have severely undermined our economy and… Continue Reading


Fresh Victories For The Public's Right To Know

There is reason to hope that an era of greater openness is coming. As we mark this fifth annual Sunshine Week, some of the recent clouds obstructing the public's right to know are giving way to more transparency. The American people are beginning to get a better glimpse of how their government works - or sometimes doesn't work so well. Already there is some good news for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the law that gives life to the public's right to k… Continue Reading


The Need For Justice

(as submitted to the Kathmandu Post) Three years ago, thousands of brave Nepalis took to the streets to protest the abuses of a corrupt monarch and the security forces under his control. Since then there have been some remarkable, positive changes in Nepal, and yet its future as a peaceful, democratic republic is far from secure. The Nepali people who risked their lives -- and some gave their lives -- did so, like the founding patriots of my country, with the conviction that they deserve… Continue Reading


Capturing The Moment In An Image

On the Tuesday a week before his inauguration, Barack Obama came to his last meeting of the Senate Democratic Caucus before becoming president. There, a few steps from the Senate Chamber, in the historic Mansfield Room, he met with all of the Senate's Democratic members, just as we meet together each week to discuss the most pressing policy issues on the nation's agenda. But this meeting was special, and attendance - and attention - was especially keen this time. The problems the nation… Continue Reading


A Timely Bid In Support Of Equal Pay For Equal Work

In today, the United States Senate will consider an important step toward restoring a core principle in our society: that employers should provide equal pay for equal work. Three years ago the Bush administration ignored the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's long-held interpretation of discrimination laws and court rulings across the country when it advocated a position that set back the progress made toward eliminating workplace discrimination. Unfortunately, five justices of t… Continue Reading


New Treaty Should Prompt New Administration To Review U.S. Policy On Cluster Munitions

"If you had them on your land, if your children faced them, you'd ban them for sure." Those are the words of an Afghan boy who lost both legs after picking up an errant U.S. cluster munition in a public park. It is estimated that nearly 100,000 civilians have been maimed or killed by cluster bombs, which scatter hundreds of deadly munitions over a wide area. During the past 50 years, vast areas of arable land have been turned into death traps by unexploded duds that remain lethal long a… Continue Reading


Every Consumer Has A Stake In Vermonter’s Election-Eve Day In Court

When Vermonter Diana Levine has her day in the highest court in the land today, every American consumer will have a stake in the outcome. Like an escalating number of the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in recent years, this case reaches into the lives of ordinary Americans in profound ways. Largely unknown yet to most Americans, those decisions are reshaping our constitutional rights to privacy, free speech and full access to justice. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a series of he… Continue Reading


Attorney General Must Work Without Partisanship

In much the same way that our financial system is suffering a crisis of confidence, our Justice Department - the flagship of our system of justice - also faces a difficult road to rebuild trust after a crisis of leadership and conscience. The infusion of politics into the Justice Department and an abdication of responsibility by its leaders have dealt a severe blow, squandering the public's trust in a system that is supposed to apply our laws without fear or favor. Investigations by Con… Continue Reading


Time To Clarify Military Roles In Disaster Relief Here At Home

Never the squeaky wheel, but ever ready in an emergency, the National Guard too often is easy to take for granted. But when cities flood, hillsides are engulfed in flame, storms lash our communities, or terrorism strikes, the Guard is promptly on the scene, saving lives and restoring order. The military side of our preparedness grid is in better shape than it was in the late-summer of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. National Guard units from across the country str… Continue Reading


Overcoming The Supreme Court’s Cramped Ruling On Fair Pay

(The U.S. Senate this week will try to overcome a filibuster on legislation to remedy a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that disallowed the discriminatory pay complaint filed by Goodyear Tire employee Lilly Ledbetter. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is a cosponsor of the bill. Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.) The Supreme Court's recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire struck a severe blow to the rights of working women. More than 40 years ago, Congress acted to preven… Continue Reading


A Ray of Hope On The Horizon For FOIA

This year's Sunshine Week brings new rays of hope for the public's right to know. The first reform to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade is newly on the books, and increasing government transparency is becoming a greater part of public debate and discussion. With last year's enactment of the bipartisan Leahy-Cornyn Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government ("OPEN Government") Act, Congress signaled an interest in seeking more openness … Continue Reading


Scare Tactics And Our Surveillance Bill

Nothing is more important to the American people than our safety and our freedom. As the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees, we have an enormous responsibility to protect both. Unfortunately, instead of working with Congress to achieve the best policies to keep our country safe, once again President Bush has resorted to scare tactics and political games. In November, the House passed legislation to give U.S. intelligence agencies strong tools to interce… Continue Reading

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