The Leahy Letter - January 30, 2009

Senator Patrick Leahy's Update from the Nation's Capital

Reinvestment Plan Will Help America And Vermont

On Tuesday January 27, 2009, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to provide assistance to hardworking Americans struggling during the widening economic crisis. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy has been working to incorporate priorities important to Vermont, including expanded broadband access, an increase in nutrition programs, and much needed improvements to Vermont's transportation infrastructure. Official estimates released late Friday show that Vermont would receive a two-year minimum of almost $500 million in formula grants under the Senate version. You can read more about what Vermont will gain here and you can watch video of Senator Leahy discussing the bill here.  


The Senate Passes Reauthorization
Of Children's Health Insurance Program

The new Senate is acting quickly to help those who need it most: the nation's children. Last night the Senate passed the Children's Health Insurance Program, which will extend and renew coverage for millions of uninsured children across the country. In Vermont, this bill will help cover nearly 6,000 children who are eligible for public coverage but who remain uninsured. Click here to see what Senator Leahy has to say about CHIP and how this legislation will affect Vermont's uninsured children. 


From his vantage point behind the President, Senator Leahy was able to capture President Obama signing his first bill into law.
Senator Leahy worked to pass legislation in the last Congress to help workers hurt by blatant pay discrimination, but it was blocked by the Bush Administration. On January 29, 2009, Leahy visited the White House to join President Barack Obama as he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, the President's first bill signing, where he took this backstage photo. Click here to read more about this important legislation.

Peanut Salmonella Outbreak Reaches Vermont

Senator Leahy sent a letter today to the Department of Justice calling for a criminal investigation of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), PCA knowingly sold peanut products containing salmonella, which has resulted in one of the largest food recalls in history. This outbreak has been linked to four cases in Vermont, and more than 500 people in 43 states. Representative Rosa DeLaura of Connecticut joined Senator Leahy in the letter to Acting Attorney General Mark Filip. This afternoon, the FDA announced that the Department of Justice will investigate possible cirminal violations. To read more about what action Senator Leahy is taking, or to read the letter, please click here.

As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Leahy led Holder's nomination through the Committee and secured a vote of 17 to 2 in favor of his confirmation.

Earlier this week, by a vote of 17 to 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported to the full Senate the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. to be the next Attorney General. Holder's nomination was officially announced on December 1, 2008, and Senator Leahy chaired two days of hearings on January 15 and January 16. A vote by the full Senate is expected next week. Click here to read more about the confirmation hearings of the Attorney General.


Leahy's Pick For
Vermont's Next U.S. Attorney

As the senior senator of the President's party, Senator Leahy has the responsibility of suggesting candidates for U.S. Attorney positions to the White House for the President's consideration. Last week, Senator Leahy announced he is recommending Hinesburg attorney Tristam Coffin to be Vermont's next U.S. Attorney. Coffin, 45, would be the 36th U.S. Attorney from Vermont and his responsibilities would include managing the Department of Justice's U.S. Attorney offices in Burlington and Rutland, while also overseeing almost 20 attorneys who represent the United States in criminal and civil investigations in Vermont. Click here to read more about Coffin's candidacy.

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David Carle: 202-224-3693