The Leahy Letter - July 2, 2009

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

Accessible and Affordable Health Care
For All Americans

One of the top issues facing Congress and the American people today is health care reform. Ensuring that no American goes without needed health care is a top priority for Senator Leahy and the Obama Administration. Senator Leahy has recorded a message to Vermonters on the importance of this challenge. You can view Senator Leahy's remarks on his YouTube channel here or read more about his thoughts on health care here.


Leahy Announces $6.5 Million
In New First-Responder Grants To Vermont

On June 16, Senator Leahy announced $6.25 million in grants for Vermont through the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP). These grants support state and local law enforcement efforts to prvent, identify and respond to homeland security threats. Since 2002, Vermont has received more than $87 million in first-responder grants. To read more about these grants, click here.


Leahy Launches Drive To Extend
Federal Death Payments
To Nonprofit EMS Personnel

Last week Senator Leahy introduced legislation to extend the federal Public Safety Officers Benefits (PSOB) program to paramedics and emergency medical technicians killed or disabled in the line of duty who are employed by nonprofit organizations and ambulance services. Senator Bernie Sanders is a cosponsor of the bill, which is named after Dale Long, the Bennington emergency medical service provider who was tragically killed in an ambulance last month. The bill would qualify an estimated 1200 Vermont EMS personnel for the PSOB program, run by the Department of Justice.

News You Can Use
Vermont Is Getting A New Passport Office

Have you ever planned a trip overseas and days before your departure you realize your passport has expired? Soon you will be able to get a renewed passport without having to drive to Boston. Earlier this month, Senator Leahy announced that Vermont will be getting a new Passport Agency office, providing Vermonters with a greater range of passport services than local clerks and post offices are able to offer. Click here for more information on the new passport office.

REMINDER: If you are traveling to Canada this summer, there are upgraded document requirements for travelers crossing the U.S. border by land. Click here for more information from the Department of Homeland Security's travel website.

Armored Vehicle
Photo: Oshkosh Corporation

Bennington Firm Receives Contract
For Armored Vehicles Engineered
For The Tough Terrain Of Afghanistan

On Wednesday Senator Leahy announced that Bennington-based Plasan North America will help build a new agile armored vehicle that will help protect troops and create more than 100 jobs throughout the Bennington area. Plasan, and Wisconisn-based Oshkosh Corporation, were awarded a contract to produce 2,244 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV), which is designed specifically to negotiate the difficult terrain and dirt roads of Afghanistan. In late May, Senator Leahy visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and saw first-hand the need for these vehicles in Afghanistan. In the appropriations bill signed into law last month, Leahy-led funding was included for these vehicles. Senator Leahy is hopeful that the M-ATV will be widely used in Afghanistan before, during and after Vermonters arrive there. For more information on the M-ATV, click here.

You can visit the website to find out more about Senator Leahy's recent trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, or to view several photos of the trip by Senator Leahy.


Confirmation Hearings Of Judge Sonia Sotomayor
To Be Associate Justice Of The U.S. Supreme Court
To Begin July 13

Senator Leahy speaks at UDC School of Law

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which Senator Leahy chairs, will hold hearings on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination beginning July 13. You can watch a video of Senator Leahy's remarks about the confirmation process from his UDC School of Law Rauh lecture on June 16 or find out other information about the hearings here.

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693