11.24.09

The Leahy Letter - November 24, 2009

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

Senate Begins Debate
On Health Care Bill

On Saturday, November 21, in a rare weekend session, Senator Leahy spoke on the Senate Floor on the Senate's health insurance reform plan. By a vote of 60 to 39, the Senate voted to end a filibuster on a procedural vote. Senator Leahy voted against the filibuster and in support of moving to debate on the bill.

As the Senate debates the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, you can visit Senator Leahy's Senate Checkup for up-to-date information about action on the Senate Floor.

Click below to watch Senator Leahy's speech:

YouTube cap - Health Insurance

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Leahy Questions Attorney General
At Department Of Justice Oversight Hearing

On November 18, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing on Department of Justice oversight. Senator Leahy chaired the hearing and asked Holder a wide range of questions, including about trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York City and about the recent shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas. You can read Senator Leahy's opening statement here or watch Senator Leahy's exchange with the Attorney General on Senator Leahy's YouTube page here.

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Williston Firms Keep Growing Jobs:
Triosyn And MicroStrain Help Protect Troops

On November 17, Senator Leahy announced new Department of Defense contracts for two expanding firms in Williston. Senator Leahy is shown in the above photograph at MicroStrain's high-tech lab, with MicroStrain President Steve Arms, announcing a new $2.4 million contract for the company's work on wireless sensors that monitor the Navy's helicopters. In another visit, Senator Leahy met with leaders and employees of Triosyn, where he announced a new $800,000 contract to develop an antimicrobial wound dressing, which will help reduce deadly infections. To read more about these job-creating contracts, click here.

Vermont Judge Confirmed By Senate

On November 21, the U.S. Senate confirmed Vermont State Judge Reiss to a judgeship on Vermont's U.S. District Court. Judge Reiss, of Essex Junction, will be the first woman to serve on Vermont's federal district court and will fill the vacancy created when Judge J. Garvan Murtha announced his intention to take senior status on the court, opening the first such vacancy in Vermont in several years.

Judge Reiss first appeared before the Judiciary Committee at a November 4 hearing chaired by Senator Leahy, who recommended her nomination to the President.

Above (left to right): At the November 4 hearing, Senator Leahy, Judge Reiss, and Vermont U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III. (photo credit: U.S. Senate Photographer)

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Leahy Introduces Legislation
To Further Assist First Responders

On November 18, Senator Leahy introduced a bill to modify a federal grant process to allow first responders across the country to use federal grant funding to maintain critical emergency equipment. Senator Leahy introduced the Strengthening and Updating Resources and Equipment (SURE) Act after the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on September 22 that certain grants can no longer be used for the maintenance of equipment beyond the period of performance for the grant. Senator Leahy's bill comes at the urging of state and local law enforcement agencies in Vermont that have been using federal grants to develop and implement the Lifeline System, a statewide communications system for first responders. Without the change in grant policy to allow for maintenance costs, the Lifeline System may become inoperable.

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News You Can Use


First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit
Extended to April 30, 2010

On November 6, President Obama signed into law the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance act of 2009, which expands the first-time homebuyer credit put in place earlier this year. This new law extends the deadline for purchasing and closing on a home, authorizes credit for long-time homeowners looking to buy a replacement residence, and raises the income limitations for claiming that credit.

You can find out more restrictions and benefits of the extension at IRS.gov.