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Press Releases

Search Senator Leahy’s press releases, floor statements, and Committee speeches by date or by subject.

12.19.18

Leahy And Portman Praise Senate Passage Of Their Second Chance Reauthorization Act, As Part Of Criminal Justice Reform Package

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that their bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act passed the Senate as part of the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation to reform America's criminal justice system. The reform package passed the Senate late Tuesday night in a strong bipartisan vote of 87 to 12. The House is expected to pass it by the end of this week, and President Trump is expected to sign it. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act reauthorizes and… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Leahy Hails Senate Passage Of Sentencing Reform Pkg.; Leahy, A Leading Cosponsor, Helped Build Strong Bipartisan Consensus

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hails the Senate's strong bipartisan vote late Tuesday night on the First Step Act as a "rare chance to reform the nation's prison and sentencing system to reduce recidivism, save tax dollars, and foster safe communities." The First Step Act is years in the making and Leahy, an original cosponsor of the bill, played a lead role in methodically forging over the past six years the bipartisan coalition that led to its passage. The bipartisan First Step Act uses ev… Continue Reading


12.18.18

Leahy On Senate Floor Urges Approval Of The First Step Act, As Senate Begins Debate On Historic Criminal Justice Reforms

Today the Senate is considering perhaps the most significant bill to reform our criminal justice system in nearly a decade. The First Step Act takes modest but important steps to remedy some of the most troubling injustices within our sentencing laws and our prison system. It is my hope that this bill represents not just a single piece of legislation, but a turning point in how Congress views its role in advancing criminal justice. I have been working to bring fairness to our criminal justice… Continue Reading


12.14.18

BREAKING: Leahy Leads Senators In Filing Amicus Brief As Part Of Litigation Against President Trump's Illegal Asylum Ban

On Thursday night, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) led Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) in filing an amicus brief as part of O.A. v. Trump, a lawsuit filed by six asylum seekers in the D.C. District Court challenging the legality of President Trump's Presidential Proclamation and rule effectively barring all asylum claims outside of ports of entry. The senators' core… Continue Reading


12.13.18

Portman-Leahy SECOND CHANCE ACT Now Included In Crim. Justice Reform Pkg., Set For Senate Debate And Votes NEXT WEEK

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that their bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act this week was incorporated into the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation to reform America's criminal justice system authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The Second Chance Reauthorization Act rea… Continue Reading


12.13.18

From Appropriations Vice Chair Patrick Leahy: FACT CHECKING Pres. Trump’s Manufactured Crisis Over Funding His Proposed Wall

Fact Checking President Trump's Manufactured Crisis With illegal border crossings declining for years, and no true crisis to point to, President Trump has spun a manufactured crisis to justify his ineffective and costly border wall. The President has relatedly made false allegations about the volume of border crossings and the threat posed by these migrants who in many cases are fleeing violence. Below are just a few examples from the last week: #FALSE: President Trump's repeated claim tha… Continue Reading


12.13.18

Leahy Statement On Passage Of The Juvenile Justice Reform Act And Short-Term Extension Of Runaway And Homeless Youth Programs

I have long supported Juvenile Justice programs, and I have long supported Runaway and Homeless Youth programs. During the 20 years I served as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and in my current role as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I have championed bipartisan reauthorizations and supported funding for these programs, overcoming the House of Representatives, which zeroes out Juvenile Justice programs in its appropriations bills year after year. These programs … Continue Reading


12.13.18

Menendez, Rubio, Durbin, Leahy Introduce Temporary Protected Status Legislation to Support Displaced Venezuelans

Today, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in introducing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status and Asylum Assistance Act of 2018. The bipartisan legislation seeks to grant Temporary Protected Status for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home and to provide support for migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela.… Continue Reading


12.13.18

Leahy Floor Speech On The Senate Joint Resolution On Yemen

Mr. President, today we will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 54, which would remove the U.S. armed forces from hostilities in or affecting the country of Yemen, except those forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces, unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use of U.S. armed forces has been enacted. I want to commend my distinguished friend from Vermont, Senator Sanders, for the leadership and perseverance he has shown on this issue… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Harwood Union Middle School

On December 12, 2018, Senator Leahy continued his series of online chats with Vermont students - this time, with Harwood Union Middle School's 7th and 8th grade classes, taught by Mr. Nicolas Gordon and Ms. Sarah Ibson. He enjoyed answering the students' questions about gun safety, environmental and pollution issues, and other topics. Senator Leahy talked about some of his most memorable votes during his time in the Senate and the importance of voter participation. This chat was Senator Leahy… Continue Reading


12.12.18

PROJECTED IMPACTS OF A TRUMP SHUTDOWN

More Than 420,000 Will Be Working Without Pay Including: More than 41,000 Federal Law Enforcement and Correctional Officers, Including: 2,614 ATF agents; 16,742 Bureau of Prisons correctional officers; 13,709 FBI agents; 3,600 deputy U.S. Marshals; and 4,399 DEA agents. Up To 88 Percent Of Department of Homeland Security Employees, Including: 53,000 TSA Employees; 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents and customs offers; 42,000 Coast Guard employees As many as 5,000 Fo… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Senate & House Lawmakers Release Updated First Step Act

A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers today released revised text of the First Step Act to continue building support for criminal justice reform. This update was brokered by the White House and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have pledged to take up the revised package before the end of the year. "Over the last several years, we've expanded support for comprehensive criminal justice reform by listening to s… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Leahy Statement On The Senate's Passage Of The Reciprocal Access To Tibet Act

Mr. President, this evening the Senate unanimously passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018. I was one of the earliest cosponsors of this bill, and I strongly support it. For far too long, the Chinese government has tightly restricted access to Tibet, preventing U.S. diplomats and journalists from reporting on the systematic human rights abuses and destruction of Tibetan culture perpetrated by the Chinese government, and arbitrarily preventing Tibetan-Americans from visiting their fam… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Statement Of Appropriations Vice Chair Patrick Leahy On The Fearmongering Falsehoods Fueling President Trump's Fixation On The Wall: A REALITY CHECK

If Americans had any doubt that President Trump is fixated on wasting billions of dollars to wall off our 2,000 mile southern border, all they had to do was watch his jaw-dropping press conference yesterday, demanding another $5 billion of their hard earned tax dollars for his political pet project that he promised Mexico would pay for. Using words I never thought I would hear from a President, he boasted he would be, "proud to shut down the government" if Congress doesn't meet his funding dema… Continue Reading


12.11.18

Leahy Hails Senate Passage Of Five-Year Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate late Tuesday passed a new five-year Farm Bill that includes significant wins for Vermont families, dairy, organic and hemp farms, and the state's rural communities. As a member of the conference committee that negotiated the bill, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) played a central role in shaping the final provisions that are vital to Vermont's economy, farmers, working landscape, the food and nutrition of Vermont's families, and the economic vitality of rural communities throughout… Continue Reading


12.07.18

Following Washington Post Report, Leahy And Other Senators Reiterate Calls For Full Disclosure Of Trump-Saudi Business Ties

A group of 11 Democratic senators, including Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Friday renewed their call for President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to disclose any financial ties between the Trump Organization and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following a Washington Post report that lobbyists representing the Saudi government paid for 500 rooms at the Trump D.C. hotel shortly after President Trump's election. Last month, after the Saudi-led killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. S… Continue Reading


12.06.18

Leahy Helps Vermont Score A Major $20 Million Investment In Rail Infrastructure

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) will receive a $20 million federal award from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program. The funding will support the rehabilitation or replacement of 31 rail bridges along 53 miles of the Vermont Railway. The work will be done on the southern section of the state-owned rail line that runs in Vermont between Rutland an… Continue Reading


12.06.18

Shaheen & Leahy Bill To Support Small Businesses With National Guard And Military Reservists Passes Senate

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following statements after their legislation to support small businesses with National Guard and Military Reservists unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday. The National Guard and Reserve Entrepreneurship Act will assist small businesses when essential employees, including small business owners, are called up as part of National Guard or Reservist duties, by improving existing loan and deferral programs of the Small B… Continue Reading


12.04.18

Senators Press Justice Department on Whitaker, Benczkowski Conflicts of Interest

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked the Department of Justice today to detail its handling of the serious financial, professional, and political conflicts of interest of Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Brian… Continue Reading


12.01.18

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Passing Of Former President George H.W. Bush

He was the last President of the Greatest Generation, and he leaves a lasting legacy of true and meaningful public service. While we had our share of differences over policy, his decency, his civility and his humility have never been a more important example to the nation than they are today. He skillfully steered our country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. His legacy includes working with many of us in enacting the Americans With Disabilities Act, a far-reaching civil rights achieve… Continue Reading

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