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


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Introduction of the Justice For All Reauthorization Act of 2016

Today, I am proud to introduce the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 with Senator Cornyn. The Justice for All Act, originally enacted in 2004, was an unprecedented bipartisan piece of criminal justice legislation. It has improved many aspects of our criminal justice system, and this reauthorization includes critical updates to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the American justice system. The bill builds on the work I began in 2000, when I introduced the Innocence Protect… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Carla Hayden to be the Librarian of Congress

[President Obama on Wednesday announced his intent to nominate Dr. Carla Hayden to be the next Librarian of Congress. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a member of the congressional joint committee which has oversight of the Library of Congress.] "I welcome Dr. Hayden's nomination to be our nation's next Librarian of Congress. Her nomination comes at an exciting time, as new technologies make it easier for the Library to share its diverse resources and exhibit… Continue Reading


SJC Dems: Committee Must Allow Public Hearings For SCOTUS Nominee

(Tuesday, February 23, 2016) - Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic members on Tuesday called on Republicans to drop their wholesale obstruction of a Supreme Court nominee and allow the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent. In a letter to Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and all Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, Committee Democrats led by Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made clear that they do not support shutting down the process of filling a vacancy on t… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Senate Agriculture Committee’s Pending Markup On Thursday Of GE Labeling Legislation

[On Thursday, the Senate Agriculture Committee will consider legislation to preempt Vermont's state law, Act 120, regarding GE labeling of food, as well as Vermont's nearly 12-year-old law requiring the labeling of GE seeds. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a leading member and former chair of the Agriculture Committee.] "I cannot - I will not - support the bill slated to be considered Thursday, that undermines the public's right to know. I continue to oppose any bill that takes away the righ… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Plan to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility

"The indefinite detention without trial of detainees at Guantanamo Bay contradicts our most basic principles of justice, degrades our international standing, and harms our national security. Just the existence of this facility serves as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and the facility costs American taxpayers more than $4 million per detainee. "In recent months the President has made progress toward closing the Guantanamo detention facility. Only 91 detainees remain, and top national secur… Continue Reading


Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senate National Guard Caucus Breakfast

Thank you, General Grass, for those words, and thanks for joining us today. Thank you also to Chief Master Sergeant Brush for being here and keeping the men and women of the National Guard at the forefront of our minds. I also am grateful to Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy for being here; he is also the first Iraq veteran to have served in Congress. And thank you to all of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to show your support for the National Guard. This year, like eve… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Must Do Its Job, Uphold Constitution and Consider SCOTUS Nominee

(Tuesday, February 23, 2016) - The Senate must fulfill its constitutional duty this year to fill a Supreme Court vacancy so that the court can fully function and serve as the final arbiter of law, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Tuesday. In an address on the Senate floor, Leahy noted that during his 36 years on the Judiciary Committee, the panel has never refused to give a Supreme Court nominee a hearing and has never refused to send the nominee to the full … Continue Reading


Leahy: Unaccompanied Children Fleeing Violence Deserve Fair, Humane Treatment

(Tuesday, February 23, 2016) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) challenged administration officials Tuesday to drop their "deterrence" approach to the handling the influx of women and children from Central America entering the United States, and instead treat the issue as the humanitarian crisis that it is. "As Pope Francis said last week, this is a 'humanitarian crisis' and he urged us to open our eyes and our hearts to those suffering violence and show them merc… Continue Reading


Vermont Climate Economy Summit: Ideas to Action Remarks Senator Patrick Leahy

Thank you Judge Sessions for that kind introduction. You are an extraordinary public servant, and we're grateful to have your leadership on the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council. We come together today at a turning point in time. Over the next two decades, the economy of Vermont, the United States and every country on Earth will be transformed. How we guide and react to that transformation will affect generations to come. It is not an overstatement to say that the future of our world ha… Continue Reading


Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) New England First Amendment Coalition Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award

Thank you, Mike, for that gracious introduction. And you know, it's just so fitting that the Freedom of Information award now will carry your name. You are absolutely fearless, relentless . . . and merciless - and I mean that in a GOOD way, Mike -- in digging for information. Your dad was one of my professors at St. Michael's College. I remember his insistence on thoroughness and accuracy. He would be proud of his son who embraced and built on those values. Thanks also to the New England F… Continue Reading


Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The White House Announcement That President Obama Will Travel To Cuba In Late March

"I wholeheartedly support this decision, long believing that President Obama should visit Cuba as part of the work of normalizing relations between our two countries. No one can convey as effectively as he can why a policy of openness is in the interests of the people of both countries. I have no doubt that he personally, and the message he will deliver, will be received with immense warmth and enthusiasm by the Cuban people. "The President's visit will serve as a powerful symbol of the dyna… Continue Reading


In Lead Up To Vermont Cider Week Leahy Joins Local Cider Makers To Celebrate CIDER Act Passage

BURLINGTON (THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2016) - Thanks to new legislation passed by Congress, the growing hard cider market in Vermont is poised to get even bigger. On Thursday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Citizen Cider got a jump start on Vermont Cider Week, touting the recent passage of the CIDER Act - Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction Act - which updated federal tax law to make it easier for cider makers to put new, value-added products on the market. The bill langua… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces $15.8 Million In Vergennes-Based Contracts For UTC Aerospace Systems For Smarter Helicopter Maintenance

VERGENNES (TUESDAY, Feb. 16, 2016) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Tuesday that UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) received $15.8 million in funding for health usage monitoring systems (HUMS) for Department of the Navy helicopters built in Vermont. The HUMS are part of the U.S. military's ongoing effort to provide more accurate diagnostics of aircraft component conditions, which improves overall readiness while lowering costs. The two contracts are split between the U.S. Navy's fleet of MH-… Continue Reading


Senator Leahy in USA Today: Stakes Are Too High For A Year-Long Vacancy At The Supreme Court

(Tuesday, February 16, 2016) -An extended Supreme Court vacancy brought on by Republican obstruction could have a devastating impact on Americans seeking justice, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wrote in USA Today. "Every single American is affected by the Supreme Court of the United States. And as we have seen demonstrated through recent Supreme Court rulings decided by a narrow 5-4 margin, every vote on the Supreme Court counts. Make no mistake - a single vacan… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Death Of Justice Scalia

"I am saddened to learn of Justice Antonin Scalia's untimely passing. Although I often did not agree with his legal opinions, no one doubted his commitment or his brilliance. I hope that no one will use this sad news to suggest that the President or the Senate should not perform its constitutional duty. The American people deserve to have a fully functioning Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of the United States is too important to our democracy for it to be understaffed for partisan reasons… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Republicans Should Not Block Judicial Nominees

(Thursday, February 11, 2016) - Following today's confirmation vote on Leonard Strand to fill a judicial emergency vacancy in the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Iowa, there are still 17 judicial nominees pending on the Senate floor. Each nominee was approved by the Judiciary Committee by voice vote and should be confirmed without further delay, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said. "There is an urgent need for the Senate to confirm highly qu… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the “Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016”

[Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is cosponsoring Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) "Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2016," which was introduced today. The bill ensures due process for children and vulnerable individuals in immigration proceedings by providing for the appointment of counsel, ensuring the availability of legal orientation programs, and creating a case management pilot project to increase appearance rates in immigration court. Last m… Continue Reading


Leahy & Collins Unveil Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Illegal Straw Purchasing and Firearms Trafficking

(THURSDAY, Feb. 11, 2016) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced legislation on Thursday to combat the practice of straw purchasing and illegal trafficking in firearms. The Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2016 responds to calls from law enforcement officials for more effective tools to investigate and deter straw purchasers and gun traffickers. Currently, there is no law that explicitly makes straw purchasin… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Leahy-Backed Comprehensive Legislation To Combat Opioid & Heroin Abuse

(THURSDAY, Feb. 11, 2016) - Legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday to respond to the nation's opioid crisis now contains important provisions to support rural communities, which Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) successfully fought to include. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) provides for a community-based response to heroin and opioid addiction; an approach that Vermont has employed and that Leahy highlighted at a field hearing in Rutland in 2014. As am… Continue Reading


Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy United States Institute of Peace “Workshop on Leveraging U.S. Security Assistance to Prevent and Redress Human Rights Violations”

Thank you Nancy and Tom, and thanks to the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Department of State for hosting this discussion. I also want to recognize USIP for the important and active role it is playing in efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts overseas. There is really no other U.S. government entity that can bring together the Departments of State and Defense, USAID, and other Federal agencies, as well as nongovernmental organizations, to develop, coordinate, and implement strategies to p… Continue Reading

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