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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.) On A Return to Democracy in Sri Lanka

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, for hundreds of millions of people around the globe, including in countries whose governments are allies of the United States, democracy and human rights are aspirations that seem beyond reach. According to a recent report by Freedom House, the state of freedom in the world declined in almost every region over the past year. But while we should be deeply concerned by this discouraging trend, we should also recognize where progress is being made. On January 8, the peo… Continue Reading


Leahy Joins In Introducing Legislation To Help Small Brewers

(WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday joined other senators in introducing the bipartisan Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act). The legislation, sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would recalibrate the federal beer excise tax that small brewers pay, cutting the tax nearly in half. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is also a cosponsor. Leahy said: "Vermont may be a smaller state but we brew big beer… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Introduction of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2015

Today I once again join with Senator Paul to introduce the Justice Safety Valve Act. This bill makes a simple, common sense change - it will allow judges to once again sentence offenders on their individual merits based on the individual facts of the case before them. Mandatory minimums take away that common sense and discretion and have helped to drive our prison population to once-unthinkable levels, draining vital resources from all other public safety priorities. One-size-fits-all sentenci… Continue Reading


Leahy, Paul, Massie & Scott Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Introduction of the Justice Safety Valve Act

Today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act in the Senate and House of Representatives. The Justice Safety Valve Act would give federal judges the ability to impose sentences below mandatory minimums in appropriate cases based upon mitigating factors. "Over the last several decades politicians have added more and more mandatory minimum sentences to our criminal … Continue Reading


Leahy Comment On FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

(Wednesday, February 4, 2015) -The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Wednesday proposed net neutrality rules that, if approved, will apply to all domestic broadband providers. Among other things, Wheeler proposed a ban of paid-prioritization agreements through which websites could be charged for priority access over the Internet. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) held hearings in Vermont and Washington on the issue of net neutralit… Continue Reading


Leahy Joined By Bipartisan, Bicameral Group To Introduce Bill Protecting Online Privacy

(WEDNESDAY, February 4, 2015) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday was joined by a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators to introduce legislation to modernize the nation's electronic privacy laws and bring protections against warrantless searches into harmony with the technological realities of the 21st century. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2015 (ECPA) was introduced by Leahy, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Represent… Continue Reading


Cornyn & Leahy Introduce FOIA Legislation

(Monday, February 2, 2015) -Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) reintroduced on Monday their bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is an original cosponsor of the bill. The FOIA Improvement Act is nearly identical to the bill that unanimously passed the Senate last December. The bill requires Federal agencies to operate under a… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal

A budget is about setting priorities, and the President's front-and-center priority in his budget plan is to strengthen the economy by building from the middle out. With our unemployment rate finally at its lowest since 2008, his focus is to make sure that hardworking families have the opportunity to share in the promise of a growing economy. His proposals address inequalities in our tax code and widen the abilities of middle class families to get ahead by expanding investments in childcare, h… Continue Reading


Leahy: It Is Time To Confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

(Thursday, January 29, 2015) - After two days of hearings regarding the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the Attorney General of the United States, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Thursday that the Committee should act quickly to vote on this historic nomination. "Yesterday, Ms. Lynch testified about the values and independence she would bring to the office of the Attorney General. I am encouraged that Republican Senators on the Committee agree with me that… Continue Reading


Correcting the Record: Reports That Loretta Lynch Believes Immigrants Not in Lawful Status Have a “Right to Work” Misstate Her Remarks

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Correcting the Record: Reports That Loretta Lynch Believes Immigrants Not in Lawful Status Have a "Right to Work" Misstate Her Remarks During the Attorney General confirmation hearings, Republican Senators focused disproportionately on the political issue of immigration, instead of the merits of the nominee. Some conservative news sources have misrepresented remarks from Ms. Lynch in which she talked about immigrants' opportunity to work to … Continue Reading


Outside Witnesses on AG Nominee Loretta Lynch: “She is trustworthy and honest to the core of her being”

(Thursday, January 29, 2015) - During today's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing regarding the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as Attorney General, a panel of outside witnesses including those who know her personally and professionally gave testimony about her record and qualifications. David Barlow, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah and a former Chief Counsel for Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), offered insight into Lynch's record as an independent, apolitical prose… Continue Reading


Leahy Comment On FCC's Steps To Speed Internet Delivery For Rural Consumers

[The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday approved a new definition for what constitutes broadband service, dramatically increasing the required minimum speeds from the current standard and marking an important improvement for rural states to access high-speed Internet.] "Today, the FCC voted to recognize what millions of Americans living in rural areas have long realized - that minimum Internet speeds for rural consumers need to be faster. The FCC's action today has the potenti… Continue Reading


DAY TWO: Opening Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy -- SJC Hearing On Attorney General Nominee

(Thursday, January 29, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today spoke at a second hearing today regarding the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee to be the 83rd Attorney General of the United States. Today's hearing includes a panel of outside witnesses who will testify about the nominee and the Department of Justice. Senator Leahy's opening statement is below, and is available online. Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking… Continue Reading


Historic AG Nominee Loretta Lynch, In Her Own Words

(Wednesday, January 28, 2015) - In compelling testimony Wednesday, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch spoke of her personal story and her strong background as a federal prosecutor when describing the values she would bring to the Department of Justice. "I owe much to those who have worked to make [the Constitution's] promise real for all Americans, beginning with my own family," Lynch said. "All of them - and so many others - have supported me on the path that has brought me to this moment… Continue Reading


Leahy & Grassley Raise Privacy Concerns About DEA License Plate Tracking System

(Wednesday, January 28, 2015) -In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) questioned the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) use of a national database to track the movement of vehicles around the United States. News reports this week revealed that the DEA has expanded its license plate reader (LPR) surveillance program from the Southwest Border to include states across the … Continue Reading


AG Nominee Lynch: “I will fulfill my responsibilities with integrity and independence”

(Wednesday, January 28, 2015) - During this morning's session of the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, Lynch spoke about her experience as a career prosecutor and said she will address a range of challenges as Attorney General. "If confirmed to be Attorney General of the United States, I pledge to all of you and to the American people that I will fulfill my responsibilities with integrity and independence," Lynch said in her opening s… Continue Reading


Senator Leahy And Senator Lee Guest Column: Update Email Privacy Laws From The Digital Age

Americans routinely are bombarded with news stories about invasive new surveillance technologies. But Congress has yet to pass even the most basic legislation on the issue: a bill to ensure that law-enforcement agents cannot read Americans' private e-mails without search warrants. In the coming weeks, we will reintroduce legislation to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and safeguard the privacy of e-mail and other information stored in "the cloud." In the last Congress, th… Continue Reading


Loretta Lynch Has Received Widespread Support to be Attorney General

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Loretta Lynch Has Received Widespread Support to be Attorney General Loretta Lynch currently serves as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (April 2010-current). She previously served in this post during the Clinton administration (July 1999-June 2001). Lynch is highly qualified, fair-minded and independent, and has received broad bipartisan support for her nomination to be Attorney General. Endorsed by the Law En… Continue Reading


Opening Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy -- Confirmation Hearing For Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch

(Wednesday, January 28, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is attending a confirmation hearing this morning for Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee to be the 83rd Attorney General of the United States. Senator Leahy's opening statement is below, and is available online. Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Nomination of Loretta Lynch to Serve as Attorney General of the United States Ja… Continue Reading


On Eve of Confirmation Hearing, Leahy Urges Senators to Focus On Record of AG Nominee Lynch

(Tuesday, January 27, 2015) - Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Loretta Lynch to be the 83rd Attorney General of the United States. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee's ranking member, urged all Senators to focus on Lynch's credentials to serve as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. "The Senate has the constitutional advice and consent responsibility for considering presidential nominees, and tomorrow's confirmation hear… Continue Reading

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