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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 Judicial Nominations

As we close the book on the first session of the 114th Congress, our attention is on the thousands of pages in the omnibus spending bill. But as the Republican leadership rushes to spin the press about what the Senate has accomplished in their twelve months in the majority, there is one Senate responsibility that should not get lost in the noise. That is our responsibility to equip our coequal branches of government, the Federal judiciary and the Executive branch, with the confirmed public ser… Continue Reading


Leahy: Expansion Of Charitable Deductions Of Food Included In Legislation Poised To Clear Congress By End Of This Week

(THURSDAY, Dec. 17, 2015) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) praises the inclusion of a provision aimed at fighting hunger by incentivizing donations of surplus food to local food shelves in a legislative package set to pass the U.S. Senate this week. Leahy has long been the leading advocate for the bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act, dating back to his time working with former Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). The soon-to-be enacted provision, which was the Ho… Continue Reading


A Look Back at the First Year of the U.S.-Cuba Relationship December 17, 2014 - Present

Key Actions and Accomplishments December 17, 2014: President Obama moves to normalize relations with Cuba. Decision follows 18 months of secret negotiations between U.S. and Cuba and the release of American aid contractor Alan Gross. Announcement of plans over the coming months to ease travel and financial restrictions on Cuba. Paves the way for U.S.-Cuba to restore diplomatic ties, reopen embassies, and potentially lift the embargo. January 16, 2015: Departments of Commerce and Treasur… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The One Year Anniversary of the Release of Alan Gross

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Alan Gross from a Cuban prison where he spent five years. During that time he lost more than 100 pounds, lost five teeth, his mother died, his mother-in-law died, a brother-in-law died, and he missed his daughter's wedding. I worked for three years to help obtain Alan Gross' release and the return of the remaining members of the so-called Cuban Five who had served more than 15 years in U.S. prisons. Scott Gilb… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Republicans Must Prioritize Judicial Nominees In New Year

(Tuesday, December 15, 2015) -The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed just 11 judicial nominees this year, matching the fewest number of nominees confirmed by any Senate in more than half a century. But under a bipartisan agreement negotiated by Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the Senate next year will vote on five judicial nominees before the February recess. Four of these nominees are nominated to fill emergency vaca… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Lourdes Tiban

Mr. President, I want other Senators to be aware of information I received about Ecuadorian National Assembly member Lourdes Tiban, a prominent and respected leader of Ecuador's indigenous people. As an indigenous leader, Ms. Tiban has become one of the most outspoken advocates for freedom of expression, indigenous rights, and social rights in Ecuador. Not surprisingly, this has made her the target of verbal attacks by President Rafael Correa. Earlier this year, Ms. Tiban was beaten by unid… Continue Reading


Four Years After Irene, Renewal In Waterbury

This past August, we marked the four year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. Memories of communities besieged by flood waters, houses knocked from their foundations and families forever changed are still fresh for each of us, and for so many other Vermonters. But just as Vermont rebuilt from the historic 1927 floods, Vermonters have pulled together to build back stronger, smarter and better after Irene. This has required new and creative thinking, and significant collaboration between commun… Continue Reading


Leahy Welcomes Long-Delayed SEC Draft Rule On Oil And Mining Transparency

(FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015) -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday welcomed action by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to propose a rule on a long-delayed extractive industries transparency provision of the Wall Street reform law enacted in 2010. The transparency provision was authored by Leahy and became Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Leahy as a conferee worked closely with former Senator Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Senator Ben Cardin … Continue Reading



Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide federal funding to support the protection of the diverse plant, fish, and wildlife species in the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. In a letter to Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of the Interior, the senators urged the… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Adopts Leahy Amendment Confirming That The U.S. “Must Not Bar Individuals…Based On Their Religion”

(THURSDAY, December 10, 2015) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved an amendment authored by Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) confirming that "the United States must not bar individuals from entering into the United States based on their religion." Leahy's amendment was adopted by a vote of 16-4. Consideration of his amendment came after some made demands earlier this week to shut the nation's borders to all Muslims. Leahy spoke out against this hateful rhetoric earlier th… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee On Consideration of the S.1318, Nuclear Terrorism Conventions Implementation and Safety of Maritime Navigation Act

Given recent events, Americans are concerned about protecting the country against terrorism. I am glad that the Committee was able to hear from the FBI Director yesterday, and I hope that Congress will ensure that law enforcement has the tools and resources necessary to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, the bill that we will be marking up today is not the answer. I agree with Chairman Grassley that we must protect against nuclear terrorism. That is why Senator Lee and I worked in a bicameral wa… Continue Reading


Opening Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy -- SJC Oversight Hearing With FBI Director Comey

(Wednesday, December 9, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is attending an oversight hearing this morning of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with Director James Comey. Testimony, member statements, and a webcast of the hearing are available online. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Oversight Of The Federal Bureau Of Investigation December 9, 2015 The Federal Bureau of Investigation is … Continue Reading


Vermont Delegation Calls for More Public Scrutiny, Meetings in Vermont on Decommissioning Regulations

, Dec. 8 - The Vermont congressional delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) - announced Tuesday that they have called upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to improve public input on proposed changes to nuclear plant decommissioning regulations. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who serves on the Senate energy and environment committees, led the effort which urged the NRC to hold public meetings in each state where a nuclear power plant is currently bein… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Conference Report to the Every Student Succeeds Act

Today the Senate will approve landmark legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Since 2001, the failed policies of No Child Left Behind have unfairly burdened students, families, educators and administrators by holding students accountable for snap-shot academic progress. The overwhelming support in Congress for these reforms will reverse the one-size-fits-all approach to education that did not work for Vermont and so many schools across the nation. This… Continue Reading


At Hearing on Merger of Two Largest U.S. Beer Companies, Leahy Emphasizes Importance of Level Playing Field for Craft Brewers to Compete

(Tuesday, December 8, 2015) - During a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights to consider the proposed merger of beer companies AB-InBev and SAB Miller, Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) emphasized the importance of a level playing field so that craft brewers can compete. Noting concern that the large brewing companies can use their power over distributors to squeeze out smaller craft brewers, Leahy called on the… Continue Reading


Leahy Statement On America's History of Religious Tolerance and Respect for Personal Freedoms

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On Religious Tolerance and Respect for Personal Freedoms December 7, 2015 [NOTE: Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will be joined by faith leaders Tuesday at 11:30am in the Capitol for a press conference on the need to support refugees fleeing persecution and violence throughout the world.] "I am appalled that some are espousing the hate-filled view that a country as gr… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations

Today, we will vote on the nomination of Travis McDonough to be a Federal district judge in the Eastern District of Tennessee. He was nominated over a year ago, and his nomination was voted out of the Judiciary Committee by unanimous voice vote nearly five months ago. Despite having the support of his home state Republican Senators, Mr. McDonough's nomination has nevertheless been held up by Republican leadership for no good reason. I will further note that while Mr. McDonough's vote is long … Continue Reading


Days Before Program Expires, Leahy & Grassley Urge Support For Legislation To Reform & Extend Job-Creating Foreign Investment Program

(Friday, December 4, 2015) - The job-creating immigrant investor visa program, known as the EB-5 Regional Center program, is set to expire in just one week if Congress does not move to reauthorize it. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are urging Congressional leaders to support a bipartisan, bicameral proposal that would provide much-needed reforms to the program and reauthorize it for four years. "The EB-5 program is not wo… Continue Reading


In Late-Night Vote, Senate Passes Five-Year Transportation Funding Package

(FRIDAY, Dec. 4, 2015) - On the eve of an expiration deadline, the Senate Thursday night passed legislation to fund America's transportation and highway programs, bringing stability to help Vermont plan critical infrastructure projects for the next five years. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) voted for The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which authorizes $305 billion in federal surface transportation funding over the next five years. The legislation is now on the President… Continue Reading


Welch, Leahy, Sanders Challenge FDA on New FDA Cheese Standard

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are leading a bicameral, bipartisan coalition in Congress challenging a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standard that could ban many age-old recipes for raw milk cheese and severely harm artisan cheese producers in Vermont. In a December 3rd letter sent to FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor, the lawmakers express their concerns about FDA's non-toxigenic E. coli standard for raw milk cheeses, and … Continue Reading

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