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


Leahy REAX To New U.S. Steps To Ease Effects Of CUBA SANCTIONS

Comment Of Senator Patrick LeahyOn New U.S. Regulatory Steps Announced TodayTo Ease The Effects Of Cuba SanctionsTuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 "This is another welcome step in the long overdue process of dismantling the web of restrictions on the rights of Americans to travel to Cuba and to interact with the Cuban people. I commend the White House for these changes. I hope to see further progress in the months ahead toward eliminating the remnants of a policy that has failed miserably, while it has ha… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Tomorrow marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade recognizing a woman's constitutional right to liberty and personal autonomy in her decision to have an abortion. This landmark case not only recognized these rights, but is also responsible for saving countless women across the country from the devastating and deadly outcomes of back-alley abortions. As a young state prosecutor in Vermont before Roe v. Wade, I will never forget when a young woman nearly died… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), on Consideration of the “American SAFE Act”

It is unfortunate that the fear and xenophobia being peddled by some Republican candidates for President is now being given time on the Senate Floor. Instead of solving the real problems facing Americans - like the student debt crisis or our need for energy independence - or responding to real threats to our national security - like our failure to track visa overstays or prevent terrorists from buying guns - today we are debating a strawman inspired by Donald Trump's baseless rhetoric. The bill… Continue Reading


Leahy’s Bipartisan Bill To Expand Farm To School Efforts Advances In The Senate

(WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20, 2016) - The Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday advanced bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to double funding for the federal Farm To School grant program as part of a larger package reauthorizing child nutrition programs through 2020. The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act includes the Leahy-Cochran Farm To School Act of 2015, which builds on earlier Leahy legislation that chartered the grant program. Leahy's chief Republi… Continue Reading


At SJC Hearing, Leahy Urges Senators To Support Criminal Justice Reform & Hold Corporations Accountable

(Wednesday, January 20, 2016) -At a hearing Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on Senators to support the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and to reject partisan attempts to use that legislation as a vehicle for corporate giveaways. Leahy's comments came at a Committee hearing on legislation that would tie the hands of prosecutors and weaken countless federal statutes including those that protect public welfare, like food safety, en… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Republicans Should Ignore Special Interests & Confirm Consensus Judicial Nominees

(Tuesday, January 19, 2016) - In the last five presidential election years, the Senate has confirmed an average of 30 judicial nominees in the final year prior to Election Day. Despite the Senate's well-established practice of confirming consensus nominees even in presidential election years, news reports have indicated that conservative activists are demanding the Republican majority shutdown the confirmation process entirely. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), w… Continue Reading


Why Affordable Higher Education Can’t Wait

As Vermont's college students return from the winter break and begin their spring semesters, college costs continue to weigh heavily on their minds and on their pocketbooks. The price of a college education has steadily grown to become both a personal financial hardship for them and their families, and an emerging national crisis, and we need to tackle it. No student should ever be denied a higher education simply because of financial ability. That is not how we prepare the next generation to… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Transferring Detainees from the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay

"This week, the President reminded the nation that the power of our leadership as a nation 'depends on the power of our example.' I agree wholeheartedly. The indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo 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 it costs American taxpayers millions of dollars. "While Congress has hindered the ab… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy About The President’s Focus In His State Of The Union Message

I share the President's optimism about America's future. But as far as we've come from the depths of the Great Recession of 2008, much more needs to be done to open the doors of economic opportunity and help working families. We need steady, focused action to make the economy and government work for the middle class, and not just for the swelling ranks of the rich and the privileged. For our middle class we need policies that bubble up, not failed trickle down schemes. Making college availab… Continue Reading


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

Today, we will vote on the long-overdue confirmation of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania. Judge Restrepo was nominated nearly 14 months ago and his nomination has been pending on the floor since last July after the Judiciary Committee voted out his nomination by voice vote. Judge Restrepo's nomination has overwhelming support, including the strong bipartisan support of his home state Senators, Sen… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch And Gov. Shumlin Announce $46 M. In USDA Guaranteed Loan For New Energy Efficiency Program

BURLINGTON, Vt. (FRIDAY, Jan. 8, 2016) - Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Peter Shumlin and representatives of Senator Sanders and Congressman Welch were joined by United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Burlington Friday to announce a $46 million federal loan program to bolster investments in energy efficiency and renewable power projects across Vermont. Administered by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Systemic Problems With FOIA Compliance At The State Department

"FOIA is our premier law for ensuring openness and accountability in our federal government. FOIA compliance must be a priority, including for the department in charge of our nation's foreign policy. Unfortunately, today's report confirms what many FOIA practitioners have long known - that systemic problems within the State Department to respond to requests have existed for decades, spanning Democratic and Republican administrations, and have denied the public timely access to information. Th… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On The President’s Administrative Actions On Gun Violence

"I share the President's frustration that the Republican Leadership in Congress has blocked votes on commonsense measures to prevent gun violence. I moved through the Senate Judiciary Committee the earlier Senate bill to close the loopholes that allow criminals to evade background checks, but that bill and other commonsense reforms were blocked on the Senate Floor with Republican filibusters. As a responsible lifelong gun owner and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I know that closin… Continue Reading


Leahy, Local Advocates Announce Expansion of Charitable Deductions of Food Donations

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30, 2015) - Joined by local advocates to end hunger and food insecurity, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday announced at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf in Burlington that a provision incentivizing donations of surplus food to local food pantries was recently signed into law, helping efforts to cut back on food waste and supporting communities help those in need across the country. During this congress, Leahy successfully led a bipartisan effort to e… Continue Reading


Leahy: Sharper Focus On America’s Middle Class Needed In The New Year

[Late Friday morning, the U.S. Senate approved legislation to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2016 and extend tax credits for millions of low- and middle-income class families. The final budget bill, which Leahy voted for and is expected to be signed by the President TODAY, includes a wide variety of funding investments that reflect Senator Patrick Leahy's priorities for Vermont. Leahy holds the most seniority on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which handled the S… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Need To Combat Straw Purchasing & Illegal Gun Trafficking

"We must do everything we can to ensure that deadly weapons - like the rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings - do not fall into the hands of terrorists, violent criminals, and drug traffickers. Law enforcement officials have complained for years that they lack effective tools necessary to investigate and deter straw purchasers and gun traffickers. Today's arrest of the individual who provided the rifles for the San Bernardino shooters is a reminder that we need to strengthen our laws to … Continue Reading


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

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