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Press Releases

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



Good afternoon. Two years ago - at a Cato conference on NSA surveillance - Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner announced our introduction of the original USA FREEDOM Act. It is great to be with you, two years later, to celebrate the enactment of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, and the end of the NSA's bulk collection of American's phone records. The USA FREEDOM Act marks the first major reform of surveillance laws in decades. This sort of reform does not come quickly, or easily. But Republicans and… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Must Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Not Partisan Legislation

(Tuesday, October 20, 2015) - The Senate is poised to cast a procedural vote Tuesday on partisan immigration legislation that would harm communities and is staunchly opposed by law enforcement. A broad range of groups representing domestic violence victims, housing and low-income advocates, mayors, faith and civil rights leaders, labor groups, and immigrant rights organizations also oppose the bill. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged Republican leaders Tuesda… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, on the “Stop Sanctuary Cities Policies and Protect Americans Act,” S.2146

For the first time in more than two years, the Senate is turning its attention to an issue related to our broken immigration system. But in stark contrast to the comprehensive, hopeful legislation last reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the majority is simply scheduling a show vote today on a divisive, partisan proposal that has not even been considered in the Judiciary Committee. What a difference a change in leadership makes. There are few topics more fundamental to who we are as a… Continue Reading


At SJC Hearing, Leahy Urges Senators To Support Criminal Justice Reform

(Monday, October 19, 2015) - The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, a bill to reduce some mandatory sentences and reform the criminal justice system. Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor who has long advocated for comprehensive criminal justice reform, urged all Senators to support the legislation, noting that "The problems facing our criminal justice system simply cannot continue to go unad… Continue Reading


Feinstein & Leahy Call On Chinese Leaders To Release Nobel Laureate Liu Xia And His Wife

Feinstein, Leahy Call for Release of Chinese Nobel Laureate, Wife Five-year anniversary of Liu Xia's arrest (THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2015) -- Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today released the following statement marking the five-year anniversary of the arrest of Liu Xia, the wife of Chinese democracy activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo: "This week marks the five-year anniversary that Liu Xia was placed under house arrest in China. She has … Continue Reading


Joined By Vermont Victims’ Advocates, Leahy Announces $8.7 Million For State’s Crime Victims And Victims Of Domestic And Sexual Assault

BURLINGTON, Vt. (FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor and longtime champion for crime victims and victims of domestic violence, Friday announced that Vermont will receive more than $8.7 million from the U.S. Department of Justice to support victims of crime and enhance programs that serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The funding includes a three-fold increase to the Vermont Center for Crime Victims Services (VCCVS), which will receive $4.8 mil… Continue Reading


Leahy: More Than $3 Million Headed To Vermont To Boost Law Enforcement And Criminal Justice Programs

(THURSDAY, Oct. 8, 2015) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday announced that more than $3 million in U.S. Department of Justice grants will be coming to Vermont to support programs aimed at reducing crime, tackling heroin abuse, and protecting Vermont's local and state law enforcement officers. The funding, included in Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations legislation, includes $70,977 to help 23 local police and sheriff departments to buy 196 new bulletproof vests for their officers. Leahy, ra… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Introduction of Bipartisan Sentencing Reform Legislation in the House

[Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Thursday after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced an agreement on bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation. The announcement comes one week after a bipartisan group of Senators including Leahy introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 to reduce the impact of some mandatory minimum sentences and ap… Continue Reading


Graham And Leahy Introduce Bipartisan Emergency Funding Bill To Strengthen U.S. Response To The Syrian Refugee Crisis

(WEDNESDAY, Oct. 7, 2015) -- In a bipartisan effort to enable a stronger U.S. role in helping to address the Syrian refugee crisis, the leaders of the State Department's budget committee in the Senate, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have co-authored and introduced the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act. Graham chairs the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee and Leahy is the panel's Ran… Continue Reading


Green Mountain Union H.S.

Senator Leahy held his first online chat of the 2015-2016 school year with the 10th and 11th graders from the Green Mountain Union High School of Chester, Vt. These students were part of the Youth and Teachers Transforming Schools Together (YATST) program, which encourages student participation in decisions regarding school change. Senator Leahy was very impressed by all of the students' questions, especially with regards to college affordability, gun control and workforce development in Vermont… Continue Reading


Leahy: Vermont Nets Federal Funds To Invest Nearly $650,000 In Local Foods Infrastructure

(WEDNESDAY, October 7, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says Vermont farmers markets and other outlets will receive five federal grants totaling $581,745 to support local and regional food systems. The grants are part of $42.4 million granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to states and local organizations throughout the country. Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and of … Continue Reading


Don’t Squander The Bipartisan Commitment To Conserve America’s Special Natural Places

Imagine a successful and popular program that saves our special natural places, such as parks, recreation areas, wildlife refuges and forests. Imagine further that this is accomplished not with tax dollars but with royalties paid by companies that extract oil or minerals from our public lands. What's not to love about a program like that? Now imagine that some in Congress want to kill or weaken that program. In fact, its charter just expired on Oct. 1. For 50 years, a bipartisan commitment … Continue Reading


Republican Obstruction Threatens Confirmation Of Consensus Nominees

(Monday, October 5, 2015) - Under Republican control, the Senate this year is on pace to confirm the fewest number of judges in more than a half century. If Republicans continue their obstruction, most of the 16 nominees on the executive calendar will not be confirmed before the end of the year. "If the Majority Leader continues with his obstruction, and if home state Senators cannot persuade him to schedule a vote for their nominees soon, then it is unlikely that even highly qualified nomine… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The Announcement Of The Completion Of Negotiations On The Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Deal

"The negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership now have announced that they have reached an agreement. While the full details of that agreement have not yet been outlined, I intend to review it closely. For years I have been frustrated at both the selective secrecy of negotiations, and the insistence on depriving the Senate of its constitutional role to review agreements and the laws that implement them. Despite the passage of the fast-track rules earlier this year that I opposed, I hope t… Continue Reading


Senators Call On Trade Ambassador to Defend American Sugar, Dairy Producers in TPP Negotiations

With negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ongoing, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today led a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman pointing to the importance of strong trade outcomes for American sugar and dairy producers. The letter was signed by Senators Bennet, Brown, Gillibrand, Heitkamp, Klobuchar, and Leahy, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Regarding dairy, the Senat… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Life of Doug Kendall

This past weekend, I learned of the untimely passing of Doug Kendall, founder of the Constitutional Accountability Center. Doug was a true visionary who helped transform how the American public views our Constitution. Despite a recent movement to interpret our founding charter in a cramped manner that too often leaves our most vulnerable populations unprotected, Doug was able to serve as a forceful counterweight and guardian of an inclusive, progressive, and faithful understanding of our Natio… Continue Reading


Leahy Backs Bipartisan Legislation To Address The Nation’s Exploding Prison Population This Year

(THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor, on Thursday joined in introducing the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 to reduce some mandatory sentences and apply those changes retroactively to inmates currently serving unfair sentences. Leahy, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee last Congress, led hearings on the nation's exploding prison population and advocated for comprehensive criminal justice refo… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Republicans Must End Virtual Shutdown of Judicial Confirmations

(Wednesday, September 30, 2015) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held its first judicial confirmation hearing since July, hearing the testimony of four long-pending nominees including two who would fill emergency vacancies. While Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed the overdue progress to considering these nominees, he urged Senate Republican leaders to address the growing backlog of judicial nominees pending on the floor. "I appreciate Chairman Grassley's efforts to sc… Continue Reading


Leahy & Grassley Press DHS To Enact Policy On Cell Phone Monitoring Technology

(Tuesday, September 29, 2015) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined together Tuesday to press the Department of Homeland Security to safeguard Americans' privacy when it comes to the use of cell-site simulators, also known as "Stingrays." Senators Grassley and Leahy have long raised concerns regarding the surveillance tool. While the devices can help law enforcement in identifying the location of suspects, they can unknowing… Continue Reading


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

This month, the Senate passed a resolution recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrating Hispanic Americans as dedicated public servants in the highest levels of government. These great Americans include a Supreme Court justice, 3 U.S. Senators, 34 members of the House of Representatives, and 3 members of the President's Cabinet. I commend the U.S. Senate for passing this resolution celebrating Hispanic heritage, but we should be doing much more than approving a resolution. We should be… Continue Reading

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