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


Short memories

[The following is an excerpt from Barrie Dunsmore's guest column in the Times Argus on rewriting the history of Iraq. The full article can be found on the Times Argus website here. Barrie Dunsmore is a former foreign correspondent for ABC News and lives in Charlotte, Vt.] "The Islamic State is but one of the Middle East's problems of recent years. The hopes for a more democratic region engendered by the Arab Spring, have been dashed. Egypt is now more of a military dictatorship than it was und… Continue Reading


Leahy: Senate Must Have Meaningful Debate About Americans’ Privacy Rights

(Saturday, May 23, 2015) - Senate Republicans delayed for another week debate on the USA FREEDOM Act, an historic bill to rein in surveillance authorities and ensure Americans' privacy rights. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), coauthor of the bipartisan legislation that overwhelmingly passed the House just last week, said Republican leaders should not be putting off such a critical debate. However, Leahy said the broad coalition that supports reform will be ready… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Ranking Member Senate Judiciary Committee On Senate Republicans’ Last-Minute Bid To Reauthorize Surveillance Authorities Without The Reforms Of The USA FREEDOM Act

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Senate Republicans' Last-Minute Bid To Reauthorize Surveillance Authorities Without The Reforms Of The USA FREEDOM Act May 22, 2015 "Democrats and Republicans have been working for two years to build consensus on legislation that ends the bulk collection of Americans' phone records and reforms expiring surveillance authorities. While I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, we held six hearings on this i… Continue Reading


From the Left to the Right, Support Builds for the USA FREEDOM ACT of 2015

(Friday, May 22, 2015) - Supporters from all corners continue calling on Senate Republican leaders to take up and pass the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill to end the bulk collection of Americans' phone records and bring needed reform to key surveillance authorities that are set to expire in the coming days. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure last week. The bill is supported by a majority of Senators, yet Republican leaders continue to block reform and have no alternative … Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, In Support of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, HR 2048

For more than two years, I have worked with members of Congress from both parties and in both chambers to develop the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. It is a common-sense surveillance reform bill that protects Americans' privacy, while also ensuring our national security. The bill does not go nearly as far as the bill that I first introduced in October 2013 with Congressman Sensenbrenner. Nor does it go as far as the USA FREEDOM Act that was filibustered last November by Senate Republicans. The inc… Continue Reading


President Accepts Leahy Recommendation And Announces Nomination Of Burlington Attorney Eric Miller To Be Vermont’s Next U.S. Attorney

(THURSDAY, May 21, 2015) - U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday said that President Obama will nominate Burlington attorney Eric Miller to be Vermont's next United States Attorney. Leahy recommended Miller in February to serve as Vermont's 37th United States Attorney, managing the U.S. Department of Justice's U.S. Attorney offices in Burlington and Rutland and overseeing the work of nearly 20 attorneys who represent the United States in criminal and civil investigations and litigation… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Justice For Victims of Trafficking Act

On the floor yesterday, the Majority Leader claimed that last Congress, Senate Democrats "failed to bring any trafficking legislation to the floor." I do not normally do this, but I must correct the record. The facts are exactly the opposite, and the Senate's history must be clear on this. Last Congress, despite the opposition of the majority of Senate Republicans, including Senators McConnell and Cornyn, Senate Democrats reauthorized our Nation's two cornerstone pieces of legislation that… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Need to Pass the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015

"The House has already acted responsibly to reform the expiring provisions by overwhelming passing the USA FREEDOM Act. They are on their way out of town. House Republicans have made clear that they will not accept a short-term extension of an illegal bulk collection program. Because the Majority Leader has run out the clock, the Senate has two options. The Senate can pass the USA FREEDOM Act, or it can let these provisions expire. At this point, there is no third option. "A growing major… Continue Reading


Leahy & Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Encourage The Humanitarian Work Of American Innovators

(Wednesday, May 20, 2015) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to encourage and reward the use of patented technology to address humanitarian needs. The bipartisan introduction comes as the Judiciary Committee is poised to consider broader legislation to improve the patent system and support innovation. The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act builds on an existing award program at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offi… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Hearing on “Taking Sexual Assault Seriously: The Rape Kit Backlog and Human Rights”

We are here today to address our nation's response to the devastating crime of rape. I appreciate that this hearing will not only focus on the unacceptable and ongoing backlog of untested rape kits, but also on the human right to be free from this violence. The crimes of rape and sexual assault are so reprehensible because they strike at the core of victims' personal autonomy and control over their bodies. For too long, survivors of sexual assault, the vast majority of them women, have… Continue Reading


Gilman Middle School

On May 20, 2015, Senator Leahy conducted an online chat with the seventh and eighth graders of Gilman Middle School. Senator Leahy enjoyed discussing the Trans-Pacific-Partnership and the role of China in the global economy. He was especially impressed by the students' difficult questions regarding mandatory vaccinations and ISIS.… Continue Reading


Senate Republicans Block Consideration Of USA FREEDOM Act Days Before Critical Intelligence Authorities Set To Expire

(Tuesday, May 19, 2015) - Critical surveillance authorities used by the intelligence community are set to expire in a matter of days, and intelligence leaders and the administration are urging Congress to act. Following last week's overwhelming House vote in favor of the USA FREEDOM Act, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined with Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) Tuesday to seek unanimous consent for the Senate to consider the legislation. Despite having broad support,… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Legislation To Hold American Contractors Overseas Accountable Under U.S. Law

(TUESDAY, May 19, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced legislation to provide accountability for American contractors and government employees working abroad. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) would close a gap in current law and ensure that government employees and contractors working overseas can be prosecuted for criminal acts they commit abroad. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is a cosponsor of the Leahy bill. "To … Continue Reading


Leahy Plays Matchmaker, Arranging For Donation Of 25 U.S. Senate Surplus Computers To Vermont Classrooms

(TUESDAY, May 19, 2015) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has played matchmaker in arranging shipments of 25 surplus computers to five Vermont schools through the U.S. Senate's Computers For Schools program. Overseen by the Senate's Sergeant At Arms, the program was established to offer surplus used computers to needy classrooms in underserved schools. In April Leahy worked with Vermont Agency of Education officials to identify schools with the highest needs for computers. These five schools n… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015

In just 12 days, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, along with two other surveillance authorities, will expire. And once again, Senate Republican leadership is scrambling at the last minute to avoid a crisis of its own making. Last year, I urged the Senate to pass the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014. We all knew that the expiration date for these surveillance authorities was right around the corner. We knew that May 31st would arrive quickly in the new Congress. I did not want our intelligence com… Continue Reading


Leahy Joined By Burlington, Vermont And Federal Officials For Downtown Transit Center Groundbreaking In Burlington

BURLINGTON (Monday, May 18, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Monday joined local, state and federal officials to break ground on Burlington's new Downtown Transit Center, a project 15 years in the making. Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, played a pivotal role in securing $8 million for the long planed center, as well as nearly $40 million in federal funding for public transit stations and buses across Vermont over the past 15 years. Burlington Mayor Mir… Continue Reading


USA FREEDOM ACT: A Bipartisan Compromise the Senate Must Pass

(Saturday, May 16, 2015) - The Republican-led House voted overwhelmingly this week in favor of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bipartisan compromise that restores Americans' privacy rights by ending the government's dragnet collection of phone records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. While the bill has the support of intelligence leaders, the administration, the technology industry, and privacy advocates, Senate Republican leaders are instead pushing for an extension of the National Security A… Continue Reading


Following Overwhelming House Vote, Bipartisan, Bicameral Authors of the USA FREEDOM Act Call For Senate to Pass the Legislation

(Thursday, May 14, 2015) -- Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), and Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), issued the following statement Thursday urging t… Continue Reading


Marion Cross School

On May 14, 2015, Senator Leahy held an online chat with the second and fifth graders of Marion Cross School. He enjoyed their questions on his role as a U.S. Senator and his pathway to Congress. He was especially impressed by their questions regarding a nuclear agreement with Iran and on same-sex marriage.… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On House Passage of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015

[Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Wednesday after the House overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan, bicameral USA FREEDOM Act to end the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans' phone records. Leahy is the lead Democratic coauthor of the legislation in the Senate, which he recently introduced with Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). The White House endorsed the bill on Tuesday in a Statement of Administration Policy.] "The overwhelming vote i… Continue Reading

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