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

12.22.13

Bad Times for Big Brother

It has been a long week for the National Security Agency. Last Monday, a federal judge ruled for the first time that the agency's continuing sweep of Americans' phone data -- a once-secret program legally sanctioned for seven years and illegally conducted for five years before that -- was very likely unconstitutional. Judge Richard Leon denounced the agency's activities in collecting data on all Americans' phone calls as ''almost Orwellian.'' Two days later, the Obama administration released a … Continue Reading


12.22.13

President’s Review Group To Appear Before SJC Next Month

(Sunday, December 22, 2013) - The members of the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next month to provide testimony on their recent recommendations to overhaul the government's surveillance authorities, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Sunday. This will be the Judiciary Committee's first full committee hearing in the new year. "The recommendations from the President's Revie… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Senate Republicans Block Nine Judicial Nominees From Confirmation

(Friday, December 20, 2013) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) blasted Republicans for needlessly blocking the confirmation of nine judicial nominees currently pending on the floor before the end of the year. "Republicans are once again-for the fifth year in a row-rejecting the longstanding Senate practice of scheduling confirmation votes on consensus nominees before the end of the session," Leahy said. "The result is that we will spend a significant portion of the next… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the First Session Of The 113th Congress Progress Made And Much Left Incomplete

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the First Session Of The 113th Congress Progress Made And Much Left Incomplete As the first session of the 113th Congress comes to a close, it is appropriate to reflect on some of the accomplishments of the year, while acknowledging that so much more could have been done had Republicans in both the Senate and the House cooperated. We have passed some common sense, good government legislation. As Chairman of the Se… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Farm Bill Conference Progress

While the days are limited before the end of 2013, the Farm Bill Conference Committee presses on, working together in a bipartisan fashion to resolve differences and to take the steps necessary to enact a comprehensive and balanced Farm Bill. Under the leadership of Chairwoman Stabenow and Chairman Lucas, it now appears we are on target to complete our work on this bill early in the New Year. Nonetheless, it has now been more than 440 days since the Farm Bill first expired. Farms are businesses… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Judicial Nominations in 2013

Republicans are once again-for the fifth year in a row-rejecting the longstanding Senate practice of scheduling confirmation votes on consensus nominees before the end of the session. Rather than working in a bipartisan fashion to confirm consensus nominees to fill judgeships as we wind down for the year, Senate Republicans have deliberately refused to agree to vote on consensus nominees who could and should be confirmed without delay. The result is that we will spend a significant portion of… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Target Data Breach

"Like many Americans, I am troubled by the revelation that Target suffered a major data security breach involving 40 million credit and debit cards used to pay for purchases at its stores. This data security breach is just the latest in a series of breaches that have impacted the privacy of millions of American consumers in recent years. It is also an important reminder that the Congress must act to develop a comprehensive national strategy to improve the nation's cybersecurity. "In the Dig… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on the 2014 Defense Authorization Act.

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the compromise Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act is an important authorization bill that I intend to support. This will be the second legislative matter considered by the Senate this week that reflects the kind of compromise too often missing from our deliberations in Congress. It does not meet the needs of every Senator, but it marks a step in the right direction and will allow the Department of Defense to move forward key programs in the coming year.… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Leahy Hails Confirmation Of Mayorkas To Top DHS Position

(Friday, December 20, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the Senate's vote Friday to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The position has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since April. "The Department of Homeland Security is the leading agency for some of the most pressing issues facing our Nation, from providing disaster relief to protecting our borders," said Leahy, who spoke on the floor in … Continue Reading


12.20.13

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas To be Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security is the leading agency for some of the most pressing issues facing our Nation, from providing disaster relief to protecting our borders. To serve the American people, this agency needs a full complement of leaders, and that is why I am glad the Senate is considering the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to be Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. I commend Senator Carper, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, for making his nom… Continue Reading


12.20.13

Protecting Citizens, and Their Privacy

In NYT Op-E, All 5 Members Of President's Review Group On NSA/Surveillance Endorse A Key Element Of The Leahy-Sensenbrenner USA FREEDOM Act: End The Domestic Program For Storing Bulk Telephone Metadata… Continue Reading


12.19.13

Leahy, Sanders, Welch Welcome FDA’s Pledge To Redraft Controversial FDA Food Safety Rules, Reflecting Concerns They Raised On Behalf Of Vermont Food Producers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed Thursday that they will redraft controversial new food safety rules, and then seek additional public input, as requested last month by Vermont's congressional delegation -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), and Congressman Peter Welch (D). In a joint statement Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "We supported the Food Safety Modernization Act when it was adopted in 2011, but we also have serious concerns about FDA's first … Continue Reading


12.19.13

Vermont Wins $37 Million for Universal Pre-School

Vermont today won a $37 million federal grant for a statewide, pre-kindergarten program at public schools. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a member of the Senate education committee, worked closely with federal officials and Gov. Peter Shumlin's administration to secure the grant for early childhood education. Sanders said, "Psychologists tell us that, in terms of human development, the most important years are birth through four years of age. Yet, in terms of early childhood education, our natio… Continue Reading


12.19.13

Leahy: Awards To Vermont Boys & Girls Clubs Top $500,000

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that Vermont's Boys & Girls Clubs are being awarded $500,350 to help fund activities and programs administered by the six clubs that operate in Vermont. This latest round of awards brings the total for Vermont to over $8 million since 2005. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides awards to state clubs using funding provided by the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to youth mentoring. This funding supplements the private contributions… Continue Reading


12.19.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Bipartisan Budget Act

In what I hope is a sign of things to come, today, I expect the Senate to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act. The result of the long awaited budget conference -- one that had long been requested by Chairwoman Murray but never agreed to by Senate Republicans - the agreement has found some common ground and reflects a shared commitment to work for the American people, something in short supply in Congress these days. The budget deal we are considering today is a true compromise. I believe it would be… Continue Reading


12.18.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Release of Recommendations by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Release of Recommendations by the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies December 18, 2013 [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released the following comment Wednesday after the White House released recommendations from the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies to reform the nation's broad surveillance laws.] "The message to the… Continue Reading


12.18.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Republican Opposition To Judicial Confirmation Hearing On Consensus Nominees

[On Wednesday, Senate Republicans invoked procedural tactics to prevent the Judiciary Committee from convening a confirmation hearing for five district court nominees. The hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.] "The Republican shutdown of the Judiciary Committee is consistent with the obstruction we have witnessed over the last five years, which has led to record high vacancies in federal courts throughout the country. Home state Senators were consulted with respect to the nominees sc… Continue Reading


12.17.13

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Abusive Patent Practices

(Tuesday, December 17, 2013) -The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing titled "Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse." Chairman Patrick Leahy is the author of the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill to protect businesses and innovators who are being improperly targeted by patent trolls. Member statements, witness testimony and a live webcast are available online. Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),… Continue Reading


12.16.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Confirmation of Jeh Johnson To be Secretary of Homeland Security

I am pleased to support the confirmation of Jeh Johnson to be the Secretary of Homeland Security. Mr. Johnson's distinguished career in public service, including his service as a Federal prosecutor and as General Counsel of the Department of Defense, will suit him well as he takes on this new and very challenging responsibility. I look forward to inviting Mr. Johnson to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing in the new year, which he has committed to do. Mr. Joh… Continue Reading


12.16.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On the The 10th Anniversary of the Passage of the Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act Senate Floor

Today I am proud to recognize the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the "Hometown Heroes Survivors Benefits Act" which occurred this past Saturday. Back in 2003, I worked with a bipartisan group of senators to pass this legislation to improve the Department of Justice's Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program by allowing families of public safety officers who suffer fatal heart attacks or strokes to qualify for federal survivor benefits. I am proud to mark the 10-year anniversary of … Continue Reading

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