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


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


Leahy: Attorney General, DNI, And FBI Director All Support The USA FREEDOM Act

"This is not a game. After yesterday's briefing from intelligence officials, I am more convinced than ever that the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 is the right approach for ending the NSA phone records program and making reforms to our surveillance programs. I would prefer more reforms as anyone can see from previous versions of the bill that I have introduced. Other Senators would prefer more dragnet surveillance. The USA FREEDOM Act of 2015 is a reasonable compromise that will pass today in the H… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Service as Attorney General of the United States

Two weeks ago, Loretta Lynch was finally sworn in as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States. I am confident that she will be an exceptional Attorney General, and she has wasted no time getting to work on many of the most pressing law enforcement issues facing our nation. Given that is it Police Week, I wanted to say a few words in tribute to the remarkable service of Eric Holder, our outgoing Attorney General. He came to the Justice Department as a 25-year-old law school graduate in 1… Continue Reading


Leahy Calls On Senators To Support Nominee Sally Yates To Fill No. 2 Position At Justice Department

(Wednesday, May 13, 2015) -Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday called for the Senate to confirm Sally Yates to serve as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. The Deputy Attorney General is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Department of Justice, and is an essential partner to the Attorney General in safeguarding Americans. Yates was nominated to the No. 2 position at the Department in January and despite having broad bipartisan… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Hearing on “Protecting the Constitutional Right to Counsel for Indigents Charged with Misdemeanors”

Rarely does a hearing touch core constitutional obligations more directly than what we are discussing today. Our Founders were determined that the government's power be limited. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a cornerstone of that principle. It is a guarantee that before your liberty is taken, before the government can put you in jail, it must prove its case against you in what the Supreme Court has called the "crucible of meaningful adversarial testing." And that requires a lawyer. … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On His Vote Against Cloture On The Fast-Track Trade Authority Bill (The Trade Priorities and Accountability Act)

"I cannot support moving to a debate that Senate Republican leaders have refused to define. I will not support writing a blank check for debate on an unspecified package of bills, without any assurances that American workers and our economy will be protected." # # # # #… Continue Reading


As House Prepares To Take Up NSA Reform This Week, Leahy Urges Senate To Act

(Tuesday, May 12, 2015) - This week, the House is poised to take up and pass the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who coauthored the bill with leading House members to end the government's dragnet collection of phone records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, joined together Tuesday to call on the Senate to take up and pass the historic legislation after the House acts. "In the name of fighting terrorism, the government convinced … Continue Reading


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

Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act expires in a matter of weeks. Senator Lee and I have a bipartisan bill, the USA FREEDOM Act, that would end the use of Section 215 to authorize the bulk collection of Americans' phone records, and replace it with a more targeted program. It also would enact other important reforms to bring more accountability and transparency to government surveillance. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is bringing that same bill for a vote in the House on Wednesda… Continue Reading


Leahy And Nutrition Leaders Visit Milton Elementary School To Spotlight His New Bill To Renew And Expand The Farm To School Program

MILTON, Vt. (MONDAY, May 11, 2015) - On Monday, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) visited Milton Elementary School to join students for lunch, while taking the opportunity to spotlight his recently introduced bipartisan, bicameral bill aimed at extending a key nutrition program for school-aged children, in advance of the reauthorization of the Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act. Leahy, the most senior member of both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, is the au… Continue Reading

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