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

07.31.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, And Senate President Pro Tempore, On the Anniversary of the March on Washington and the Voting Rights Act

Nearly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in front of hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall. At the time, I was entering my last year of law school. I was inspired by the March on Washington and knew that history was being made before my very eyes. The youngest speaker at the March was a compelling man by the name of John Lewis. Many spoke of their unyielding support for civil rights legislation, but John Lewis demanded more. He de… Continue Reading


07.31.13

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Oversight Hearing On Government Surveillance Programs

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled "Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs." Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long called for strong oversight of government surveillance programs, and he recently introduced the bipartisan FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, which would add important reforms and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act. The video below includes excerpts… Continue Reading


07.30.13

Leahy, Cochran, Casey And Moran Introduce Bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act

U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Tuesday announced the introduction of their bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act. The bill would continue and expand a proven and effective tax incentive to encourage businesses and farms to donate surplus food to their local food banks. Leahy said, "This bill is an effort I have worked on with former Sen. Richard Lugar for many years. This is an efficient way to match a p… Continue Reading


07.29.13

Senate Confirms Comey To Be FBI Director

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to confirm James Comey to serve as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a ten-year term. Comey, who has previously been confirmed unanimously to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 18, but Republicans refused to grant a confirmation vote until this evening. Comey replaces outgoing Director Robert Muelle… Continue Reading


07.29.13

SJC Chairman Leahy Calls On Senators To Confirm FBI Director

(Monday, July 29, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on Senators Monday to support the nomination of James Comey to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Senate is slated to adjourn at the end of the week for the August break, and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller's term expires in early September. Yet despite this pressing timeline and the Judiciary Committee's unanimous support of Comey's nomination, some Senators are posing an unnece… Continue Reading


07.29.13

SJC Chairman Leahy Announces September Hearing On Mandatory Minimums

- The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in September on the issue of mandatory minimum sentences, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday. The announcement comes days after the Department of Justice announced that the state prison population saw a slight decline last year, while the number of federal prisoners actually increased over the same period. Leahy and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation in March, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, that would expand th… Continue Reading


07.26.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On The Repatriation Of Two Detainees At Guantanamo Bay Prison

"The status quo at Guantanamo is untenable, and today's announcement is a welcome step toward the Administration's stated goal of shuttering this unnecessary, expensive, and inefficient prison. It is now time for Congress to act by passing a National Defense Authorization Act that removes the unnecessary and counterproductive statutory impediments that, for too long, have prevented the transfer of detainees. This is a positive development that I hope will move us closer to closing a detention … Continue Reading


07.26.13

Vermont Receives $1 Million From USDOT For Emergency Repairs Following Spring Floods

(FRIDAY, July 26, 2013) - U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.) announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Transportation is releasing $1 million from the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief (ER) Program to repair roads and bridges damaged in a series of strong storms that struck Vermont earlier this year. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called members of the Vermo… Continue Reading


07.25.13

Leahy: SJC Will Consider Bill To Reauthorize Lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Grant Program Next Week

(Thursday, July 25, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin consideration next week of legislation to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program whose charter expired last year. The popular matching grant program has helped provide more than one million lifesaving vests to state and local law enforcement officers throughout the country. Despite the program's impact and broad bipartisan support, last year the Senate failed to extend … Continue Reading


07.25.13

Leahy Hails Senate Confirmation Of West To No. 3 Position At DOJ

(Thursday, July 25, 2013) -The Senate on Thursday, with an overwhelming vote of 98-1, confirmed the nomination of Tony West to serve as associate attorney general at the Department of Justice. West has served in an acting capacity since last year after previously serving as assistant attorney general for the civil division, a position to which he was confirmed in 2009. He appeared before the Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing in May. Additional information about West's nominatio… Continue Reading


07.25.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Ten Year Anniversary of the Passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act

Ten years ago this week, Congress passed a watershed piece of legislation. The Prison Rape Elimination Act was the first comprehensive legislative effort to prevent something we had long been reluctant to even acknowledge existed -- the incidence of rape in our federal, state, and local corrections facilities. Violence and victimization have no place in our society, including in our prisons, and we have an obligation to ensure these facilities are safe. The punishment of incarceration does not… Continue Reading


07.24.13

Leahy: Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing On FISA Next Week

(Wednesday, July 24, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the privacy rights of Americans and oversight of government surveillance programs, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday. The hearing, entitled "Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs," comes amid a national conversation about the use of government surveillance authorities and the need for proper oversight of these powers. Leahy has lon… Continue Reading


07.24.13

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearing On Closing Guantanamo Bay

The Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee is holding a hearing exploring the national security, fiscal and human rights aspects to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long called for the prison's closure, and was recently honored for his work in support of torture victims in the United States and around the world. Member statements, witness testimony and a webcast of the hearing chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are av… Continue Reading


07.24.13

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing For D.C. Circuit Nominee

(Wednesday, July 24, 2013) -The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a confirmation hearing this morning for several judicial nominees including Nina Pillard, who is nominated to fill one of three vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Member statements and a webcast of the hearing are available online. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee On Judicial Nominations July 24, 2013 Today the Judiciary Committee welcomes five excellent judicial… Continue Reading


07.24.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the “Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act”

More than three weeks have passed since interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans have doubled for students next year. Unfortunately, this rate increase has taken effect despite numerous attempts by the Senate to extend the lower rates while we debate a comprehensive solution to the high cost of college, including student loan interest rates. Few if any bills that make their arduous way through the legislative process are perfect, but the legislation we are considering today is, in too many … Continue Reading


07.24.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the “Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act”

More than three weeks have passed since interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans have doubled for students next year. Unfortunately, this rate increase has taken effect despite numerous attempts by the Senate to extend the lower rates while we debate a comprehensive solution to the high cost of college, including student loan interest rates. Few if any bills that make their arduous way through the legislative process are perfect, but the legislation we are considering today is, in too many … Continue Reading


07.23.13

Senate Panel OKs Leahy-Graham-Coats Amendment To Punish Afghan Government If Exit Taxes Are Imposed As U.S. Withdraws Supplies

A Senate panel Tuesday voted to invoke steep cuts on U.S. aid to the Afghan Government if the Karzai administration continues to insist on exit fees on U.S. property during the phased withdrawal from Afghanistan. The amendment was added to the annual budget bill for the State Department and foreign assistance, for the federal fiscal year that begins Oct.1, by the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations. The sanctions are sponsored by Sen. Patrick Lea… Continue Reading


07.23.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Impact of Sequestration on the Federal Justice System

Today the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts holds its first hearing of 2013, and its focus on the impact of sequestration on our courts and their ability to provide meaningful access to justice could not be timelier. I thank Chairman Coons for holding this important hearing. In February, even before sequestration had gone into effect, I warned about the harmful effects it could have on our courts and our justice system. Since that time, I have continued to hear f… Continue Reading


07.23.13

Summary: Fiscal Year 2014 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill Subcommittee Mark

(TUESDAY, July 23, 2013) -- The Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee today approved a fiscal year 2014 bill that provides $50.594 billion in discretionary budget authority to project U.S. leadership and protect a wide array of U.S. security, humanitarian, and economic interests around the world. Of this amount, $6.515 billion is for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) in the frontline states (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq) and in other areas in political transition … Continue Reading


07.18.13

SJC To Begin Consideration Of Media Shield Legislation Next Week

Bipartisan legislation to protect journalists and their sources will be considered by the Judiciary Committee at next week's executive business meeting, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday. Leahy's decision to place the Free Flow of Information Act on the Committee's agenda comes after he and other Committee members met last week with Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the Justice Department's review of its guidelines for obtaining information from the press. "For many years… Continue Reading

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