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

12.05.13

Leahy: Senate Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing On Patent Trolls This Month

(Thursday, December 5, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing this month to examine pending patent troll legislation, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday. The hearing, titled "Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse," comes just weeks after Leahy and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013. The bipartisan bill aims to protect businesses and innovators who are being imp… Continue Reading


12.05.13

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., President Pro Tempore Of The Senate) On The Death Of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is a legend for our times and for the ages. He was the world's compass through the dark night of South African apartheid, leading his country into the light. The images of his walk to freedom through the prison gates are etched in our memories and on the pages of history. His courage is a lesson to us all, and so is his selflessness. I will always cherish the memory of meeting with him when he came to the Capitol in 1994. I had the honor of serving on the Senate's escort comm… Continue Reading


12.04.13

Comments of Senator Patrick Leahy On Secretary Hagel’s Commitment To Facilitate Equal Access To Benefits For Same-Sex Partners In The National Guard

"As co-chair of the National Guard Caucus and a strong supporter of equal rights for same-sex partners, I was pleased to hear Secretary Hagel's announcement that we are close to reaching the goal of equality for all men and women in the National Guard and for their loved ones. Vermonters and all Americans rely on the dedication and professionalism of all of the members of our National Guard, whoever they are, to defend our security in times of conflict and to support our communities in times of… Continue Reading


12.03.13

Leahy, Sanders, Welch, Shumlin – On AF’s Selection Of Burlington For F-35 Basing

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont's congressional delegation - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) -- and Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) Tuesday issued the following statement after the Air Force announced its decision on basing F-35 aircraft at the Vermont Air National Guard: "The Air Force decision to base its newest generation of planes in Burlington is a tribute to the Vermont Air National Guard, which is the finest in the nation. It reflects the Guard's de… Continue Reading


11.25.13

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Interim Nuclear Agreement With Iran

[Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is President Pro Tempore of the Senate and chairs the State Department And Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.] "I've been briefed by our negotiators in Geneva. I am encouraged that they and most of our allies believe this is a good, interim deal with the necessary checks and balances. Obviously some of our friends in the region like Saudi Arabia and Israel have concerns about the deal. The Administration will have a short… Continue Reading


11.22.13

Leahy, Sanders, Welch Urge Rewrite Of Food Safety Rules

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revise rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act in a way that enhances food safety and the continued strength of Vermont's agricultural sector. Leahy said, "Strong food safety rules are essential to protecting consumers and ensuring the quality that has become synonymous with the 'Vermont' brand, and that is why I supported the Food … Continue Reading


11.21.13

Broad Coalition Of Tech Companies, Nonprofit Groups Offers Support For The Leahy-Sensenbrenner USA FREEDOM Act

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), coauthors of the USA FREEDOM Act to end dragnet collection of Americans' phone records, Thursday welcomed the support of a broad coalition of technology companies, trade associations and nonprofit organizations that advocate "privacy protections, oversight and accountability mechanisms that govern" surveillance authorities. In a letter to Leahy and Sensenbrenner, the group of nearly 60 signees including Hewlett-Packard, D… Continue Reading


11.21.13

Leahy Supports Change In Senate Rules To Address Unprecedented Filibusters

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday voted in favor of making changes to the Senate rules to overcome Republican abuse of filibuster rules and ensure the Senate's ability to confirm qualified nominees to judicial and executive posts. Leahy, the President Pro Tempore and the Senate's longest-serving member, presided over the series of procedural votes. In recent weeks, Senate Republicans have blocked three highly qualified nominees to serve on the D.C. Circuit.… Continue Reading


11.21.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week

Next week, Americans across the country will gather with family and friends to celebrate a national tradition, Thanksgiving. Some will give thanks for their good fortune or health over the past year, while others will simply be thankful to see their loved ones together in one place. What most of us will take for granted, however, is that we will have a meal to eat and have a home in which to gather. Far too many Americans will not have that luxury. During this time of reflection, and in honor of… Continue Reading


11.21.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Impact of a Continuing Resolution and Sequestration on America’s Children, Teachers and Families

Mr. President. It has been only a few short weeks since the needless government shutdown that cost the Treasury more than $20 billion dollars, disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers and their families in every state, threatened to wreak havoc with the world's financial markets, and accomplished nothing. But an important deadline, one critical to determining how we resolve the current budget crisis, is just a few days away. While this approaching deadline does not com… Continue Reading


11.21.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military

Earlier this year, as many others were, I was shocked when the Department of Defense released a stunning report about the increase in sexual assault among the branches of the armed forces. Sexual assault in the military is neither a new issue, nor an uncommon one. It has been a problem for decades. Its occurrence is a stain on the honor of our military and nation that we must all work to eliminate. Military bases are where our troops are supposed to be safe, and to know that they risk being … Continue Reading


11.18.13

SJC Chairman Leahy: D.C. Circuit Vacancies Must Be Filled

- U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate's longest-serving member, spoke out against the growing obstruction to highly-qualified judicial nominees in a floor statement Monday. Speaking in favor of Judge Robert Wilkins, a nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Leahy stated "Over the course of almost four decades, I have seen dramatic changes in Senate majorities and leadership styles. But nothing in all that time c… Continue Reading


11.18.13

PATENT TROLLS: Leahy Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Protect VT Businesses From Patent Lawsuit Abuse

-- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Committee member Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined together Monday to introduce legislation to protect businesses and innovators who are being improperly targeted by so-called "patent trolls." The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 would increase transparency in patent ownership, customers who are sued for patent infringement by allowing the case against them to be stayed while the manufacturer litigates the suit, tar… Continue Reading


11.18.13

Senator Leahy on watching JFK's funeral cortege

Below is the LINK to a Washington Post/Witnify video interview with Senator Leahy, about his recollections from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 50 years ago this Friday. Patrick Leahy at the time was a law student at the Georgetown Law Center, and he and wife Marcelle were in Washington as they lived through the trauma that roiled the nation. Senator Leahy on watching JFK's funeral cortege… Continue Reading


11.18.13

Leahy: Arguments of Convenience Block Judicial Appointments

During nearly four decades in the Senate, I have served with Demo­cratic majorities and Republican majorities, through both Republican and Democratic administrations. I have always believed in the Senate's unique protection of the minority party, even when Democrats held a majority in the Senate. Yet, over the past five years, Senate Republicans have changed the tradition of the Senate with an escalating obstruction of judicial nominations. These actions threaten the Senate's ability to do … Continue Reading


11.14.13

Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Vermont Nets $350,000 For Housing Condition Improvements

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced $350,000 in grants awarded to four organizations across Vermont to improve housing conditions for limited income rural residents. Nearly $300,000 of the grants were designated to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont - Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties - as a Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone, a USDA Rural Development designation recognizing the unique rural nature… Continue Reading


11.14.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Closing Guantanamo

More than 12 years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, as our military presence in Afghanistan winds down, it is time to take a hard look at our counterterrorism policy. We need to consider which of our policies are working and which, while perhaps well-intentioned when they were adopted in the highly charged weeks and months after 9/11, are not making us safer. There is ample evidence that the status quo is unsustainable. As recent revelations have made clear, we need a careful re… Continue Reading


11.13.13

Leahy, Portman Introduce Legislation To Support Ex-Offenders & Reduce Crime

- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to reauthorize the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism. Wednesday's bill introduction comes as the Judiciary Committee is considering ways to reduce prison costs for federal, state and local governments. The Second Chance Act, which was first enacted in 2008, aims to tackle those costs by improving pri… Continue Reading


11.12.13

Leahy Calls On Senate Republicans To End Filibuster Of Highly Qualified Circuit Court Nominee

(Tuesday, November 12, 2013) - U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday called on Republicans to end their filibuster of Nina Pillard's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and confirm this highly qualified nominee. Pillard would fill one of three vacancies on what is widely considered the second most important court in the country. Pillard is also the third woman nominated to the D.C. Circuit in the Obama administration to be subjected to a filibus… Continue Reading


11.12.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Cornelia “Nina” Pillard

Here we are again. For the third time this year, we are debating whether to end a Republican filibuster and allow a confirmation vote for a highly qualified woman to the D.C. Circuit. In March, it was Caitlin Halligan. Last month, it was Patricia Millett. Today, it is Nina Pillard. The qualifications of each of these nominees surpass those of many other attorneys confirmed to the Federal bench. These three women have earned their way to the top of the legal profession and it appears that S… Continue Reading

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