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Press Releases

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

06.27.13

Leahy Hails Passage of Historic Immigration Reform Bill

(Thursday, June 27, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the chamber's passage of sweeping immigration reform legislation that aims to unite families, boost the economy and bring millions into the legal immigration system. Leahy, the Senate's most senior member and president pro tem, managed the three-week floor debate on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act that was approved in a bipartisan 68 to 32 vote. "With this leg… Continue Reading


06.27.13

Leahy Closing Statement On The Senate’s Historic Debate Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

(THURSDAY, June 27, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is managing debate of the bipartisan immigration reform bill that has been pending for the last three weeks, made the following floor statement - his closing remarks in the debate -- on the Senate's historic consideration of this legislation. The Senate will vote momentarily on final passage of the bipartisan measure that was also the subject of extensive consideration in the Judiciary Committee under Leahy… Continue Reading


06.27.13

Vermont Wild and Scenic Rivers

, June 27 - The Upper Missisquoi and Trout rivers in northern Vermont would be added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System under legislation introduced today by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.). The system managed by the Department of the Interior was established in 1968 to recognize and preserve rivers with remarkable scenic and recreational value. Today, 40 other states have rivers listed under the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The … Continue Reading


06.27.13

Victims' Groups Oppose Amendments Offered By Republican Senators As Having Destructive Unintended Consequences

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Majority Staff S. 744: The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act Victims' Groups Oppose Amendments Offered by Republican Senators As Having Destructive Unintended Consequences During floor debate, some Republican opponents of S.744 objected to votes on 32 non-controversial amendments offered by Republican and Democratic Senators unless they received votes on a series of controversial amendments, including amendments relatin… Continue Reading


06.26.13

Leahy Applauds DOMA Decision, Vows To Continue Fight For Equality For All Americans

(Wednesday, June 26, 2012) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, and he vowed to continue working to ensure the nation's laws provide equal protection for all citizens. "Today, thousands of gay and lesbian individuals and families across the country have had their rights vindicated by the Supreme Court's decision," Leahy said, adding that "I share the joy of millions of American families… Continue Reading


06.26.13

The FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013

For Background Purposes Public revelations about two classified data collection programs have brought renewed attention to the powerful Government surveillance authorities contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), particularly the impact on law-abiding Americans of provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The Director of National Intelligence has acknowledged that they are being conducted pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT and Sect… Continue Reading


06.26.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Supreme Court’s Decision Overturning The Defense Of Marriage Act

[The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision Wednesday in Windsor v. United States that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a leading cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, a legislative fix to repeal DOMA. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he led the panel's consideration of the legislation and he chaired the first-ever congressional hearing examining the effects of DOMA on American families. The Judiciary Commi… Continue Reading


06.26.13

Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy At The Center For Victims Of Torture Eclipse Award

I appreciate this award, but frankly, in all honesty, it should not exist. This award should not exist. The fact that each year the Center for Victims of Torture presents this award to someone who has worked on behalf of torture survivors and for the prevention of torture, tells us a lot about the world today. It is shocking that in 2013, sixty-four years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, torture is still practiced in the vast majority of countries. While mos… Continue Reading


06.25.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The President’s Address On Climate Change And Power Plant Emissions

I agree with the President that climate change represents one of the greatest challenges of our time, but it is also a challenge uniquely suited to our strengths as a country. Our scientists, researchers, universities and entrepreneurs stand ready to design and build new, less polluting energy sources. Vermont's and our country's farmers and forestland owners stand ready to grow renewable fuels. American businesses will innovate and develop new energy technologies that will reduce pollution a… Continue Reading


06.25.13

Leahy: A Vermonter’s Perspectives On Immigration, Family Values, And American Values

(TUESDAY, June 25, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is managing consideration of the comprehensive immigration reform bill before the Senate, delivered the following statement Tuesday about his family's immigration experience. "Nearly every American family has a story like mine and Marcelle's. We are more alike than we are different from today's immigrants and first-generation Americans. The majority of new immigrants will continue this proud tradition… Continue Reading


06.25.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Supreme Court Decision Shelby County v. Holder

[BACKGROUND: In a divided 5-4 decision, a narrow majority of the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula of the Voting Rights Act, which determines which jurisdictions that have a history of discrimination require preclearance under Section 5. The Court's decision impacts the effectiveness of Section 5 of the landmark Voting Rights Act which provides significant protections against voting discrimination. The Voting Rights Act, including the coverage formula and Section 5, was reauthori… Continue Reading


06.24.13

Leahy Urges Bipartisan Compromise For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

(Monday, June 24, 2013) -The Senate will cast a procedural vote Monday on the Hoeven-Corker amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is managing the bill on the floor, said the Republican amendment is part of the Senate's bipartisan process to passing comprehensive immigration reform. "This is not the amendment I would have drafted," Leahy said, but "Because their amendment will incr… Continue Reading


06.24.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On Introduction of the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013 Senate Floor

For more than a decade, the Government's ability and authority to gather information and electronic communications data about those suspected of, or connected to, potential terrorists has greatly increased. However, the Government should have such powerful authorities only if there is proper oversight, accountability, and transparency, to ensure we maintain both our nation's security and the fundamental civil liberties upon which our nation was founded. I have long been troubled by the expansi… Continue Reading


06.24.13

Leahy, Van Hollen and Members of House and Senate Join in Bicameral Effort Urging the FDA to Protect Consumers Who Rely On Generic Prescriptions

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) joined with Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and Matthew Cartwright (D-Penn.) Monday to call for regulatory action by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in light of today's 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Mutual Pharmaceuticals v. Bartlett. The decision held that a New Hampshire woman who suffer… Continue Reading


06.24.13

Leahy Renews Legislative Push to Limit Surveillance Authorities & Bolster Oversight

- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Monday introduced legislation that would add important reforms and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act. The FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013 will bolster existing privacy safeguards and require greater oversight, transparency, and accountability in connection with the government's expansive domestic surveillance powers. "The recent public revelations about two classified … Continue Reading


06.21.13

Leahy Amendment To Limit Border Zone Vehicle Stops And Searches of Private Land Is Included In New Bipartisan Border Agreement

The bipartisan immigration compromise reached in the Senate Friday includes a key provision championed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to help protect the privacy and property rights of millions of people who live near the Northern Border. It makes significant progress in addressing the broad border zones where officials may stop vehicles and enter private land without warrants. Other Leahy-related provisions included in the compromise agreement include improvement… Continue Reading


06.21.13

Leahy Statement On Republican Border Security Amendment

(FRIDAY, June 21, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made the following statement Friday about the Hoeven-Corker amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Leahy is managing consideration of the legislation on the floor, and led the Judiciary Committee's extensive markup process last month. "One of the reasons I decided to continue chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee is because of this once-in-a-generation cha… Continue Reading


06.21.13

New York Times article (6/21/13), “Military Says Law Barring U.S. Aid To Rights Violators Hurts Training Mission.”

New York Times article (6/21/13), "Military Says Law Barring U.S. Aid To Rights Violators Hurts Training Mission," on the Pentagon's challenge to the longstanding Leahy Amendment, the U.S. government's key human rights tool, first enacted in 1997 and made permanent in subsequent years. To read the story, click here.… Continue Reading


06.21.13

Military Says Law Barring U.S. Aid to Rights Violators Hurts Training Mission

New York Times article (6/21/13), "Military Says Law Barring U.S. Aid To Rights Violators Hurts Training Mission," on the Pentagon's challenge to the longstanding Leahy Amendment, the U.S. government's key human rights tool, first enacted in 1997 and made permanent in subsequent years.… Continue Reading


06.20.13

Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Expected Nomination Of James Comey To Be The Director Of The FBI

"I congratulate James Comey, the expected nominee to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Comey showed the kind of independence needed to lead the FBI when he stood up to those in the last administration who sought to violate the rule of law. I hope that Senators will provide Mr. Comey with the swift and respectful confirmation he deserves. "I also congratulate Director Mueller for his unprecedented tenure at the FBI. He led the Bureau during an era of daunting n… Continue Reading

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