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Press Releases

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


Leahy’s USA FREEDOM Act Gains Early Support And Praise

(THURSDAY, July 31, 2014) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed the support among stakeholders for bipartisan legislation he introduced this week to help restore Americans' privacy rights by ending the government's dragnet collection of phone records and requiring greater oversight, transparency, and accountability with respect to domestic surveillance authorities. "This is a debate about Americans' fundamental relationship with their government - about whether … Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On A Short-Term Extension Of The Highway Trust Fund

Our tight knit communities in Vermont are part and parcel of my state's culture of neighbors helping neighbors. Our neighbors are not just next door; they are often in the most rural parts of the state, which can be difficult to reach. Our roads and our bridges connect us in a most basic way, and Hurricane Irene was a stark reminder that our infrastructure connects us not only in commercial ways, but in practical social ways that are integral to the spirit of Vermont communities. After Irene,… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on The Confirmation of Robert McDonald to be VA Secretary

Mr. President, as we have learned over the past several months, there has been a clear and inexcusable lack of well-earned quality care and timely service provided to many veterans who depend on it from the Department of Veterans Affairs. I hope that the confirmation of Robert McDonald as VA Secretary will be the next step forward in ensuring that our veterans and their families receive the benefits, compensation and support services they rightfully deserve. While I continue to recognize the har… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Historic Bill To Ban NSA’s Dragnet Collection Of Americans’ Electronic Communications

(TUESDAY, July 29, 2014) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would restore Americans' privacy rights by ending the government's dragnet collection of phone records and requiring greater oversight, transparency, and accountability with respect to domestic surveillance authorities. The updated version of the USA FREEDOM Act released today builds on legislation passed in the House in May, as well as the original legislation Leahy int… Continue Reading


Leahy And Other Leaders Of Senate and House Judiciary Committees Hail Final Congressional Action On Pro-Consumer Cell Phone Legislation

(FRIDAY, July 25, 2014) - The House on Friday unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that would restore the ability of consumers to more easily transfer their cell phones to other wireless carriers, just one week after the Senate approved the same measure. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) coordinated with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) on the issue. The … Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Rutland Area Airport Nets $8.1 Million Grant For Safety Improvements

(FRIDAY, July 23, 2014) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Friday announced the Rutland Southern-Vermont Regional Airport in North Clarendon, Vermont, received a $8,127,261 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to make safety improvements to the airport. In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "As the only Vermont airport with commercial air service other than Burlington, the Rutland airport is a vital link f… Continue Reading


Leahy: Vermont Nets $6.8 M. In Homeland Security Preparedness Grants

(FRIDAY, July 25, 2014) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced Vermont will receive $6.8 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), up from $6.3 million last year. The grants - under a formula championed by Leahy that protects smaller states like Vermont -- will help Vermont develop prevention and preparedness programs to respond to and recover from acts of terrorism and other catastrophic events. Leahy said, "First responders know that preparation… Continue Reading


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

Today, we will vote to end the filibuster against the nomination of Pamela Harris to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She is a highly accomplished lawyer with excellent legal credentials, and has the strong support of her home state Senators, Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin. Her nomination received the American Bar Association's highest rating of unanimously well qualified. Pam Harris is currently a visiting professor at my alma mater, Georgetown University Law … Continue Reading


Leahy, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Runaway And Homeless Youth And Trafficking Prevention Act

(WEDNESDAY, July 23, 2014) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to curb youth homelessness that affects 1.6 million teens throughout the country. The Leahy-Collins Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act reauthorizes a critical federal grant program established to help states and local communities address the needs of runaway and homeless youth in both urban and rural area… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Senate Consideration of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2013

I have come to this floor many times to talk about the need to support law enforcement and to ensure that our criminal justice system serves everyone fairly. I do so again today in light of a disturbing report issued by the Justice Department's Inspector General last week, which described serious flaws in some of our nation's crime labs. The report focused on 13 crime lab examiners whose work was seriously flawed, and whose testimony contributed to the convictions of thousands of offenders, in… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Vote To Retroactively Apply Two-Level Reduction In Drug Quantity Table

[In April 2014, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to lower the drug sentencing guidelines by two levels effective November 1, 2014. This amendment would result in drug sentencing guidelines that correspond with, and no longer exceed, statutory mandatory minimum penalties. Today the Sentencing Commission voted to make this amendment retroactive.] I applaud the Sentencing Commission for voting unanimously to retroactively apply a two-level reduction in drug sentencing guidelines. As I made … Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Farm Bill Funds To Help Small Farmers With Organic Certification Costs

(THURSDAY, July 17, 2014) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday announced $13 million in funding to help farmers working to earn their organic certifications. Leahy - considered the "father" of the national organic standards and labeling program - fought to include the organic certification assistance program in the 2014 Farm Bill, enacted earlier this year. Leahy said: "Organic farming has blossomed into a $35 billion a year industry in the United States. Vermont farmers are part of this… Continue Reading


Vermont Senators Honor Gov. Phil Hoff

, July 17 - In joint remarks before the U.S. Senate today, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) honored former Vermont Gov. Phil Hoff, who just turned 90 years old. Hoff served three terms as governor. First elected in 1962, he was the first Democrat to hold the state's highest office in more than a century. "We rise today to celebrate Philip Hoff, the 73rd governor of the state of Vermont, for his extraordinary contributions to the state of Vermont, and to our nation," Leahy… Continue Reading


SJC Approves 5 Nominees

(Thursday, July 17, 2014) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved five nominees to fill judicial vacancies, including an important vacancy on the Fourth Circuit. The nomination of Pamela Harris, a highly accomplished appellate litigator and professor at Georgetown University Law Center, was approved 10-8 on Thursday. Her nomination received the American Bar Association's highest rating of unanimously well qualified, and she has broad support from the legal community. One letter, s… Continue Reading


Senator Leahy: “The refugee crisis has come to our own border”

(Wednesday, July 16, 2014) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on all Senators Wednesday to support the nation's humanitarian and refugee efforts by passing the emergency supplemental to respond to the crisis at the Southern border. Leahy, who as chairman of the Judiciary Committee steered the Senate's passage of comprehensive immigration reform last year, reminded Senators of "America's role as a human rights leader and our long history of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution and v… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, On Unaccompanied Minors and the Growing Humanitarian Crisis at the Southern Border

Over the years, I have frequently spoken on the Senate Floor about refugees, and have asked my fellow Senators to support our humanitarian and refugee efforts in far flung corners of the world. In doing so, I cite America's role as a human rights leader and our long history of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution and violence. We must also acknowledge, however, that our relative geographic isolation means those commitments have rarely been put to the test at home. No more. Today, the… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act”

Last month five conservative justices on the Supreme Court decided that a corporation's rights can trump a female employee's right to make her own health care decisions. This is just the latest decision from a thin majority of justices that diminish the rights of hardworking Americans and have a direct effect on their economic security. I am proud to be a cosponsor of the "Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act," which the Senate is considering today. It is needed to overturn … Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Nomination of Judge Ronnie White

The Senate will vote today to try to end the unjustified filibuster against Judge Ronnie White, who has been nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Many Senators will remember Judge White from 15 years ago, when the Senate denied his confirmation by a party line vote after an ugly campaign by Republican Senators to caricature him as a jurist who was soft on crime. Today, the Senate has an opportunity to reject that unjust characterization and confir… Continue Reading


Senate Unanimously Passes Leahy’s Bipartisan Cellphone Unlocking Bill That Improves Consumer Choice When Switching Wireless Carriers

(WEDNESDAY, July 16, 2014) - The Senate Tuesday night unanimously passed bipartisan legislation authored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would restore the ability of consumers to more easily transfer their cell phones to other wireless carriers. Approval of the bill comes just days after the Judiciary Committee unanimously reported it to the full Senate. Leahy and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined together last month to announce a bipartisan agreement on … Continue Reading


Leahy, Klobuchar Introduce Legislation to Improve North Country Scenic Trail Route, Bringing Together Two Historic Trails at the Green Mountains

(MONDAY, July 14, 2014) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation to improve the North Country Scenic Trail. The bill would extend the trail into Vermont, connecting it to the Appalachian Trail, allowing hikers to journey the entire 4,600 miles from North Dakota to Vermont. The trail currently extends from New York to North Dakota. The trial was never built along certain sections in Minnesota because the current route includes wetland areas that are diffi… Continue Reading

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