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


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Why He Will Not Attend Speaker Boehner’s Joint Meeting With Prime Minister Netanyahu:

"The unfortunate way that House leaders have unilaterally arranged this, and then heavily politicized it, has demolished the potential constructive value of this Joint Meeting. They have orchestrated a tawdry and high-handed stunt that has embarrassed not only Israel but the Congress itself. It has long been an unwritten rule and practice through the decades that when it comes to American foreign policy, we speak and act thoughtfully, with one voice when we can, with the national interests of … Continue Reading


Colchester High School, Colchester, VT:

On Thursday, February 5, Senator Leahy led an engaging discussion with Colchester High School's "Civics in Action" class. Comprised of seniors looking to take action on issues facing their communities, the Senator was impressed by the students' in-depth questions, and with their drive to help people in need. He especially enjoyed talking about how Vermont has changed politically since he took office, and about what we can all do to promote peace and reduce poverty.… Continue Reading


Malletts Bay School, Colchester, VT:

On Wednesday, February 4, Senator Leahy hosted an online chat with fifth graders of the Malletts Bay School. The children engaged in an interesting discussion about their ideas for change throughout the nation. Senator Leahy particularly enjoyed hearing about their desire to stop bullying in schools. He also liked telling them about his life before becoming a U.S. Senator, and about his goal to pass legislation to protect the privacy of Americans in the 114th Congress.… Continue Reading


Leahy Urges Senate To Support Nominee To Serve As Drug Policy Director

(Monday, February 9, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Monday called for the confirmation of Michael Botticelli to serve as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Botticelli has served as the Acting Director of ONDCP since March 2014, and he was previously the Deputy Director of this office. Botticelli was first nominated to lead ONDCP in September of last year, and the Judiciary Committee unanimously reported his nomination to … Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy In Memory of Ambassador Robert E. White

Mr. President, on January 13, 2015, the country lost one of its most courageous diplomats, Ambassador Robert E. White. He was 88 years old. I knew Bob White, who graduated from my alma mater, Saint Michaels College in Vermont, in 1952 - nine years before I did. I admired him greatly. He had the qualities that every American diplomat should possess: outstanding intellect, unimpeachable integrity, extraordinary courage, and a devotion to the ideals and values of his country. In the 1980s dur… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Unanimously Approves Cornyn-Leahy FOIA Improvement Act

(Thursday, February 5, 2015) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bipartisan bill authored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that strengthens the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation's premier open government law. The FOIA Improvement Act, which the Senators introduced earlier this week, requires Federal agencies to operate under a "presumption of openness" when considering the release of government information under the F… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On Lessons from the Ebola Epidemic

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, not long ago Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations, and the United States, Great Britain, France, and other countries, were frantically trying to bring the Ebola crisis in West Africa under control. Thousands of people died due to a disastrous failure by WHO's Africa regional representative, serious miscalculations by local officials and global health experts, and a myriad of other problems ranging from weak loca… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On A Return to Democracy in Sri Lanka

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, for hundreds of millions of people around the globe, including in countries whose governments are allies of the United States, democracy and human rights are aspirations that seem beyond reach. According to a recent report by Freedom House, the state of freedom in the world declined in almost every region over the past year. But while we should be deeply concerned by this discouraging trend, we should also recognize where progress is being made. On January 8, the peo… Continue Reading


Leahy Joins In Introducing Legislation To Help Small Brewers

(WEDNESDAY, Feb. 4, 2015) - Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday joined other senators in introducing the bipartisan Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW Act). The legislation, sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), would recalibrate the federal beer excise tax that small brewers pay, cutting the tax nearly in half. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is also a cosponsor. Leahy said: "Vermont may be a smaller state but we brew big beer… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Introduction of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2015

Today I once again join with Senator Paul to introduce the Justice Safety Valve Act. This bill makes a simple, common sense change - it will allow judges to once again sentence offenders on their individual merits based on the individual facts of the case before them. Mandatory minimums take away that common sense and discretion and have helped to drive our prison population to once-unthinkable levels, draining vital resources from all other public safety priorities. One-size-fits-all sentenci… Continue Reading


Leahy, Paul, Massie & Scott Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Introduction of the Justice Safety Valve Act

Today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act in the Senate and House of Representatives. The Justice Safety Valve Act would give federal judges the ability to impose sentences below mandatory minimums in appropriate cases based upon mitigating factors. "Over the last several decades politicians have added more and more mandatory minimum sentences to our criminal … Continue Reading


Leahy Comment On FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Proposed Net Neutrality Rules

(Wednesday, February 4, 2015) -The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Wednesday proposed net neutrality rules that, if approved, will apply to all domestic broadband providers. Among other things, Wheeler proposed a ban of paid-prioritization agreements through which websites could be charged for priority access over the Internet. Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) held hearings in Vermont and Washington on the issue of net neutralit… Continue Reading


Leahy Joined By Bipartisan, Bicameral Group To Introduce Bill Protecting Online Privacy

(WEDNESDAY, February 4, 2015) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday was joined by a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators to introduce legislation to modernize the nation's electronic privacy laws and bring protections against warrantless searches into harmony with the technological realities of the 21st century. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2015 (ECPA) was introduced by Leahy, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Represent… Continue Reading


Cornyn & Leahy Introduce FOIA Legislation

(Monday, February 2, 2015) -Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) reintroduced on Monday their bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is an original cosponsor of the bill. The FOIA Improvement Act is nearly identical to the bill that unanimously passed the Senate last December. The bill requires Federal agencies to operate under a… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Proposal

A budget is about setting priorities, and the President's front-and-center priority in his budget plan is to strengthen the economy by building from the middle out. With our unemployment rate finally at its lowest since 2008, his focus is to make sure that hardworking families have the opportunity to share in the promise of a growing economy. His proposals address inequalities in our tax code and widen the abilities of middle class families to get ahead by expanding investments in childcare, h… Continue Reading


Leahy: It Is Time To Confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

(Thursday, January 29, 2015) - After two days of hearings regarding the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the Attorney General of the United States, Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Thursday that the Committee should act quickly to vote on this historic nomination. "Yesterday, Ms. Lynch testified about the values and independence she would bring to the office of the Attorney General. I am encouraged that Republican Senators on the Committee agree with me that… Continue Reading


Correcting the Record: Reports That Loretta Lynch Believes Immigrants Not in Lawful Status Have a “Right to Work” Misstate Her Remarks

From The Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff Correcting the Record: Reports That Loretta Lynch Believes Immigrants Not in Lawful Status Have a "Right to Work" Misstate Her Remarks During the Attorney General confirmation hearings, Republican Senators focused disproportionately on the political issue of immigration, instead of the merits of the nominee. Some conservative news sources have misrepresented remarks from Ms. Lynch in which she talked about immigrants' opportunity to work to … Continue Reading


Outside Witnesses on AG Nominee Loretta Lynch: “She is trustworthy and honest to the core of her being”

(Thursday, January 29, 2015) - During today's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing regarding the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as Attorney General, a panel of outside witnesses including those who know her personally and professionally gave testimony about her record and qualifications. David Barlow, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah and a former Chief Counsel for Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), offered insight into Lynch's record as an independent, apolitical prose… Continue Reading


Leahy Comment On FCC's Steps To Speed Internet Delivery For Rural Consumers

[The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday approved a new definition for what constitutes broadband service, dramatically increasing the required minimum speeds from the current standard and marking an important improvement for rural states to access high-speed Internet.] "Today, the FCC voted to recognize what millions of Americans living in rural areas have long realized - that minimum Internet speeds for rural consumers need to be faster. The FCC's action today has the potenti… Continue Reading


DAY TWO: Opening Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy -- SJC Hearing On Attorney General Nominee

(Thursday, January 29, 2015) - Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today spoke at a second hearing today regarding the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee to be the 83rd Attorney General of the United States. Today's hearing includes a panel of outside witnesses who will testify about the nominee and the Department of Justice. Senator Leahy's opening statement is below, and is available online. Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking… Continue Reading

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