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

08.12.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Attorney General Holder’s Statement On Mandatory Minimums

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is the coauthor of the bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which allows judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes subject to mandatory minimums. The bill has received endorsements from George Will, Grover Norquist, David Keene, the New York Times, and over 50 former federal prosecutors and judges. Leahy recently announced that the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in September on mandatory minimums.] "As … Continue Reading


08.09.13

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On Government Oversight Of Surveillance Authorities

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday responded to President Obama's announcement that he will work with Congress to improve oversight of government surveillance programs under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Leahy recently introduced the bipartisan FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013 to reform and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act. He also chaired a hearing last week on privacy rights a… Continue Reading


08.09.13

Leahy Introduces Bill Aimed At Reducing Downtown Building Fires

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. - Standing on the same block that had been stricken with two fires since 2000, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy Friday told members of the St. Johnsbury community that he had introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to help prevent further tragedy. The legislation, inspired by the community's struggle with three major downtown fires, would incentivize the installation of fire sprinklers and elevators in downtown historic buildings. Leahy's bill, the Historic Downtown Preservation a… Continue Reading


08.09.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Raymond Chen

Three months ago, I noted in my statement on April 18 that it had taken the Senate almost one year longer to confirm 150 of President Obama's district court nominees than it took the Senate to confirm the same number of President Bush's district court nominees. Unfortunately, we have not picked up the pace, and we remain almost one year behind the record we set from 2001 to 2005. Today, the Senate confirms the 200th of President Obama's circuit and district nominees. Thanks to Senate Republic… Continue Reading


08.07.13

Leahy, Graham Send Bipartisan Letter To Secretary Hagel Seeking Accountability Over Security Leaks

(Wednesday, August 7, 2013) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are seeking information from the Defense Department regarding its response to a pair of unauthorized national security leaks, including who will be held responsible for the leaks. The lawmakers, in a letter sent Monday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, noted that the leaks involving Army Private Bradley Manning and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden come two years after an executive order es… Continue Reading


08.06.13

Vermont Secures $3.2 Million for Storm-Damaged Roads

BURLINGTON, Vt. - More than $3.2 million was awarded to Vermont today by the U.S. Department of Transportation to repair highways damaged by severe storms this spring and summer, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced. The funding from the Federal Highway Administration to the Vermont Agency of Transportation is in addition to a $1 million emergency federal grant announced earlier this summer to begin repairs of washed-out roads. The funds… Continue Reading


08.02.13

Senate Passes FOR VETS Act

- Before breaking for the August recess, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Formerly Owned Resources for Veterans to Express Thanks for Service Act (FOR VETS Act), a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced by Senators Susan Collins, Patrick Leahy and Tom Carper in the Senate and Representatives Dan Benishek and Julia Brownley in the House of Representatives. The bill has also passed the House and will now be sent to the President to be signed into law. The FOR VETS Act will amend existing la… Continue Reading


08.01.13

SJC To Consider National Blue Alert Act In September

(Thursday, August 1, 2013) - Following this week's bipartisan approval of legislation to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday the Committee will consider in September a bill to create a national alert system to notify all state and federal law enforcement agencies with critical information when an officer is injured or killed in the line of duty. The bipartisan National Blue Alert Act of… Continue Reading


08.01.13

SJC Sends D.C. Circuit Nominee to Full Senate

(Thursday, August 1, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who if confirmed would fill one of three vacancies on the court. "The D.C. Circuit decides some of the most important cases in our nation, with significant impact on the lives of all Americans. This court must be allowed to operate at full strength, and to that end, I applaud the Judiciary Committee's approval of Patricia Millett's n… Continue Reading


08.01.13

Leahy Shepherds Bulletproof Vest Grant Reauthorization Through The Senate Judiciary Committee

(Thursday, August 1, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for officers working in the field. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) authored the original law establishing the matching grant program and the reauthorization that received bipartisan support in the committee today. The bill will now … Continue Reading


07.31.13

Leahy Hails Historic Confirmation Of ATF Nominee

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the Senate's vote Wednesday to confirm B. Todd Jones to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Jones has served as acting director since September 2011, and with today's vote, becomes the agency's first Senate confirmed director. "When the 113th Congress convened following the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Judiciary Committee focused its attention on commonsense gun violence preventi… Continue Reading


07.31.13

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of B. Todd Jones to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

When the 113th Congress convened following the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Judiciary Committee focused its attention on commonsense gun violence prevention legislation. The American people made their voices heard in favor of effective reforms, and many Senators went to work to find common ground. Though the Senate Judiciary Committee approved four pieces of legislation to address gun violence, two of which were reported on bipartisan votes, the Senate was unable to pass any … Continue Reading


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

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