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


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


Leahy, Price Introduce Legislation To Hold American Contractors Overseas Accountable Under U.S. Law

(MONDAY, July 14, 2014) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) renewed their partnership on bicameral legislation to provide accountability for American contractors and government employees working abroad. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA), which the lawmakers introduced Monday, would close a gap in current law and ensure that government employees and contractors working overseas can be prosecuted for criminal acts th… Continue Reading


Two Vermont Working Forest Projects Funded Under Leahy-Authored Forest Legacy Program

(FRIDAY, July 11, 2014) -- Senator Patrick Leahy has announced funding for two Vermont Forest Legacy projects that will conserve critical forestlands in the Groton Forest Legacy Initiative and Windham Region Working Forest. The two projects when completed will total more than 11,600 acres of conserved forestland in Vermont that will permanently protect wildlife habitat linkages and wildlife corridors. These projects also preserve public access, including hiking, hunting, fishing, cross-country … Continue Reading


Leahy’s Report To The Senate On Last Wk’s VT Field Hg. On NET NEUTRALITY

Last week, I chaired a field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Burlington, Vermont, on an issue of critical importance: preserving an open Internet. The Committee heard testimony about the need for concrete, fundamental protections to ensure that the Internet is not abused by those who control how we connect to the Internet. The timing of the hearing was not a coincidence. I convened it during a week when Americans were gathering to celebrate what our Founders put in motion more t… Continue Reading


Leahy Steers Constitutional Amdt. On Campaign Finance/Citizens United To 10-8 Judiciary Committee Approval

(THURSDAY, July 10, 2014) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy Thursday steered a constitutional amendment redressing the Supreme Court's decisions on campaign finance and money in politics to approval by the panel. The amendment would restore the ability for Congress and the states to set reasonable limits on financial contributions and expenditures intended to influence elections. The Committee voted 10-8 to approve the constitutional amendment, which was originally authored b… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Appropriations Committee Hearing On The President’s Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Request Relating To The Southwestern Border

[The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday afternoon held a hearing on the President's emergency supplemental appropriations request to address the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children arriving along the Southwestern border. Witnesses include Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The President's request includes $3.7 billion for the protection of the health and safety of these children, detention and enforcement at the border, final resolution of immigration cases, and deterrenc… Continue Reading



We will now turn to consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 19, a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Tom Udall that would restore reasonable limits on financial contributions and expenditures intended to influence elections. This amendment addresses a series of flawed Supreme Court decisions that have eviscerated our campaign finance laws, allowing the money of wealthy individuals and special interests to drown out the voices of average Americans. Our Nation was founded on the prin… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Passes Leahy’s Bipartisan Cellphone Unlocking Bill That Improves Consumer Choice

(THURSDAY, July 10, 2014) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday unanimously approved bipartisan legislation authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) that would restore the ability of consumers to more easily transfer their cell phones to other wireless carriers. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act would reinstate a 2010 rulemaking by the Librarian of Congress so that consumers can transfer, or "unlock," their cell phones without running afoul of copyright laws. Leah… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On President Obama’s 2014 National Drug Control Strategy

I welcome the President's 2014 National Drug Control Strategy released today. By treating addiction as an illness and a public health crisis, the strategy reflects a responsible approach to ending our Nation's unrelenting addiction to powerful controlled substances. Only through an increased commitment to prevention, early intervention, treatment, smart criminal justice policies, and reentry services, will we finally reduce demand for drugs. I am also pleased that the Administration notes the… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On A Step Toward A Landmine Ban

Mr. President, everyone knows the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words". As a life-long photographer I have a strong sense of that, and I want to provide a few examples today because sometimes words are not enough. I have often spoken about the horrific toll on civilians from landmines. These tiny explosives, about the size of a hockey puck or can of soup, can kill a child or blow the legs or arms off an adult. They are triggered by the victim - in other words, unlike a gun that … Continue Reading

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