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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.), Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing On “Environmental Protection Agency Fiscal Year 2015 Budget”

[At a hearing of the Interior Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today urged the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, to renew the Agency's commitment to the cleanup and preservation of Lake Champlain. Faced with new water quality regulations imposed by the EPA for Lake Champlain, Vermont will face new challenges, as the President's budget request cuts funding for critical federal programs to help states address wat… Continue Reading


Statement of Chairman Patrick Leahy Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations Hearing on USAID’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request

Good morning. We are meeting today to hear testimony from Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, who will discuss USAID's fiscal year 2015 budget request. Dr. Shah, thank you for being here. USAID, like every federal agency, needs to adapt to a fast changing world. So does the Congress. In order to do that effectively, we need a shared understanding of USAID's core purpose. I have always assumed it is sustainable development, and I am sure… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On Senate Passage of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act

[The Senate Monday night approved the bipartisan Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act by a vote of 59-38, legislation which will reauthorize emergency unemployment insurance benefits for five months, allowing for retroactive payments going back to December 28, when the benefits expired.] "Our economy is showing strong signs of improvement, but millions of Americans, including thousands of Vermonters, remain out of work, still trying to find a job to help support their families and their hous… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee On the 5th Anniversary of Marriage Equality in the State of Vermont

Today I am particularly proud of my home state, as we commemorate the fifth anniversary of the passage of Vermont's law guaranteeing marriage equality. Throughout history, Vermont has taken a leadership role in America's journey to build a more just society. Vermont was the first state in the Union to outlaw slavery and Vermonters offered shelter to runaway slaves seeking refuge while in transit to Canada - serving as one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad. Vermont was also the fi… Continue Reading


‘Blue Slips’ Help Make Constitutional ‘Advice and Consent’ A Reality

A New York Times editorial reprinted in Thursday's paper ("Leahy Should End Blue Slips") wrongly suggests that an "archaic Senate tradition" is to blame for the Obama administration's failure to have every judicial vacancy filled. The editorial comes across more like a fundraising blog post than a credible analysis of the nominations process in today's Senate. All the more so, considering that the Times published not just one but three earlier editorials, when we had a Republican president, ta… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Senate Intelligence Committee’s Torture Report

"The Intelligence Committee's report on the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program should be shared with the American people to the greatest extent possible. The Senate at its best can act as the conscience of the Nation, and part of that responsibility is ensuring transparency in our government. We cannot learn from our mistakes without understanding what happened and how they occurred. The administration should move swiftly to review the committee's executive summary, findings … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Governor Shumlin’s Initiative On Opioid Prescription Medicine

"I applaud Governor Shumlin for taking steps to ensure that powerful prescription opioids, which clearly have a high potential for abuse, are tightly controlled in Vermont. Smart regulation, combined with vigilant prescribing practices, will help keep Vermonters from sliding into addiction and will save lives. I am also urging the FDA to quickly review safer, abuse-deterrent formulations of single-ingredient hydrocodone products. As we learned at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in R… Continue Reading


SJC Approves Judicial Nominees, Continues Work On Patent Legislation

(Thursday, April 3, 2014) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved four judicial nominees and the nominee to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and continued its discussion of legislation authored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to rein in abuses in the patent system. Cheryl Krause, nominated to fill a judicial vacancy on the 3rd Circuit, was approved unanimously. The Committee also approved three district court nominees during Thursday's executive business meeti… Continue Reading


Remarks on Mines Advisory Group Photo Exhibit Russell Building Rotunda

I want to thank the Mines Advisory Group not only for this very moving exhibit, but for the 25 years of dangerous, lifesaving work you have done around the world to clear landmines and other unexploded ordnance. It is extraordinary when you think of the impact MAG has had, making roads and fields safe again in more than 35 countries. It is work that governments should have done, but you did it. The photographs are a tribute to MAG's work, and they remind us, once again, why we have been figh… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Supreme Court’s Decision In McCutcheon v. FEC

[The Supreme Court Wednesday issued its ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. In a 5-4 decision, the Court, once again, reversed long-standing precedent and declared aggregate limits on campaign contributions in elections to be unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.] "Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its controversial Citizens United decision, five justices once again have decided to rule on the side of moneyed interests and against the American… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Assistance for Ukraine

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, yesterday afternoon a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives passed Senate legislation to provide loan guarantees to Ukraine and to impose sanctions on certain Ukrainian and Russian officials. This legislation comes at a time when Ukraine's future hangs in the balance between democracy and dictatorship. The brave Ukrainians who protested across the country and at Maidan square have shown an inspiring determination to defend their freedom. Many of them e… 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

Last week, I called on members of the Senate to come together and support reauthorization of the Justice for All Act, a bipartisan law that increased resources devoted to DNA and other forensic technology, established safeguards to prevent wrongful convictions, and enhanced protections for crime victims. The bipartisan bill to reauthorize this historic law was reported unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall. Every Senate Democrat has cleared the way for passage of this importa… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On the 21st Anniversary of World Water Day

Mr. President, March 21 was the 21st anniversary of World Water Day. On this day, we call attention to the centrality of water in our lives and communities, and we recognize the vital work that must continue to ensure that every person has access to clean water and sanitation. The acute challenges in improving access to clean water and sanitation in developing countries are well known. Nearly 800 million people lack clean water and more than 2 billion people are without basic sanitation. In … 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 urge members from both sides of the aisle to come together and support passage of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2013, an important and bipartisan bill that will improve the effectiveness of our criminal justice system. This legislation was voted unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 31, 2013. It is fitting that the full Senate is considering this legislation now, ahead of Crime Victims' Rights Week. This important legislation, which is cosponsored by Sen… Continue Reading


Leahy & Cornyn Introduce Sweeping Forensics Reform Legislation

(Friday, March 28, 2014) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a former prosecutor with a long history of supporting both law enforcement and crime victims, and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) this week introduced sweeping legislation to improve the use of forensic evidence in criminal cases. The Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 2177) promotes national accreditation and certification standards and stronger oversight for forensic labs and practitioners, a… Continue Reading


Leahy, In His Ongoing Push To Ban Anti-Personnel Landmines, Launches A New Series Of Senate Floor Statements, Calling On The President To Join The U.S. Into The Int'l Treaty Banning Landmines

Today (Thursday) Senator Patrick Leahy, who for two decades has been the leading U.S. official in the crusade to rid the world of anti-personnel landmines, launched what he is announcing will be a series of periodic Senate Floor statements on the topic. Both publicly and privately, in scores of private meetings and public appeals, Leahy has unceasingly pressed every president since Bill Clinton to allow the United States to join the international treaty banning landmines. He now continues thos… Continue Reading


Chairman Leahy Announces New Leadership For SJC Subcommittee

(Thursday, March 27, 2014) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday announced that Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) will become chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action. The subcommittee was created at the beginning of the 113th Congress to provide oversight and review of agency rulemaking and agency action. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who currently chairs the subcommittee, is stepping down to take over a gavel on another c… Continue Reading


Leahy’s First Report To The Senate On Rutland Field Hg. On Heroin & Opioid Addiction --

To watch a recording of the hearing on Rutland Community Access Television, please click here. Last week I had the privilege of chairing a field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Rutland, Vermont. The Committee received powerful testimony about community solutions to breaking the cycle of addiction to heroin and other opioids. The hearing marked the fourth time in the past six years that the Judiciary Committee traveled to Vermont to explore issues related to drug abuse. As in man… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Conviction Of Sulaiman Abu Ghayth

"Today's conviction of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, in an Article III federal court further underscores federal prosecutors' tremendous record in securing criminal convictions in terrorism-related cases. I commend the work of our nation's dedicated law enforcement and intelligence officials for this accomplishment. President Obama, Attorney General Holder and their national security team made the right choice to bring Abu Ghayth to face justice in federal criminal court. … Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs SJC Hearing On Soon-To-Expire Satellite TV Law

(Wednesday, March 26, 2014) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is chairing a hearing this morning entitled "Reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act." Leahy led the 2010 reauthorization of the law, known as "STELA," which expires at the end of this year. Testimony, member statements, and a webcast of the hearing are available online. Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on "Reauthorizat… Continue Reading

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