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


Senate Votes To Confirm Federal Circuit Court Nominee

(Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the unanimous confirmation Tuesday of Todd Hughes to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Leahy also noted that Hughes's confirmation marks an important milestone for the judicial branch-he is the first openly gay judge ever to serve on a Federal appellate court. The Senate voted to confirm him 98-0. "I am proud that today the Senate is finally taking this critical step to break … Continue Reading


Senator Leahy Speaks On Senate Floor About The Budget Stalemate, And The House’s Slashing Cuts To The SNAP Food Aid Program

Today we are voting on the nomination of Todd Hughes to fill a judicial vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This vote marks an important milestone: If confirmed, Mr. Hughes will be the first openly gay judge to serve on a Federal appellate court in our Nation's history. I am proud that the Senate is finally taking an historic step to break down another barrier and increase diversity on our Federal bench. I ask that the full text of my statement be placed in… Continue Reading


Leahy Delivers Keynote Address On Foreign Surveillance Oversight At Georgetown University Law Center

NOTE: Prepared remarks include Chairman Leahy's announcement that he is working with members in the House and Senate on new legislation to reform and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act. The Judiciary Committee will also meet next week to hear additional testimony on the issue. A webcast of the speech and panel discussion featuring former Vice President Walter Mondale and Senator Gary Hart can be viewed here. REMARKS OF SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY GEORGETOWN UNI… Continue Reading


Leahy: Norwich University Applied Research Institutes Gains Multi-Million Dollar Cybersecurity Contracts

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Tuesday announced that Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI) of Northfield has been awarded competitive contracts worth up to $9.9 million from the Department of Homeland Security. NUARI will provide research and development services in support of developing a national cyber war-gaming capability designed to make critical infrastructure more resilient to cyber-attacks. The initial award is $1.5 million and the total potential value of the ongoing … Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Members Call For IG Review Of Surveillance Authorities

A bipartisan group of nine Senate Judiciary Committee members, led by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), sent a letter Monday calling for the inspector general of the intelligence community to conduct a full-scale review of the use of surveillance authorities and make public the findings. Specifically, the Senators are asking for detailed information on the surveillance of Americans under FISA and Patriot Act authorities and any misuse of these authoritie… Continue Reading


Leahy Praises EPA Announcement Of New Limits On Pollution From Future Power Plants

-- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday praised the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement of new, separate limits on the amount of pollution that new natural gas and coal power plants can release into the air. The announcement is one of the first steps under President Obama's Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, which are the nation's largest stationary sources of carbon pollution. Leahy has long championed clean air and water policies and has been t… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy As House Votes To Slash Nutrition Relief To The Poor And To Erect Yet Another Barrier To Enactment Of A Farm Bill

- The U.S. House of Representatives late Thursday voted for massive cuts in food assistance for the poorest Americans, creating further obstacles to passing a long-delayed Farm Bill. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the most senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, said, "This attack on one of the most vital strands of the already frayed poverty safety net is cobbled from myths and fueled by mean-spiritedness heaped on those who are struggling the most in our… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Passes Leahy-Backed National Blue Alert Bill To Help Find Criminals Who Injure Or Kill Law Enforcement Officers

By a vote of 15 to 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee today passed the National Blue Alert Act, S. 357, which would create a nationwide alert system to apprehend violent criminals who have injured or killed police officers. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), author of the bill, and cosponsor Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), called the vote an important pledge of support for America's law enforcement officers. Similar to the successful Amber Alert system, the program would allow… Continue Reading


D.C. Circuit Nominee Approved By Judiciary Committee

(Thursday, September 19, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Nina Pillard to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If confirmed, Pillard would fill one of three vacancies on the court. "Professor Pillard's character and qualifications are unassailable," Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said during Thursday's executive business meeting. "Some may not agree with everything she has written as a law professor, but I hope that every m… Continue Reading


Leahy, Schumer Introduce Bill To Help Growing U.S. Cider Industry

- U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) teamed up on Thursday to introduce legislation aimed at helping the growing hard cider industry in Vermont and New York. Their CIDER Act - Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction Act - would update the federal definition of hard cider to meet current market expectations and manufacturing practices. Leahy said: "Vermont is closely associated with the booming market for hard cider, and this is a great oppo… Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs SJC Hearing On Federal Mandatory Minimums

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednseday chaired a hearing titled "Reevaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences." Leahy 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. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Republican co-author of the bill, was the lead witness at today's hearing. Testimony, member statements, and a webcast of the he… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Funding for a Second Millennium Challenge Compact for El Salvador September 18, 2013

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, on September 12th I made a statement in this chamber about the vote earlier that day by the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation to approve a second compact for El Salvador. As I said then, that vote was expected, and it began the final phase of discussions between the United States and El Salvador on a compact which, if funded, could result in investments totaling $277 million from the United States and $85 million from El Salvador. I share th… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Constitution Day

Today, the Nation celebrates the 226th anniversary the Constitution's signing. That moment was a decision to create a federal government with the power to address national problems. During the Constitutional Convention, the delegates debated hundreds of issues and proposals before crafting the original version of the Constitution. Even then, though, the true genius of their charter was Article V, which provided for later amendments - because the Founding generation knew that they did not hav… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nominations of Patricia Campbell-Smith and Elaine Kaplan

Today, we are voting on 2 nominees to serve 15-year terms in the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Court of Federal Claims is an Article I court that is authorized to hear monetary claims that arise from the Constitution, federal statutes, executive regulations, or contracts with the United States. We are finally voting on two well qualified nominees for these positions, but we should also be voting on any of the nine other Article III judicial nominees that are pending on the Executi… Continue Reading


Leahy & Lee in Politico: Working Together to Combat Patent Trolls

(Monday, Sept. 16, 2013) - Below is the text of an op-ed coauthored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in Politico on the issue of patent troll abuse. The two are working on a bipartisan effort to protect retailers and innovators from misuse of the patent system. Leahy is also a lead author of the bipartisan Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, the landmark patent reform law which was signed in to law by President Barack Obama in 2011 two year… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bipartisan Media Shield Legislation

(Thursday, September 12, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the Free Flow of Information Act, a bipartisan bill that establishes a qualified privilege to protect journalists and their confidential sources. The measure was approved on a bipartisan 13-5 vote, after Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) led the Committee's consideration of several amendments to the bill, including a breakthrough compromise agreement on the definition of covered journalists. That amendment offered… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On A Second Millennium Challenge Compact for El Salvador

Mr. President, earlier today the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation voted to approve a second MCC compact for El Salvador. This was expected, and it begins the last phase of discussions between the United States and El Salvador on the compact which, if finally agreed to and funded, could result in investments totaling $277 million dollars from the United States and $85 million from El Salvador. The compact has three main components, described by the MCC as partnering wi… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Announcement That Camp Ethan Allen Is One Of Five Candidate Sites For A Ground-Based Midcourse Interceptor

"I've always felt that the multiple billions spent on missile defense are a monumental waste of money, on technologically challenged systems, and I am emphatically against putting one of these sites in Vermont." # # # # # [Text of letter to Senator Leahy, below:] SEP. 12, 2013 Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency 5700 18th Street Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060-5573 The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator Leahy: Pursuant to sectio… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Sept. 18 Hg. On Mandatory Minimum Sentencing; witnesses incl. Sen. Rand Paul…Leahy’s cosponsor of the Justice Safety Valve Act

(Thursday, September 12, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the issue of mandatory minimum sentences, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday. The hearing titled "Reevaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences" will include testimony from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who with Leahy is the author of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. The bipartisan Paul-Leahy bill allows judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes w… Continue Reading


Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Developments Concerning Syria

"It is encouraging that President Obama's strong condemnation of Bashar al-Assad's heinous war crime apparently has moved Syria toward conciliation on its chemical weapons stockpile. Everyone seems to be taking a deep breath. But we need to see verifiable action by the Syrian regime to relinquish control of its chemical weapons arsenal and agreement to other conditions. It is appropriate that the President intends to call on the United Nations to help broker a solution that can be agreed to b… Continue Reading

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