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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.) On Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military

Earlier this year, as many others were, I was shocked when the Department of Defense released a stunning report about the increase in sexual assault among the branches of the armed forces. Sexual assault in the military is neither a new issue, nor an uncommon one. It has been a problem for decades. Its occurrence is a stain on the honor of our military and nation that we must all work to eliminate. Military bases are where our troops are supposed to be safe, and to know that they risk being … Continue Reading


SJC Chairman Leahy: D.C. Circuit Vacancies Must Be Filled

- U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate's longest-serving member, spoke out against the growing obstruction to highly-qualified judicial nominees in a floor statement Monday. Speaking in favor of Judge Robert Wilkins, a nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Leahy stated "Over the course of almost four decades, I have seen dramatic changes in Senate majorities and leadership styles. But nothing in all that time c… Continue Reading


PATENT TROLLS: Leahy Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Protect VT Businesses From Patent Lawsuit Abuse

-- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Committee member Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined together Monday to introduce legislation to protect businesses and innovators who are being improperly targeted by so-called "patent trolls." The Patent Transparency and Improvements Act of 2013 would increase transparency in patent ownership, customers who are sued for patent infringement by allowing the case against them to be stayed while the manufacturer litigates the suit, tar… Continue Reading


Senator Leahy on watching JFK's funeral cortege

Below is the LINK to a Washington Post/Witnify video interview with Senator Leahy, about his recollections from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, 50 years ago this Friday. Patrick Leahy at the time was a law student at the Georgetown Law Center, and he and wife Marcelle were in Washington as they lived through the trauma that roiled the nation. Senator Leahy on watching JFK's funeral cortege… Continue Reading


Leahy: Arguments of Convenience Block Judicial Appointments

During nearly four decades in the Senate, I have served with Demo­cratic majorities and Republican majorities, through both Republican and Democratic administrations. I have always believed in the Senate's unique protection of the minority party, even when Democrats held a majority in the Senate. Yet, over the past five years, Senate Republicans have changed the tradition of the Senate with an escalating obstruction of judicial nominations. These actions threaten the Senate's ability to do … Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Vermont Nets $350,000 For Housing Condition Improvements

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced $350,000 in grants awarded to four organizations across Vermont to improve housing conditions for limited income rural residents. Nearly $300,000 of the grants were designated to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont - Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties - as a Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zone, a USDA Rural Development designation recognizing the unique rural nature… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Closing Guantanamo

More than 12 years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, as our military presence in Afghanistan winds down, it is time to take a hard look at our counterterrorism policy. We need to consider which of our policies are working and which, while perhaps well-intentioned when they were adopted in the highly charged weeks and months after 9/11, are not making us safer. There is ample evidence that the status quo is unsustainable. As recent revelations have made clear, we need a careful re… Continue Reading


Leahy, Portman Introduce Legislation To Support Ex-Offenders & Reduce Crime

- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to reauthorize the Second Chance Act, a law that supports state and local reentry programs to reduce recidivism. Wednesday's bill introduction comes as the Judiciary Committee is considering ways to reduce prison costs for federal, state and local governments. The Second Chance Act, which was first enacted in 2008, aims to tackle those costs by improving pri… Continue Reading


Leahy Calls On Senate Republicans To End Filibuster Of Highly Qualified Circuit Court Nominee

(Tuesday, November 12, 2013) - U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday called on Republicans to end their filibuster of Nina Pillard's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and confirm this highly qualified nominee. Pillard would fill one of three vacancies on what is widely considered the second most important court in the country. Pillard is also the third woman nominated to the D.C. Circuit in the Obama administration to be subjected to a filibus… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Cornelia “Nina” Pillard

Here we are again. For the third time this year, we are debating whether to end a Republican filibuster and allow a confirmation vote for a highly qualified woman to the D.C. Circuit. In March, it was Caitlin Halligan. Last month, it was Patricia Millett. Today, it is Nina Pillard. The qualifications of each of these nominees surpass those of many other attorneys confirmed to the Federal bench. These three women have earned their way to the top of the legal profession and it appears that S… Continue Reading


SJC To Begin Consideration Of Legislation To Address The Nation’s Burgeoning Prison Population

(Friday, November 8, 2013) -The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin consideration next week of legislation to confront the unsustainable growth of the federal prison population, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday. "After years of debate, I am encouraged that we have bipartisan agreement that we must act; that we must reevaluate how many people we send to prison and for how long. Public safety demands it. Fiscal responsibility demands it. Justice demands it." Leahy said. "We hav… Continue Reading


Leahy Leads Coalition of Lawmakers in Welcoming the FDA’s Release of Proposed Rules To Protect Consumers Using Generic Drugs

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and a coalition of lawmakers on Friday welcomed the Food and Drug Administration's release of proposed rules to ensure that generic manufacturers of prescription drugs can update their warning labels to provide better patient safety information to consumers. Leahy, Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), Senate HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senate Aging Committee Chairman Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Employment Non-Discrimination Act

The Senate has an historic opportunity today to take discrimination out of the workplace by casting a vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Today's vote has been 20 years in the making, and it is long overdue for Congress to extend these protections to all American workers. Years from now we will look back on this remedy as another substantial milestone on our Nation's everlasting quest to achieve a more perfect union - a quest to realize more completely the motto engraved in Vermont… Continue Reading


SJC To Hold Additional Oversight Hearing On Government Surveillance Programs

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a third oversight hearing on the government's use of surveillance authorities later this month, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday. Leahy has invited Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency, and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify before the Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at a hearing titled "Continued Oversight of U.S. Government Surveillance Authorities.… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On NSA Oversight and Accountability

We are at a watershed moment in the history of intelligence oversight, like nothing I have seen since the Church Committee. Some of the recent revelations have led to important national conversations about the scope of our nation's intelligence-gathering powers here at home, and to renewed legislative efforts to recalibrate those authorities and the related oversight regimes. The USA FREEDOM Act that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and I introduced last week along with more than 100 members of C… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy Consequences of the House Allocation for the Department of State and Foreign Operations

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, as the Budget conferees work to reach agreement on the fiscal year 2014 budget, I want to join those who have expressed strong support for their efforts. We all know what the consequences will be if they do not reach agreement on a budget. Draconian cuts to defense acquisitions and readiness, to social safety net programs, to infrastructure, public schools, police - every federal program will suffer, and every American will feel the impact. Having been in the Senat… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Reducing Waste and Unnecessary Spending at the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development

Mr. President, during this time of budget constraints, sequestration, and continuing resolutions, it is crucial that every Federal department and agency identify maximum cost savings and improve efficiencies to minimize the impact of reductions on critical programs and personnel. It is also the responsibility of Congress to encourage departments and agencies to consistently identify and implement such savings and efficiencies. We do not have the luxury of allowing the continuation of programs … Continue Reading


Guest Column By Senator Patrick Leahy: Another Successful Vermont Drug Take Back Day

Another Successful Vermont Drug Take Back Day by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy On October 26, police agencies around Vermont took part in a program that allowed Vermonters to dispose of their prescription drugs, no questions asked, at safe disposal sites in every county of the state. In just one day, Vermonters turned in 3,429 pounds of unused prescription drugs at 57 collection sites, taking thousands of dangerous pills out of circulation. They include leftover painkillers like Vicodin and OxyC… Continue Reading


SJC Holds Oversight Hearing On Bureau Of Prisons

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing titled "Oversight of the Bureau of Prisons & Cost-Effective Strategies for Reducing Recidivism." Charles Samuels, the director of the Bureau of Prisons, is testifying before the panel. Chairman Leahy, who has made sentencing reform a priority this year and is a coauthor of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, delivered the following statement at the beginning of today's hearing. Member statements, witness testimony and a webcast of today'… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on “Oversight of the Bureau of Prisons & Cost-Effective Strategies for Reducing Recidivism”

This is the second hearing this fall in which the Judiciary Committee turns its attention to the unsustainable growth in the federal prison population. In the last 30 years, the Bureau of Prisons has seen a 700 percent increase in its population, which now accounts for a full quarter of the Justice Department's operating budget. This dramatic increase in the prison population threatens public safety and critical funding for victim services. As BOP's budget diverts more and more resources from… Continue Reading

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