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


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


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Commemorating the 16th Street Church Bombing in Birmingham September 10, 2013

Two weeks ago, thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. That remarkable moment in this Nation's history was a peaceful day of unity and we rightfully remember the inspiring words of Dr. King. We are reminded this week of just how quickly that hope and positive signs of progress were challenged by a stunning act of viol… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Oversight Hearing On Federal Marijuana Policy

(Tuesday, September 10, 2013) -The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing titled "Conflicts Between State and Federal Marijuana Laws." Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who has pressed the administration on the issue since last year, recently welcomed the Justice Department's release of guidelines for enforcement of federal marijuana laws in light of action at the state level. Member statements, witness testimony and a webcast of today's hearing are available online. Statement of… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On Release Of FISA Documents September 10, 2013

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Tuesday after the release of FISA court opinions related to the bulk collection of phone records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Leahy introduced in June 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, and he chaired a hearing in July on privacy rights and national security featuring top admin… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Nominations of Valerie Caproni and Vernon Broderick

Today we will be voting on just 2 of the 11 district and circuit nominees left pending on the Senate floor prior to the August recess. Ten of these nominees had been reported by voice vote, and there was no good reason we could not have confirmed them then and allowed them to get to work on behalf of the American people. I hope that Senate Republicans will not seek to drag out the nominees that will be left pending on the floor after today, as they did for the nominations left pending at the e… Continue Reading


Leahy Aide Ted Brady Named New State Director For USDA’s Rural Development Efforts In Vermont and New Hampshire

(FRIDAY, Sept. 6, 2013) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Friday afternoon officially announced that a key economic development aide to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has been named to be USDA's new State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire for Rural Development. Ted Brady, Leahy's Vermont Field Representative on Community and Economic Development, Transportation, and Telecommunications, joined Leahy's staff in 2000 and is a graduate of St. Michael's College. Leahy, who had recomm… Continue Reading


Further Comments Of Senator Leahy On The Senate’s Upcoming Debate On Syria’s Use Of Chemical Weapons --

"The Assad regime's use of chemical weapons - and in this case, against innocent civilians, the Syrian people - was a heinous act and a clear violation of international law and standards. "Last weekend I made clear my opposition to the White House's proposed resolution, and I was among the first in the Senate to do so. I criticized that proposal for being far too broad and open-ended. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has now reported a new version, which will be debated by the Senate, … Continue Reading


Leahy: Justice Department Grant Will Fund New, Vermont-Based National Center For Campus Public Safety

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded a $2.3 million grant to establish a new National Center for Campus Public Safety, to be based in Burlington, Vt. Leahy said the grant has been awarded to Vermont-based Margolis Healy & Associates LLC, which will create the center in partnership with the University of Vermont (UVM). Establishing and leading the National Center is the responsibility of Margolis Healy, a national consulting firm … Continue Reading


Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The President's Remarks On Syria

[Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt., President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and chairman of the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee) has participated in all of the leadership conference calls that have been held with the President and the Secretaries of State and Defense about the situation in Syria.] "The President is right to seek authorization from Congress for a response to the Syrian regime's clear violation of international law, in the use of wea… Continue Reading


Leahy and Shumlin Celebrate Opening Of Community Transportation Center

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday told members of the Addison County Transit Resources Board of Directors and local citizens that their new bus maintenance facility would help the transit company meet growing ridership and better serve the community, while also helping the environment. Leahy, who was on hand for an official ribbon cutting with Governor Peter Shumlin, secured $2.85 million in federal funds for the project "This new facility will help ACTR meet the g… Continue Reading


Leahy Welcomes Long-Awaited DOJ Guidelines For Enforcement Of Federal Marijuana Laws

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday welcomed the Justice Department's release of guidelines for enforcement of federal marijuana laws in light of action at the state level. Leahy has pressed the administration for such guidance since last year, when he wrote to the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) after two states voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Leahy also announced earlier this week that the Judicia… Continue Reading

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