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


Our turn to give life to The Dream

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. stood before a crowd of thousands on the National Mall and called on the nation's leaders "to open the doors of opportunity" to all Americans. Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech inspired a generation to act. Five decades later, we are closer to achieving Dr. King's dream, yet we have not come to realize its full potential. His dream lives on, inscribed not on water but on stone. The thousands of marchers became one with the millions more who watched… Continue Reading


Leahy: Safety Remains Highest Priority As Closure Looms For Vermont Yankee Plant

MONTPELIER, Vt.-- U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says safety should remain the highest priority as Entergy prepares to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. The company Tuesday announced plans to close the aging plant in 2014. Leahy said, "Safe decommissioning of Vermont Yankee is an issue of enormous and overarching importance for Vermont. Every precaution must be taken to insure public and worker safety during the decommissioning, and to insure that we do not leave a public safe… Continue Reading


Leahy: SJC Will Hold Hearing On Federal And State Marijuana Laws In September

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday that the Committee will hold a hearing next month on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole have been invited to testify. The hearing titled "Conflicts between State and Federal Marijuana Laws" comes months after two states, Washington and Colorado, legalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twenty states and the District o… Continue Reading


Vermont Recovers from Irene

BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug 23 - With the second anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene approaching, Vermont's congressional delegation today recalled heroic relief measures in the flooding's immediate aftermath and a remarkable rebuilding effort undertaken in the two years since one of the worst natural disasters in Vermont history. The Aug. 28, 2011, torrential storm killed six people in Vermont, forced thousands from their homes, washed away hundreds of homes and bridges and miles of roads. "What we… Continue Reading


Leahy Announces Key Step Toward $3 M. For 2 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Projects At National Center For Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) At White River Junction

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION, Vt. (THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2013) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday visited the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the campus of the Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center in White River Junction to announce a key step toward $3 million in federal funding for two new projects. The funding was included in the Senate Appropriations Committee-reported military construction and veterans affairs budget bill that awaits passage by both chambers… Continue Reading


Leahy: Norwich University Applied Research Institute Tapped To Receive $9.9 M. In Cybersecurity Contracts

NORTHFIELD, Vt. (THURSDAY, Aug. 22, 2013) -- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday spoke at Norwich University to announce that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has tapped the Norwich University Applied Research Institute (NUARI) to receive $9.9 million in competitive contracts for cybersecurity projects. The $9.9 million in contracts will be awarded for the Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-making Exercises (DECIDE) program, which helps both private … Continue Reading


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

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday responded to the release of documents by the Director of National Intelligence related to government surveillance activities. Leahy recently introduced 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. He also chaired a hearing recently on privacy rights and national security featuring top administration officials.]… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Reports of Unauthorized Surveillance by the National Security Agency

[Last year during the debate over reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sought to strengthen independent oversight by offering an amendment to mandate an inspector general audit and a shorter expiration date. Although this proposal was not included then, he has re-introduced legislation that contains many of those same proposals. The Leahy-Lee bill also addresses other key provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including Section 215, the provisi… Continue Reading


Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman Of The Senate's State Department And Foreign Operations Appropriations Panel, On Developments In Egypt

[Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is chairman of the Senate's State Department and Foreign Operations panel of the Appropriations Committee and author of current conditions on aid to Egypt and co-author with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., of new proposed conditions on aid to Egypt, which Leahy has included in the pending FY2014 State Department budget bill, issued the following comments Thursday, following the President's remarks on developments in Egypt:] "Recent events in Egypt, beginning with the ov… Continue Reading


Statement At GE Aviation Rutland

[U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made the following remarks during a visit Tuesday to the GE Aviation facility in North Clarendon, Vermont. Leahy visited the plant to announce his effort to secure language in the federal government's 2014 budget that would call on the U.S. Navy to invest in a new, more cost-effective engine for the Navy's Super Hornet and Growler engines that could lead to new work for GE Aviation's Rutland operations. In the past seven months alone, Leahy has announced more t… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Attorney General Holder’s Statement On Mandatory Minimums

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) 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. The bill has received endorsements from George Will, Grover Norquist, David Keene, the New York Times, and over 50 former federal prosecutors and judges. Leahy recently announced that the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in September on mandatory minimums.] "As … Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On Government Oversight Of Surveillance Authorities

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Friday responded to President Obama's announcement that he will work with Congress to improve oversight of government surveillance programs under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Leahy recently introduced 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. He also chaired a hearing last week on privacy rights a… Continue Reading


Leahy Introduces Bill Aimed At Reducing Downtown Building Fires

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. - Standing on the same block that had been stricken with two fires since 2000, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy Friday told members of the St. Johnsbury community that he had introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to help prevent further tragedy. The legislation, inspired by the community's struggle with three major downtown fires, would incentivize the installation of fire sprinklers and elevators in downtown historic buildings. Leahy's bill, the Historic Downtown Preservation a… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of Raymond Chen

Three months ago, I noted in my statement on April 18 that it had taken the Senate almost one year longer to confirm 150 of President Obama's district court nominees than it took the Senate to confirm the same number of President Bush's district court nominees. Unfortunately, we have not picked up the pace, and we remain almost one year behind the record we set from 2001 to 2005. Today, the Senate confirms the 200th of President Obama's circuit and district nominees. Thanks to Senate Republic… Continue Reading


Leahy, Graham Send Bipartisan Letter To Secretary Hagel Seeking Accountability Over Security Leaks

(Wednesday, August 7, 2013) - Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are seeking information from the Defense Department regarding its response to a pair of unauthorized national security leaks, including who will be held responsible for the leaks. The lawmakers, in a letter sent Monday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, noted that the leaks involving Army Private Bradley Manning and National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden come two years after an executive order es… Continue Reading


Vermont Secures $3.2 Million for Storm-Damaged Roads

BURLINGTON, Vt. - More than $3.2 million was awarded to Vermont today by the U.S. Department of Transportation to repair highways damaged by severe storms this spring and summer, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) announced. The funding from the Federal Highway Administration to the Vermont Agency of Transportation is in addition to a $1 million emergency federal grant announced earlier this summer to begin repairs of washed-out roads. The funds… Continue Reading


Senate Passes FOR VETS Act

- Before breaking for the August recess, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Formerly Owned Resources for Veterans to Express Thanks for Service Act (FOR VETS Act), a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced by Senators Susan Collins, Patrick Leahy and Tom Carper in the Senate and Representatives Dan Benishek and Julia Brownley in the House of Representatives. The bill has also passed the House and will now be sent to the President to be signed into law. The FOR VETS Act will amend existing la… Continue Reading


SJC To Consider National Blue Alert Act In September

(Thursday, August 1, 2013) - Following this week's bipartisan approval of legislation to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday the Committee will consider in September a bill to create a national alert system to notify all state and federal law enforcement agencies with critical information when an officer is injured or killed in the line of duty. The bipartisan National Blue Alert Act of… Continue Reading


SJC Sends D.C. Circuit Nominee to Full Senate

(Thursday, August 1, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Patricia Millett to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who if confirmed would fill one of three vacancies on the court. "The D.C. Circuit decides some of the most important cases in our nation, with significant impact on the lives of all Americans. This court must be allowed to operate at full strength, and to that end, I applaud the Judiciary Committee's approval of Patricia Millett's n… Continue Reading


Leahy Shepherds Bulletproof Vest Grant Reauthorization Through The Senate Judiciary Committee

(Thursday, August 1, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies purchase bulletproof vests for officers working in the field. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) authored the original law establishing the matching grant program and the reauthorization that received bipartisan support in the committee today. The bill will now … Continue Reading

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