Press Room

Press Releases

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

12.21.18

Portman, Leahy Hail President's Signing Of Their Second Chance Act Into Law As Part Of Historic Criminal Justice Reform Package

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that their bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act was signed into law Friday by President Trump as part of the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation to reform America's criminal justice system The legislation passed the Senate earlier this week by a margin of 87 to 12. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act reauthorizes and strengthens the Second Chance Act, a bipartisan law that supports state and local reentry progra… Continue Reading


12.21.18

Menendez, Leahy Call for Expulsion Of Top Sudanese Diplomat

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, yesterday sent a letter to President Trump calling for the expulsion and potential sanctioning of the Charge D'Affaires at the Embassy of Sudan in Washington. Citing Mohamed Atta al-Moula's former role as the head of Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), the Senators refer to a well-documented pattern o… Continue Reading


12.20.18

Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The Resignation Of Defense Secretary Mattis

"I am very disappointed and concerned that the Department of Defense will lose the exceptional leadership of Secretary Mattis. He has been an outstanding leader there at a time when his steady hand and decades of experience were sorely needed. He and I and most Americans share the belief that the United States is stronger when we work with our allies and partners to defend an international order that protects our security and upholds our commitment to peace and respect for human rights. I dee… Continue Reading


12.20.18

Senators Patrick Leahy And Mike Lee Press Intelligence And Justice Dept. Leaders On Surveillance PowersSenators Patrick Leahy And Mike Lee Press Intelligence And Justice Dept. Leaders On Surveillance Powers

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) Thursday asked the Director of National Intelligence and the Acting Attorney General to report on the government's implementation of surveillance authorities granted in the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015, which was authored by the two senators. The USA FREEDOM Act imposed substantial reforms on the government's foreign intelligence surveillance powers, including to a controversial telephone metadata program that allowed for the bulk collection of Am… Continue Reading


12.20.18

Reaction Of Senator Leahy To USDA's Proposed Rule On Work Requirements For SNAP Recipients

"Today, on the very same day the President is signing a Farm Bill that was approved in both the House and the Senate with strong bipartisan support, USDA is proposing new rules that make an end-run around this brand new Farm Bill. This bad-faith rule change relates to work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to make it harder for states to request waivers based on local job conditions. These rules will do nothing to 'restore the dignity of work,' and instead a… Continue Reading


12.20.18

Statement of Senate Appropriations Vice Chairman Leahy On Passage Of The Third Continuing Resolution

Today we will pass a third Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government operating through February 8th. I support this CR because a government shutdown is never good for our country - in fact it is a terrible idea - but this whole process has been a missed opportunity. For six of the seven appropriations bills covered under today's CR, we have a clear path forward. These bills - Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior, Financial Services, Transportation-Housing and Urban Develop… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Comment Of Senator Leahy On The Agreement Between Major League Baseball And The Cuban Baseball Federation

"Baseball has always been a bridge between our two nations, facilitating people-to-people connections and larger agreements that have brought our countries closer together. One of the first breakthroughs in U.S.-Cuba relations was a baseball game that I attended in Havana in 1999 between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban national team. I vividly remember the crowd's enthusiasm for both the American and Cuban players, an enthusiasm that was reciprocated by American fans when they played in Ba… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Leahy And Portman Praise Senate Passage Of Their Second Chance Reauthorization Act, As Part Of Criminal Justice Reform Package

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that their bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act passed the Senate as part of the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation to reform America's criminal justice system. The reform package passed the Senate late Tuesday night in a strong bipartisan vote of 87 to 12. The House is expected to pass it by the end of this week, and President Trump is expected to sign it. The Second Chance Reauthorization Act reauthorizes and… Continue Reading


12.19.18

Leahy Hails Senate Passage Of Sentencing Reform Pkg.; Leahy, A Leading Cosponsor, Helped Build Strong Bipartisan Consensus

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hails the Senate's strong bipartisan vote late Tuesday night on the First Step Act as a "rare chance to reform the nation's prison and sentencing system to reduce recidivism, save tax dollars, and foster safe communities." The First Step Act is years in the making and Leahy, an original cosponsor of the bill, played a lead role in methodically forging over the past six years the bipartisan coalition that led to its passage. The bipartisan First Step Act uses ev… Continue Reading


12.18.18

Leahy On Senate Floor Urges Approval Of The First Step Act, As Senate Begins Debate On Historic Criminal Justice Reforms

Today the Senate is considering perhaps the most significant bill to reform our criminal justice system in nearly a decade. The First Step Act takes modest but important steps to remedy some of the most troubling injustices within our sentencing laws and our prison system. It is my hope that this bill represents not just a single piece of legislation, but a turning point in how Congress views its role in advancing criminal justice. I have been working to bring fairness to our criminal justice… Continue Reading


12.14.18

BREAKING: Leahy Leads Senators In Filing Amicus Brief As Part Of Litigation Against President Trump's Illegal Asylum Ban

On Thursday night, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) led Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) in filing an amicus brief as part of O.A. v. Trump, a lawsuit filed by six asylum seekers in the D.C. District Court challenging the legality of President Trump's Presidential Proclamation and rule effectively barring all asylum claims outside of ports of entry. The senators' core… Continue Reading


12.13.18

Portman-Leahy SECOND CHANCE ACT Now Included In Crim. Justice Reform Pkg., Set For Senate Debate And Votes NEXT WEEK

U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that their bipartisan Second Chance Reauthorization Act this week was incorporated into the First Step Act, bipartisan legislation to reform America's criminal justice system authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The Second Chance Reauthorization Act rea… Continue Reading


12.13.18

From Appropriations Vice Chair Patrick Leahy: FACT CHECKING Pres. Trump’s Manufactured Crisis Over Funding His Proposed Wall

Fact Checking President Trump's Manufactured Crisis With illegal border crossings declining for years, and no true crisis to point to, President Trump has spun a manufactured crisis to justify his ineffective and costly border wall. The President has relatedly made false allegations about the volume of border crossings and the threat posed by these migrants who in many cases are fleeing violence. Below are just a few examples from the last week: #FALSE: President Trump's repeated claim tha… Continue Reading


12.13.18

Leahy Statement On Passage Of The Juvenile Justice Reform Act And Short-Term Extension Of Runaway And Homeless Youth Programs

I have long supported Juvenile Justice programs, and I have long supported Runaway and Homeless Youth programs. During the 20 years I served as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, and in my current role as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I have championed bipartisan reauthorizations and supported funding for these programs, overcoming the House of Representatives, which zeroes out Juvenile Justice programs in its appropriations bills year after year. These programs … Continue Reading


12.13.18

Menendez, Rubio, Durbin, Leahy Introduce Temporary Protected Status Legislation to Support Displaced Venezuelans

Today, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in introducing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status and Asylum Assistance Act of 2018. The bipartisan legislation seeks to grant Temporary Protected Status for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their home and to provide support for migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela.… Continue Reading


12.13.18

Leahy Floor Speech On The Senate Joint Resolution On Yemen

Mr. President, today we will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 54, which would remove the U.S. armed forces from hostilities in or affecting the country of Yemen, except those forces engaged in operations directed at al Qaeda or associated forces, unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use of U.S. armed forces has been enacted. I want to commend my distinguished friend from Vermont, Senator Sanders, for the leadership and perseverance he has shown on this issue… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Harwood Union Middle School

On December 12, 2018, Senator Leahy continued his series of online chats with Vermont students - this time, with Harwood Union Middle School's 7th and 8th grade classes, taught by Mr. Nicolas Gordon and Ms. Sarah Ibson. He enjoyed answering the students' questions about gun safety, environmental and pollution issues, and other topics. Senator Leahy talked about some of his most memorable votes during his time in the Senate and the importance of voter participation. This chat was Senator Leahy… Continue Reading


12.12.18

PROJECTED IMPACTS OF A TRUMP SHUTDOWN

More Than 420,000 Will Be Working Without Pay Including: More than 41,000 Federal Law Enforcement and Correctional Officers, Including: 2,614 ATF agents; 16,742 Bureau of Prisons correctional officers; 13,709 FBI agents; 3,600 deputy U.S. Marshals; and 4,399 DEA agents. Up To 88 Percent Of Department of Homeland Security Employees, Including: 53,000 TSA Employees; 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents and customs offers; 42,000 Coast Guard employees As many as 5,000 Fo… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Senate & House Lawmakers Release Updated First Step Act

A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers today released revised text of the First Step Act to continue building support for criminal justice reform. This update was brokered by the White House and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan have pledged to take up the revised package before the end of the year. "Over the last several years, we've expanded support for comprehensive criminal justice reform by listening to s… Continue Reading


12.12.18

Leahy Statement On The Senate's Passage Of The Reciprocal Access To Tibet Act

Mr. President, this evening the Senate unanimously passed the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2018. I was one of the earliest cosponsors of this bill, and I strongly support it. For far too long, the Chinese government has tightly restricted access to Tibet, preventing U.S. diplomats and journalists from reporting on the systematic human rights abuses and destruction of Tibetan culture perpetrated by the Chinese government, and arbitrarily preventing Tibetan-Americans from visiting their fam… Continue Reading

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