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


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


Leahy Hails Historic Confirmation Of ATF Nominee

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) hailed the Senate's vote Wednesday to confirm B. Todd Jones to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Jones has served as acting director since September 2011, and with today's vote, becomes the agency's first Senate confirmed director. "When the 113th Congress convened following the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Judiciary Committee focused its attention on commonsense gun violence preventi… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Nomination of B. Todd Jones to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

When the 113th Congress convened following the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Judiciary Committee focused its attention on commonsense gun violence prevention legislation. The American people made their voices heard in favor of effective reforms, and many Senators went to work to find common ground. Though the Senate Judiciary Committee approved four pieces of legislation to address gun violence, two of which were reported on bipartisan votes, the Senate was unable to pass any … Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, And Senate President Pro Tempore, On the Anniversary of the March on Washington and the Voting Rights Act

Nearly 50 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in front of hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall. At the time, I was entering my last year of law school. I was inspired by the March on Washington and knew that history was being made before my very eyes. The youngest speaker at the March was a compelling man by the name of John Lewis. Many spoke of their unyielding support for civil rights legislation, but John Lewis demanded more. He de… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Oversight Hearing On Government Surveillance Programs

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled "Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs." Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long called for strong oversight of government surveillance programs, and he recently introduced the bipartisan FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, which would add important reforms and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act. The video below includes excerpts… Continue Reading


Leahy, Cochran, Casey And Moran Introduce Bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act

U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Tuesday announced the introduction of their bipartisan Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Act. The bill would continue and expand a proven and effective tax incentive to encourage businesses and farms to donate surplus food to their local food banks. Leahy said, "This bill is an effort I have worked on with former Sen. Richard Lugar for many years. This is an efficient way to match a p… Continue Reading


Senate Confirms Comey To Be FBI Director

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to confirm James Comey to serve as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a ten-year term. Comey, who has previously been confirmed unanimously to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 18, but Republicans refused to grant a confirmation vote until this evening. Comey replaces outgoing Director Robert Muelle… Continue Reading


SJC Chairman Leahy Calls On Senators To Confirm FBI Director

(Monday, July 29, 2013) -Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called on Senators Monday to support the nomination of James Comey to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Senate is slated to adjourn at the end of the week for the August break, and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller's term expires in early September. Yet despite this pressing timeline and the Judiciary Committee's unanimous support of Comey's nomination, some Senators are posing an unnece… Continue Reading


SJC Chairman Leahy Announces September Hearing On Mandatory Minimums

- The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in September on the issue of mandatory minimum sentences, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday. The announcement comes days after the Department of Justice announced that the state prison population saw a slight decline last year, while the number of federal prisoners actually increased over the same period. Leahy and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation in March, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, that would expand th… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary, On The Repatriation Of Two Detainees At Guantanamo Bay Prison

"The status quo at Guantanamo is untenable, and today's announcement is a welcome step toward the Administration's stated goal of shuttering this unnecessary, expensive, and inefficient prison. It is now time for Congress to act by passing a National Defense Authorization Act that removes the unnecessary and counterproductive statutory impediments that, for too long, have prevented the transfer of detainees. This is a positive development that I hope will move us closer to closing a detention … Continue Reading


Vermont Receives $1 Million From USDOT For Emergency Repairs Following Spring Floods

(FRIDAY, July 26, 2013) - U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Governor Peter Shumlin (D-Vt.) announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Transportation is releasing $1 million from the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief (ER) Program to repair roads and bridges damaged in a series of strong storms that struck Vermont earlier this year. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called members of the Vermo… Continue Reading


Leahy: SJC Will Consider Bill To Reauthorize Lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Grant Program Next Week

(Thursday, July 25, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin consideration next week of legislation to reauthorize the lifesaving Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program, a federal grant program whose charter expired last year. The popular matching grant program has helped provide more than one million lifesaving vests to state and local law enforcement officers throughout the country. Despite the program's impact and broad bipartisan support, last year the Senate failed to extend … Continue Reading


Leahy Hails Senate Confirmation Of West To No. 3 Position At DOJ

(Thursday, July 25, 2013) -The Senate on Thursday, with an overwhelming vote of 98-1, confirmed the nomination of Tony West to serve as associate attorney general at the Department of Justice. West has served in an acting capacity since last year after previously serving as assistant attorney general for the civil division, a position to which he was confirmed in 2009. He appeared before the Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing in May. Additional information about West's nominatio… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On the Ten Year Anniversary of the Passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act

Ten years ago this week, Congress passed a watershed piece of legislation. The Prison Rape Elimination Act was the first comprehensive legislative effort to prevent something we had long been reluctant to even acknowledge existed -- the incidence of rape in our federal, state, and local corrections facilities. Violence and victimization have no place in our society, including in our prisons, and we have an obligation to ensure these facilities are safe. The punishment of incarceration does not… Continue Reading


Leahy: Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing On FISA Next Week

(Wednesday, July 24, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the privacy rights of Americans and oversight of government surveillance programs, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Wednesday. The hearing, entitled "Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs," comes amid a national conversation about the use of government surveillance authorities and the need for proper oversight of these powers. Leahy has lon… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Holds Hearing On Closing Guantanamo Bay

The Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee is holding a hearing exploring the national security, fiscal and human rights aspects to closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long called for the prison's closure, and was recently honored for his work in support of torture victims in the United States and around the world. Member statements, witness testimony and a webcast of the hearing chaired by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are av… Continue Reading

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