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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.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On “Current Issues In Campaign Finance Law Enforcement”

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a longtime champion of efforts to promote transparency and accountability in the electoral process, issued the following statement for today's Senate Judiciary Committee Crime & Terrorism Subcommittee entitled "Current Issues in Campaign Finance Law Enforcement." Leahy has been a leading sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act that would shed light on secret spending in elections and strengthen campaign finance laws. Despite broad support, Repu… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch, and Shumlin: $1.6 M. Disaster Grant Will Help Prevent Digital Isolation In Future Disasters

MONTPELIER, Vt. - U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Economic Development (EDA) has awarded the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA) a $1.6 million grant to help deploy disaster resilient cellular and broadband services to towns impacted by Irene and other 2011 flooding. The grant comes from disaster funding Leahy, Sanders, and Welch fought to include in the 2012 federal budget in the wa… Continue Reading


Leahy Continues Dialogue On Process For Immigration Reform; Letter To Senator Rubio

[Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent the following response Tuesday to Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) regarding the Committee's process for considering immigration reform legislation. Senator Rubio had sent Senator Leahy a letter Sunday night concerning the Committee's timeline for proceeding to legislation. Senator Leahy said in January that the Committee would devote considerable time this spring to the issue of reforming the Nation's immigration system, and he chai… Continue Reading


Leahy, Sanders, Welch, Shumlin: In One Of Largest Grants To State For Rebuilding After Irene, Vermont To Receive Nearly $18 M. In Federal Community Development Funds

In one of the largest single grants to the state to help after Tropical Storm Irene, Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), Congressman Peter Welch (D) and Governor Peter Shumlin (D) Wednesday announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is releasing $17,932,000 in community rebuilding funds to Vermont from a disaster relief appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by the President in January. Leahy, Sanders and Welch supported the disaster … Continue Reading


A Window Of Opportunity For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Guest Column By Senator Patrick Leahy, Brattleboro Reformer, March 12, 2013 It's a busy time in our national conversations - around kitchen tables, in Town Meetings, and in the halls of Congress -- about a lengthening list of big questions. Many of these issues are on the minds of Vermonters these days, if my visits around Brattleboro last weekend are any guide. One that comes up often is the need to fix our broken immigration system. Our immigration laws are outdated. After years of debate… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee On the Nominations of Ketanji Jackson, Raymond Moore, and Troy Nunley

Last week, I spoke at the Judicial Conference about the damaging effect of sequestration on our Federal courts and our system of justice. These indiscriminate cuts are already causing both Federal prosecutors and Federal public defenders to be furloughed. The Administrative Office of U.S. Courts has done its best to address these cuts, but the judicial system can only weather the effects of sequestration for so long before it is irreparably harmed. In a letter dated March 5, 2013, Judge Thoma… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on Health Reform's Third Anniversary

Three years ago tomorrow, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act. This landmark law will extend health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans when the reforms are fully implemented next year. Getting to this point has been an arduous process. But in the end, this achievement proved that real reform is possible, and that the voices of so many Americans who over the years have called on their leaders to act have finally been heard. Since its passage, Americans… Continue Reading


FEMA agrees to funding for flood-resistant culverts

MONTPELIER - Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont's Congressional Delegation announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to funding eligibility of the full cost to replace a large culvert on Townshend's Dam Road that was destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene. This ruling could be a precedent that would allow dozens of Vermont towns to qualify for funds to receive full reimbursement-at 90 percent of project costs-from FEMA for similar projects. "This is critical for Townsh… Continue Reading


Leahy & Others Introduce Bill To Expand Cyber National Guard

U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, David Vitter, Chris Coons, Roy Blunt, Mary Landrieu, Patrick Leahy, Mark Warner and Patty Murray today introduced the Cyber Warriors Act of 2013. This legislation would, for the first time, establish Cyber and Computer Network Incident Response Teams (CCNIRT), known as Cyber Guards, as part of the National Guard, significantly expanding the limited cyber mission being performed by the National Guard. "Cyber attac… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On the Withdrawal of the Nomination Of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit

[Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Friday after the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was withdrawn. Halligan was first nominated in September 2010 to fill a vacancy left open since 2005. She was nominated a total of five times.] "Caitlin Halligan is a woman who is extraordinarily well-qualified and amongst the most qualified judicial nominees I have seen from any administration. It is a shame that narrow,… Continue Reading


Citing Vile Conditions In Many Foreign Prisons, Leahy And Inhofe Offer Bill To Spotlight Problems And Spur Reforms

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) are renewing their drive to spur improvements in many foreign prisons where conditions are reminiscent of the Dark Ages. On Friday they reintroduced their Foreign Prison Conditions Improvement Act, which would systematically spotlight and document inhumane prison conditions, and then authorize a series of steps, including incentive grants, as catalysts for reform. Both senators have visited overcrowded and ill-equipped prisons.… Continue Reading


Leahy And Lofgren Lead Bicameral Introduction Of Refugee Protection Act

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives Thursday that would improve the Nation's immigration laws to ensure the longstanding American tradition of protecting refugees and asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their home countries. The Refugee Protection Act responds to shortfalls in current immigration law by repealing some of the most harsh, inefficient and unnecessary … Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) President Obama’s Trip to the Middle East

Mr. President, President Obama arrived in the Middle East today. It is his first visit as President to Israel and the West Bank. Some in the press have focused on the fact that the White House has lowered expectations for what will be accomplished in the three days of the President's visit. Others, including Members of Congress, have signed letters to the President. Rather than prejudge what can be achieved by this trip or try to tie the President's hands concerning the Middle East, I want … Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Vermonters Making a Difference

Mr. President, I have been privileged to serve Vermonters for many years as a voice on foreign policy matters, and I am always reminded that my work is a reflection of the outward looking posture of the people of my state. Vermonters have a long history of defending human rights and social justice at home and abroad. The longest functioning international exchange program is based in Vermont, and there are over 3,600 nonprofits registered in Vermont that are carrying out programs to protect th… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Explosive Growth of Cities and the World’s Changing Climate

Mr. President, during the past 50 years there has been significant progress in improving living standards in developing countries. Some of the successes have been particularly noteworthy: eradicating smallpox and almost eradicating polio, stabilizing population growth rates in many areas, longer life spans, lower infant mortality, fewer people living in poverty, the expansion of democracy. Investments in international development made by government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and phila… Continue Reading


Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On A Threat to Free Speech in the Americas

Mr. President, there is much at the Organization of American States that needs to be reformed, but the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is not among them. Yet that is what the Government of Ecuador, and some other Latin American governments, purport to be calling for when the OAS general assembly meets this coming Friday. In reality, it is not about reform at all, but a concerted effort to severely weaken the IACHR, the one institution in the Americas that has been a consiste… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Due Process And Immigration

(Wednesday, March 20, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently holding a hearing entitled, "Building an Immigration System Worthy of American Values." The hearing is being chaired by Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), and marks the third immigration-related of the committee since last month. Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chaired the first hearing on comprehensive immigration reform this year, entered the following statement into the record. Testimony, member stateme… Continue Reading


Bipartisan Legislation To Give Judges More Flexibility For Federal Sentences Introduced

(Wednesday, March 20, 2013) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary. The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 expands the so-called "safety valve" that allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases to all federal crimes. By gi… Continue Reading


Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Domestic Use Of Drones

(Wednesday, March 20, 2013) - The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently holding a hearing entitled, "The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy Considerations." Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who outlined his concerns about the growing use of drones by federal and local authorities in January, delivered the following opening remarks at today's hearing. Testimony, member statements, and a webcast of the hearing are available online. # # # # # Statement of … Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Sequestration’s Impact on Vermont Senate Floor

It has been more than two weeks since an all too familiar stalemate in Congress prevented the passage of commonsense legislation and triggered the across-the-board budget cuts that are better known as sequestration. And while in the weeks leading up to sequestration we heard almost daily from Federal agencies, defense contractors and members from both sides of the aisle about just how harmful these cuts would be, the deadline for intervention has come and gone. Yet, incredibly, much of the foc… Continue Reading

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