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


Senate Confirms Two Nominations To Fill Judicial Emergencies

(Tuesday, April 12, 2011) - The Senate Tuesday voted unanimously to confirm two pending nominations to fill judicial emergency vacancies in New York and California. The Senate has confirmed 17 judicial nominations this Congress; there are 15 judicial nominations pending on the Senate's Executive Calendar. For more information about pending judicial nominations, visit the Senate Judiciary Committee's website. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released the following s… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy At A Hearing On The FY 2012 Budget Request For The USAID

Good morning. Today we will hear testimony from Dr. Raj Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, on the agency's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request. Mr. Shah, welcome and thank you for being here. A little over 15 months ago, Administrator Shah took charge of an agency that had struggled for many years with serious management and programmatic weaknesses. As I said last April when Dr. Shah first testified here, too often this Subcommittee and others had enc… Continue Reading


Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy On Averting A Government Shutdown

"Enough common sense and statesmanship finally prevailed in Congress over a 'my way or no way' agenda by some that was driven by ideology, not budget issues. In pushing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown, they were willing to run roughshod over the interests of the rest of their fellow Americans. "It would especially have been a travesty to allow the gutting of health services to women that literally have meant the difference between life or death for countless women." # # # # … Continue Reading


Senator Patrick Leahy Will Donate His Pay During A Government Shutdown To A Vermont Charity

"If those pushing for a government shutdown get their way, I will donate my Senate salary during a shutdown to a Vermont charity. I hope they will do the same. "Some in Congress are intent on using their leverage to prevent an agreement while they insist on ideologically driven legislative riders not related to the budget. A shutdown would be as reckless as it would be needless. It would be a wrong-way jolt to the economy that would threaten the economic recovery from the worst recession si… Continue Reading


SJC Unanimously Approves Leahy-Cornyn Faster FOIA Bill

(Thursday, April 7, 2011) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved bipartisan legislation authored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to further improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation's premier open government law. It is the third time since 2005 that the panel approved the legislation. The Faster FOIA Act will create an advisory panel to examine agency backlogs in processing FOIA requests and provide recommendations to Congress for legi… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Reckless Cuts For American Citizen Services Abroad

MR. LEAHY. Mr. President, House Republicans, reacting to the ire of a minority of vocal, anti-government extremists who make no secret of their desire to shut down the government even while complaining that the government is not doing enough for them, are proposing reckless cuts in programs vital to job creation and to national security. Many in the other party are masters at blaming others for a budget deficit and debt they created during the Bush Administration, self-proclaimed fiscal conse… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Leahy On The Effects Of A Government Shutdown On U.S. Troops

Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to describe to the American people and members of both bodies of Congress what will happen to our troops and their families if a collapse of budget negotiations forces the government to shut down. While I am sure many understand that most government services will halt, it is also important to understand that some government operations will not shut down. In particular, our men and women on active duty and in the National Guard and Reserves will cont… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Efforts To Undermine The Clean Air Act

I urge rejection of all of the amendments offered today that would gut the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to enforce our Clean Air Act. It has been proven time and time again that we can have both a clean environment and grow our economy. In fact without a clean environment, it is more difficult for us to grow the economy. Without the Clean Air Act we would be spending trillions of dollars more on health care costs and lost work days. Over its 40 years the Clean Air Act has been one … Continue Reading


Leahy Calls On Partisans To End 'Their Way Or No Way' Posture To Avert Government Shutdown

"People have enough to worry about, and the economic recovery is still fragile enough, without needlessly being pushed to the brink of a costly government shutdown. "There already have been several rounds of budget cuts by now. Despite the continued willingness of the President and many in Congress to find common ground, an ideological bloc in Congress continues to insist on their way or no way. Some even relish the idea of a government shutdown, despite the disruption and harm that would mea… Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs SJC Hearing On Digital Privacy Law

(Wednesday, April 6, 2011) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday held a hearing focused on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), one of the nation's premier digital privacy laws. Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was the lead Senate author of ECPA, which was enacted in 1986 to protect electronic communications from real-time monitoring or interception by the government. While portions of ECPA have been amended, Congress has not enacted comprehensive reforms to ECPA since the Act… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Administration’s Decision To Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed In A Military Commission

"I am disappointed with the decision not to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a Federal court. I believe that our justice system, which is the envy of the world, is more than capable of trying high-profile terrorism and national security cases. Federal courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists. The record in military commissions pales in comparison, with only a handful of convictions, and the ground rules still in flux. "I have said before that we must continue to show that America acts… Continue Reading


Senate, House Judiciary Committee Leaders Focus On Fighting Online Infringement

(Monday, April 4, 2011) - Leading members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees spoke to reporters Monday afternoon on Capitol Hill about the continuing harm online infringement and counterfeits pose to American jobs and the economy. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommitt… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The Return Home Of Vermonter Tik Root

"When I talked to him it was great to be able to welcome him home. It's good to have Tik safely in Vermont with the family, friends and campus who wished so mightily for his return. Vermonters stick by each other through tough times and I'm very glad our efforts were rewarded." # # # # #… Continue Reading


Leahy: On The Release Of Tik Root To American Custody

(FRIDAY, April 1) -- After two anxious weeks punctuated by deft diplomacy and patience, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday morning that Pathik "Tik" Root has been released from a Syrian jail and is at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, and that he will soon be returning to the United States. Leahy broke the good news first to Tik Root's parents, Tom and Andrea. He paid tribute to "Tom and Andi's devotion to their son, in both words and deeds, which has deeply touched every Vermonter who… Continue Reading


The Leahy Letter -- March 31, 2011

Senate Passes Leahy's America Invents Act Earlier this month, the Senate overwhelmingly approved major legislation authored by Senator Leahy to significantly update the country's patent system for the first time in nearly 60 years. The bipartisan America Invents Act will streamline and transition the nation's patent system to the more modern 'first-inventor-to-file' system, used by the rest of the industrialized world, and encourage entrepreneurs to create businesses and jobs here at home in Am… Continue Reading


Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Tik Root

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I want to take a moment to say a few words about a situation in Syria that is of particular concern to me and people of my state. Going on two weeks ago, a young Middlebury College student, Pathik "Tik" Root, disappeared in Damascus, Syria, where he was studying Arabic. As anyone who is following recent events in Syria knows, there have been large public demonstrations, some of which have resulted in arrests and casualties. Thanks to the efforts of U.S. Embassy Da… Continue Reading


Judiciary Committee Approves Leahy-Authored Food Safety Accountability Act

WASHIGTON (Thursday, March 31, 2011) - The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved legislation to strengthen criminal penalties for companies that knowingly violate food safety standards and place tainted food products on the market. The Committee is chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who authored the Food Safety Accountability Act and first introduced the bill last summer. The Food Safety Accountability Act will increase criminal penalties for any individual or corporation that k… Continue Reading


Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy On House Introduction Of The America Invents Act

"I am pleased that Chairman Smith and House leaders are committed to reforming the nation's patent system, and I welcome the introduction of the America Invents Act in the House of Representatives today. Congressman Smith, Congressman Berman and others have been true partners on the path toward enacting meaningful patent reform legislation. The America Invents Act introduced in the House tracks closely with its bipartisan counterpart that recently passed the Senate. The similarity in the bill… Continue Reading


Leahy Chairs Senate Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing With FBI Director Mueller

(Wednesday, March 30, 2011) - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy Wednesday morning chaired an oversight hearing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Director Robert Mueller testified before the panel. Testimony, member statements, and a webcast of the hearing are available online. Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation March 30, 2011 Today the Judiciary Committee … Continue Reading


Senators Leahy And Collins Urge House And Senate Leaders To Include Truck Weights Fix In Federal Funding Bill

(TUESDAY, March 29) -- U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have written to House and Senate leaders urging them to include language in the upcoming Continuing Resolution that would permanently allow trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on federal interstate highways in Maine and Vermont. The federal government currently is operating under the latest in a series of stop-gap budget bills, which expires April 8. In 2009, Collins and Leahy successfully include… Continue Reading

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